7 Anti-gun Myths That Need To Be Debunked Immediately

7 Anti-gun Myths That Need To Be Debunked Immediately

America’s gun control debate is rife with myths and falsehoods. In the Information Age we often face a lot of misinformation, and gun control is unfortunately often the poster child of misinformation.Here are some of the ways you are being misled.

1. “Assault Weapons”

The term “assault weapon” is a made-up political term. AR-15’s are not military rifles; so unscrupulous politicians refer to them as “military-style assault weapons.” ‘Style’ – as in cosmetic appearance – is the only true word in that description. The Military uses the M4A1 carbine rifle, which looks outwardly very much like an AR-15, but they do not have the same functionality; AR-15s are not machine guns, though the terminology used is meant to imply they are. Senator Diane Feinstein (R-Calif.) says AR-15’s are designed for killing as many people in close quarters combat as possible, when in fact the AR-15 is an intermediate to distance rifle with a range of 400-600m. Feinstein and others claim AR-15’s are not used for hunting; but in fact there are dozens of varieties of AR-15 used for hunting everything from varmint/small game to deer, elk, and dangerous game. The AR-15 is not the weapon of choice for most mass shooters according to James Alan Fox, a highly respected criminologist from Northeastern University in Boston; handguns are. In fact, rifle homicides comprise a very small amount of homicides, accounting for less than 3% of homicides (323 out of 12,664 in 2011) mass shootings or otherwise.

2. “High Capacity Magazines”

Some politicians would have us believe that so-called “high capacity” magazines are responsible for a wave of death sweeping the nation. Academic, scholarly research shows the vast majority of homicides average four shots with less than 10 shots fired. While the Aurora shooter infamously used a 100-round magazine drum, these are novelty items that are prone to jam. In fact, it did jam probably saving lives. But mass shooters don’t need 100-round magazines to commit atrocity – the shooters at Virginia Tech and Columbine used 10-round magazines, they just brought a lot of them (17 and 13 respectively). James Alan Fox states mass shooters often meticulously plan their attacks in advance; a high capacity magazine ban will not deter them as Virginia Tech and Columbine illustrate.

3. Gun Show “Loophole”

Several people, including President Obama have stated that 40% of guns were bought via “gun show loopholes.” This is not true. For one, the term “gun show loophole” implies that people are deviously getting around something when in actuality; it is just selling personal private property and is not illegal or nefarious. Additionally, private sales may not actually occur at a gun show at all. More important than loose terminology is that this claim is based on a study from 1994 of 251 people. The Washington Post evaluated this claim with the study’s original authors and says the president distorted the truth. The actual range is 14%-22% with a plus or minus error margin of 6%. This means the final accurate range of this study is as low as 8%, but no more than 28%; neither figure is 40%. Further, it’s implied that closing private sales would solve the issue of criminals obtaining guns; it doesn’t. It fails to address illegal trafficking and straw man purchases. A Department of Justice study indicates that 78.8% of criminals get guns from friends or family (39.6%) or from the street/illegally (39.2%). To this point, the FBI states there are 1.2 million gang members in U.S. and that gangs illegally traffic guns as addition to narcotics.

4. Mass Shootings Are Not Increasing:

Former President Bill Clinton, Mother Jones and others have claimed that mass shootings are increasing. Once again not true. James Alan Fox’s analysis of the Mother Jones‘ study indicates they left out mass murders which made it seem there was an increase after the Federal assault weapon ban expired (they’ve updated their story since). Some mass murders receive more media attention than others, however the number has been consistently about 20 annually since 1976. The number dead from these mass shootings fluctuates from about 25 to 150, depending on the year (Fox’s chart is shown above). In 2012, it was less than 100. Though tragic, this represents a fraction of 1% of homicides. In recent years, homicides by raw number peaked in 1991 at 24,700; it’s dropped in half since, and the homicide rate per 100,000 people today is less than it was even in 1900 (see below).

