Thursday, September 13, 2012

Top 10 Gun Control Myths

The following is a list of the top 10 gun control myths from the NRA-ILA's GunBanFacts site. As a supporter of the Second Amendment, it is a good idea to become familiar with these common gun control myths.

Top 10 Gun Control Myths

Myth number 1: So-called semi-automatic “assault weapons” are the same as rapid-fire fully-automatic machine guns.

Facts: In one respect, there are two categories of firearms:
1. Fully-automatic firearms, which fire repeatedly and rapidly, as long as you hold the trigger down. Such firearms, heavily regulated as “machineguns” by the National Firearms Act of 1934 (26 USC Chapter 53), are used by our troops overseas and by Hollywood action heroes. Other than for government purposes, their importation was banned in 1968 and their manufacture within the United States was banned in 1986, by sections 925(d)(3) and 922(o) of the Gun Control Act.

2. All other firearms. These fire only one shot when the trigger is pulled. The most common types are semi-automatics, pump-actions, bolt-actions, lever-actions, double-barrels, revolvers and single shots. Semi-automatics are defined in this way within section 921(a)(28) of the Gun Control Act.

Gun control supporters try to mislead the public about how semi-automatic firearms operate, by referring to them with terms and expressions that instead apply to fully-automatic firearms, such as claiming that they are “military” or “designed for the battlefield,” and that they “rapid-fire” or “spray-fire.” Similarly, network and local TV news programs have shown fully-automatic machine guns firing during stories on “semi-automatic assault weapons,” such as in this CNN piece.

Other than for gun control supporters’ propaganda purposes, fully-automatic firearms have nothing to do with the “assault weapon” issue.

For more information, refer to the “Hoping the public won’t know the difference” section of our “History of the Issue.”

Myth number 2: “Assault weapons” are used in a large percentage of violent crime.

Facts: When Congress imposed the 1994 ban on so-called “assault weapons” and “large” ammunition magazines (those that hold more than 10 rounds), it also required that a study of the ban be conducted. The study concluded that “the banned weapons and magazines were never used in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders,” even before the ban.

Gun control supporters claim that BATFE firearm traces prove otherwise. However, the BATFE has said it “can in no way vouch for the validity” of those claims, and that “Not all firearms used in crimes are traced and not all firearms traced are used in crime. Firearms selected for tracing are not chosen for purposes of determining which types, makes or models of firearms are used for illicit purposes. The firearms selected do not constitute a random sample and should not be considered representative of the larger universe of all firearms used by criminals, or any subset of that universe.”

For more information, refer to the “If at first you don’t succeed” and "Not the weapon of choice" sections of our “History of the Issue.”


Myth number 3: The 1994 “assault weapon” ban caused violent crime to decrease, crime increased after the ban expired, and reinstating the ban would cause crime to decrease.

Facts: The U.S. total violent crime rate began decreasing before the ban was imposed in September 1994. Since the ban expired in September 2004, the violent crime rate has decreased to a 35-year low and the murder rate has dropped to a 45-year low, through 2009. (Data are presented in convenient form here.) And, the FBI has reported that violent crime dropped another six percent, and murder dropped another 7 percent, in the first half of 2010. Meanwhile, the number of “assault weapons” has increased to an all-time high. For example, in 2009, the number of AR-15 semi-automatic rifles topped two million and Remington announced production of its 10 millionth Model 870 pump-action shotgun, a type of firearm some anti-gun groups want banned as an “assault weapon.”

Most criminologists and law enforcement professionals attribute the decrease in crime to the improved economy during the 1990s, the reduction of the crack cocaine trade, new police programs in high-crime areas, and laws strengthening state criminal justice systems by reducing probation and parole, and increasing prison terms for the most violent criminals. Numerous studies for the federal government have found no evidence that gun control reduces crime.

As stated in the study Congress required of the federal “assault weapon” ban, only a small percentage of crime was committed with “assault weapons” before the federal "assault weapon" ban of 1994-2004. It has always been the case that many more murders have been committed without firearms, than with so-called “assault weapons.” 

And, the federal “assault weapon” ban did not ban guns, it merely prohibited manufacturers from making new guns with more than one of their standard complement of attachments, such as a pistol-type grip, adjustable-length stock and flash suppressor.

For more information, refer to the "More 'assault weapons,' less crime" section of our “History of the Issue” and "The ban caused violent crime to decrease?" section of our discussion of "Why Ban Supporters are Wrong."

Myth number 4: "Assault weapons" are the only kinds of firearms that are semi-automatic, use detachable magazines, and have pistol grips.

Facts: Semi-automatic firearms were introduced in the late 1800s, and have been popular since the early 20th century. Today, about 15 percent of Americans’ privately-owned firearms are semi-automatic, and about 15 percent of all semi-automatics were defined as "assault weapons" in the 1994 ban. Gun control supporters have since proposed to ban many additional semi-automatics and some pump-action rifles and shotguns as "assault weapons" too.

Most firearms that use detachable magazines are not “assault weapons” by anyone’s definition. Most are semi-automatic pistols, which account for upwards of 15 percent of all privately owned firearms. Many other semi-automatic, bolt-action and pump-action rifles, and some pump-action shotguns—commonly used for hunting and sport shooting—also use detachable magazines.

By definition, all 90 million pistols owned by the American people have “pistol grips,” as do some rifles and shotguns, including those that gun control supporters call “assault weapons” and those that, thus far, they have not labeled with that term.


