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Posted by: TEEBONE ģ |
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Semi-automatics causing deadliest mass shootings
There are no panaceas, especially not in the realm of public policy making, such as addressing the epidemic of gun-related deaths in the U.S. Clamping down on the private ownership of semi-automatic rifles is the place to start.
Semi-automatic weapons can fire only one round for each pull of the trigger but they can fire as quickly as a shooter can pull the trigger, limited by the capacity of the gunís magazine. Semi-automatic rifles are like military assault rifles but not capable of fully automatic fire, unless they are modified, which is neither legal nor easily done. Currently, semi-automatic rifles and extended capacity magazines (some holding up to 100 rounds) are legal for civilian ownership. Full automatic weapons are not legal for civilian ownership in most cases.††††
Advocates for unlimited gun rights base their opposition to any sort of gun-limiting legislation on the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right of civilians to own guns, of some type. The original proposal for a Bill of Rights was drafted by James Madison in early 1789 and included 20 rights. Only 10 made it into the Constitution, of course.
The Founding Fathers were intelligent, far-sighted men, but they donít seem to have been very good at imagining how technology would advance and shape the nationís future, particularly as it applies to weaponry. At the time Madison was writing, firearms were vastly inferior to modern guns. A quick comparison of the 1790-era guns to modern guns is illustrative.
In 1790 both rifles (muskets) and hand guns were single-short, muzzle-loaded weapons. The best shooters could fire at most three rounds per minute. Ordinary folks would have trouble firing more than one round per minute. The maximum effective range of a musket was about 60 yards, whereas the typical assault style rifle is effective up to about 600 yards. Musketsí muzzle velocity (the speed at which the bullet leaves the barrel) was about 1,200 ft/sec., whereas semi-automatic riflesí muzzle velocity is around 4,000 ft/sec. Muskets were also much larger than many semi-automatic rifles, up to five feet long weighing some 14 pounds. Todayís military style rifles are about three feet long and weigh about half as much. There are similar differences between hand guns then and now.
While hand guns are overwhelming the weapons used in murders and suicides, semi-automatic rifles have been the weapons used in the most deadly shootings, such as those in Parkland and Las Vegas. According to a Washington Post online article, in the three most recent mass shootings, between them the three shooters killed 101 people with many other injuries. In all three cases, the shooter used a semi-automatic rifle. It is extremely unlikely so much carnage could have been done with lesser weapons; hand guns, hunting rifles or shotguns.
No single piece of legislation can possibly deal with all of the social pathologies involved in the gun violence epidemic. One piece must be very strict control of semi-automatic, military-style rifles and large capacity magazines. Granted, even completely removing all such guns would only put a dent in the rate at which we are killing each other and ourselves. But it would make it very unlikely a single shooter could kill so many so quickly.
Dealing with one-on-one shootings and suicides, in which hand guns are commonly used will require a very extensive, expensive set of policy initiatives, such as gun-owner licensing, greatly expanded mental health screening and treatment and thorough background checks. Nevertheless, outlawing civilian ownership of military style, high capacity rifles is low-hanging fruit. So far, we have shown the political will to do essentially nothing about gun violence, much less picking the low-hanging fruit. Itís way past time we started picking.
The views expressed are solely those of the author, a Millsaps professor, and† not representative of Millsaps College or its administration, faculty, staff or trustees.
Please consult a dictionary and read the definition of "epidemic".
There IS no 'epidemic of gun-related deaths' extant. According to the FBI UCRs, gun deaths have been trending downward for three decades, which trend continues today.
Per U.S. v. Miller (1939), semiautomatic firearms are within the ambit of Second Amendment protection, which provides that arms in common use that have militia utility or are any part of the ordinary military equipment and could contribute to the common defense are those the amendment was intended to guarantee. The ruling closed with the dictat that the 2A must†be applied using the criteria it had set forth.
"With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of these [militia] forces, the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view." - U.S. v. Miller (1939)
It is an irrefutable fact that AR-15s and the like are textbook examples of this description, and that the 2A definitively protects the right to keep and bear ordinary "weapons of war".
Before the standard issue for the military worldwide became select-fire rifles capable of full-auto operation, semiautomatic firearms WERE "weapons of war". Before the advent of cartridge-fed, repeating firearms, muskets and cap-and-ball firearms were "weapons of war" as well as being in widespread civilian use. U.S. v. Miller recognized that, and rendered its criteria based upon that fact.
Translation: YOU CAN'T DO THAT.
Quit your mouth-breathing leftist diatribes and get with the program; we will not be disarmed, period.
LIBERTY HAS NO EXPIRATION DATEDemocrats wouldn't buy a clue if it was government subsidized.
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