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Gun Myths on the Senate Floor By: Chris W. Cox
NRA-ILA | Monday, February 02, 2009


Legislation to require a federal license to possess any detachable-magazine semi-automatic rifle or shotgun, or any handgun, has been introduced in Congress. Bills to re-impose the federal "assault weapon" and "large" magazine ban, or to impose a much broader ban, have been introduced in Congress since 2003, and will likely be introduced in the current Congress soon.

Already, the deliberate deceptions we heard from anti-gunners previously are resurfacing.  Anti-gun Sen. Carl Levin, D-MI, said last Thursday on the floor of the Senate that "assault weapons" are "capable of firing up to 600 rounds per minute" and that they are "once again pervading our streets and neighborhoods."

Did we mention that our opponents are deliberately deceptive?

Many fully-automatic firearms can fire 10 rounds in a second, which theoretically would work out to 600 rounds per minute, but they cannot be reloaded fast enough to achieve anything near that rate in reality. But we are not talking about fully-automatic firearms—we're talking about semi-automatics, and the difference between them need not be explained here.

"Pervading our streets?" Anti-gun lawmakers swore up and down that once the "assault weapon" ban expired, the murder rate would go through the roof. Well, the ban expired in 2004 and since then, the murder rate has gone down to a 43-year low.

The anti-gunners think they can revive this bogus issue, and maybe they can; they will no doubt try.  But Congress required a study of the 1994 ban, and the study concluded, "the banned weapons and magazines were never used in more than a small fraction of gun murders." Violent crime was going down before the ban, and it has continued to go down after the ban. If the issue is looked at objectively, it should be over, done with, water under the bridge. The ban should never have been imposed in the first place, let alone be imposed again or ever expanded.

And certainly guns should not be banned on the basis of nonsense like Sen. Levin's speech, and other deliberate deception perpetuated by gun ban groups.

Deliberate deception such as:
  • A folding stock makes a rifle concealable, as if it were a pocket knife. But anyone who knows anything about gun laws knows that federal law requires a rifle to be 26 inches long, regardless of its stock, and a 26-inch-long rifle is not concealable.
  • A pistol grip is designed to allow a rifle to be fired "from the hip."  But the 90 million pistols owned by the American people all have pistol grips, and they aren't designed to be fired "from the hip." Besides that, the fact that a rifle has a shoulder stock and sights mounted on the barrel proves that it is designed to be fired from the shoulder.
  • Magazines designed to hold more than 10 rounds are not useful for self-defense.  If they really believe that, let them propose to prohibit the military and police from having pistol magazines that hold 12, 15, and 17 rounds.
  • These guns are "high-powered."  Next time an anti-gunner calls a gun "high-powered," ask him to name one gun that is low-powered. They even call .22 rimfires "high-powered," when they want to brand a .22 as a so-called "assault weapon."
NRA members who own AR-15s and other so-called "assault weapons," you are not alone. There are nearly two million AR-15s in our country, the same number of M1s, the same number of M1 Carbines, and many more Mini-14s, semi-automatic shotguns, pump-action shotguns, and all the other guns the anti-gunner want to call "assault weapon." Countless millions of American own handguns that use magazines of over 10 rounds.

Our challenge is to coalesce these Americans into a political force that will make anti-gun lawmakers' heads swim. When they repeat gun ban groups' deliberate deceptions, we must tell the truth; not some of the time, but all of the time! But we cannot wait for them to act, and then only respond in defense. We must be out front. When we carry our message, we must do so confident in the knowledge that we are doing so in a manner that respects our fellow citizens, and their right to disagree--a way of doing business that is alien to our opponents--and that our arguments are based in logic and fact, not deceit.

Chris W. Cox is executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.


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