Myth number 5: A rifle with a pistol-type grip is intended to be fired “spray-fired from the hip.”

Facts: As noted in the Gun Control Act (sections 921(a)(5) and (7)), rifles and shotguns are designed to be fired while held at the shoulder, which is why they have shoulder stocks and sights, the latter of which must be held at eye level to be used.

Gun control supporters make the “spray-fire from the hip” claim hoping to trick the public into thinking that semi-automatic “assault weapons” are fully-automatic machine guns. In 1988, the anti-handgun group Violence Policy Center, then known as New Right Watch, admitted its intention to deceive people about the way that semi-automatic firearms operate, saying “the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.”

Rifles and shotguns that have pistol-type grips are not limited to semi-automatics. Bolt-action rifles and pump-action shotguns are also commonly found with such grips, and no one has suggested that they are designed to “spray.”

For more information, refer to the “Hoping the public won’t know the difference” section of our “History of the Issue.”

Myth number 6: Folding and adjustable stocks make rifles and shotguns “concealable.”

Facts: Under section 5845(a) of the National Firearms Act of 1934, and sections 921(a)(6) and (8) of the Gun Control Act of 1968, a rifle or shotgun, regardless of the kind of stock that it has, must be at least 26 inches long.

Forty states allow people to carry “concealed” firearms for protection, and people who do so generally carry handguns, most of which are less than seven inches long, and which therefore fit in a pocket or in a holster. They typically do not carry rifles and shotguns, because they are not “concealable.”


Myth number 7: “Assault weapons” are “high-powered,” compared to other firearms.

Facts: Gun control supporters use the term “high powered” to describe any gun they are campaigning to have banned. They apply that term to even firearms that use the lowest-powered commonly available ammunition, .22 rimfire.

Gun control propaganda aside, the power of a firearm is dependent upon the ammunition it uses, and rifles and pistols that gun control supporters call “assault weapons” use low- and medium-powered ammunition that is used in many other rifles and pistols, and shotguns that have been called “assault weapons” use the same ammunition as the most common shotguns. Many hunting rifles use ammunition much more powerful than any ammunition used in any “assault weapon,” as shown in the following.



Myth number 8: “Assault weapons” and ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are useless for self-defense.

Fact: It’s curious that gun control groups claim that “assault weapons” are “military” weapons “designed for combat” on “the battlefield,” but in the next breath claim that the guns are useless for self-defense.

“Assault weapons” are not used by military personnel, but that does not mean that they are useless for self-defense. Any firearm can be used for self-defense, and virtually all types are, based upon newspaper reports of defensive gun uses around the country each year. Most firearms that gun control supporters call “assault weapons” are rifles and shotguns, and Gary Kleck’s landmark survey of defensive gun use in the 1990s found that rifles and shotguns were used in one-third of over two million defensive guns uses annually. Additionally, millions of handguns designed for self-defense use magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, which the federal “assault weapon” ban termed too “large.”

In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court ruled that “[T]he inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right,” and that the Second Amendment “guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation” and “extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms.”

Demonstrating that “assault weapons” and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are useful for defensive purposes, law enforcement officers, who are issued firearms and magazines for defensive purposes only, were exempt from the federal “assault weapon” ban, because most are issued magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
For more information, please refer to the Right about firearms and self-defense section of Why Tens of Millions of Gun Owners are Right.


Myth number 9: “Assault weapons” and ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are not useful for sports and hunting.

Facts: The primary purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect the right to keep and bear arms for defensive purposes, not sports, but it is nevertheless true that the rifles most commonly used for marksmanship sports and training in the United States are semi-automatics that gun control supporters call “assault weapons.” For example, all the 1,300+ Americans who competed in the National Trophy Individual Match and the President's Match during this year's National Rifle Matches used semi-automatic rifles that gun control supporters say should be banned as "assault weapons." The most popular handguns for sports and training are defensive handguns designed to use magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Exceptionally accurate models of the AR-15, similar to those used by the majority of marksmanship competitors, are increasingly popular for varmint hunting, and some models are made to use ammunition powerful enough to use for deer hunting. The Springfield M1A and the Fabrique Nationale FAL use .308 Winchester ammunition, a caliber that is second-most popular among marksmanship competitors (behind the .223 Remington caliber used in most AR-15s), and which is also among the top 10 deer hunting calibers in the United States.

The most popular handguns for sports and training are defensive handguns designed to use magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

For more information, please refer to the Right about marksmanship training and sports and Right about hunting sections of Why Tens of Millions of Gun Owners are Right.


Myth number 10: Gun control supporters want to ban only a few guns, such as AK-47s and Uzis, as “assault weapons.”
Facts: For propaganda purposes, gun control supporters talk about AK-47s and Uzis. But, they support “assault weapon” legislation that would ban Winchesters, Remingtons, Mossbergs, Benellis, Berettas, Rugers, Garands, .30 Carbines and lots of other guns, some by name, and others by description of their features. For example, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s (D-N.Y.) H.R. 1022 would have banned all semi-automatic shotguns, M1 Garands, M1 Carbines and Ruger Mini-14s. Legal Community Against Violence’s “model assault weapon law” would ban pump-action rifles. The Brady Campaign-affiliated Million Mom March has called for a ban on pump-action firearms generally. Gun control supporters believe that they can convince people to go along with banning any gun, so long as it is labeled with the scary “assault weapon” term.

1 comment:

  1. Fear of guns? I've more fear of a government wanting to ban guns! The slippery slope to losing our rights!