5. Anti-Gun Organizations Lump in Suicide & Injuries With Crime Data:

After a mass murder shooting anti-gun organizations like the Brady campaign inevitably call for gun restrictions; these organizations also cite gun violence data other than crime data to include suicides and injuries. This is misleading. Although accidents and suicide are public health concerns, it is disingenuous to include them with homicide in response to a horrific crime. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), suicide rates have crept up slightly 2000-2009, but are still lower than the rate per 100,000 from 1950-1990. It’s not accurate to say guns contribute to suicide causal factors since the rate is lower now. And ultimately, legislation aimed to prevent crime by banning weapons and limiting magazine capacity has no reasonable connection to either suicide or accidents. We ought to compare apples to apples: suicide with suicide prevention, accidents with safety programs, and homicide with policy that would realistically reduce homicide.

6. Too Many Are Being Killed:

This statement is political gaming and wordplay. How many dead would be okay? Who wouldn’t want less murder? Ideally, zero would be the goal, but that begs the question of how to prevent any tendency of violence in humans. This phrase is not only meaningless in terms of contributing to policy that achieves a positive end result, but also dangerous in that the appeal to emotion runs the risk of circumventing genuine solution in favor of sound byte. It makes sense to try to achieve goals with policies other than those proven to be ineffective, as the previous Federal assault weapons ban was. Lastly, homicides are at an all time low.

7. False Zero-Sum Dichotomy – “Either/Or”:

Famous anti-gun rights advocate New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “I want the Congress to have to stand up and say ‘I’m with the NRA and support killing our children’, or ‘No'” (Time magazine, January 28, 2013, p.30). On CNN’s Piers Morgan, Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said, “the NRA is enablers of mass murder.” This overly simplistic incendiary rhetoric does nothing to further our national discussion, and falsely frames the debate as a zero-sum, winner-take-all, ‘either/or’ proposition – either you hug a gun or hug a kid, but you couldn’t possibly be for both gun rights and your child’s safety. That is preposterous. The NRA is not “the gun industry,” and preservation of the Second Amendment is not of interest only to gun manufacturers. Nearly half of NRA funding comes from individual donors. The NRA is comprised of average people who want safe neighborhoods, schools, and streets. Rather than offer ridiculous false dichotomy and grandstanding, we should be looking for genuine solutions.

BONUS: We Need More Laws:

This is the granddaddy lie. We already have a lot of laws. It’s illegal to kill your mom, steal a gun, take that gun onto school property, forcibly break and enter, and murder kids. We already have laws preventing mentally ill & felons from obtaining guns, and we have a background check system (NICS). The Sandy Hook shooter was denied to legally purchase a gun because of the NICS system. We tried a federal assault weapons ban (AWB) before. What we do need is better enforcement of existing laws. Congress has not fully funded NICS. Many states do not fully report felony and mental health data to NICS. The Justice Department only prosecutes a fraction of those who criminally falsify background check forms. We desperately need to engage in genuine discussion about real solutions to the violence problem. These solutions are not likely to yield instantaneous results, or win the next election cycle; yet it is what we would do if we were serious about addressing the issue. The underlying causes include: gang activity, which accounts for 48-90% of violent crime depending on jurisdiction; drug abuse, the single biggest predictor of violence with-or-without mental illness; concentrated urban population and poverty; and mental illness, including de-institutionalization, treatment and intervention, and other facets of mental health.

 

This article was originally published on PolicyMic.com, now Mic.com. Original publish date Feb 11, 2013. Original author, Matt MacBradaigh.

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33 Comments

  1. Agreed!

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  2. I bought my gun at a gun show and had to pass a background check to get it. So their wrong on the loopholes big time!!!

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    • I’ve e done the same for a new gun but bought used hand guns with no Check. I collect guns and hate gun control and of you want a gun you can buy plenty with no ck. Armslist.com needs some attn because it’s an online Craigs list for any gun on earth and this is where the criminals get there guns and this makes us all look bad.

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  3. The second amendment should be repealed. It’s obsolete and dangerous. We no longer need a militia to defend the colonies from the British.

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    • Michael murcus Your a retard. You can have my guns when you pry them from my cold dead hands

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    • I think not.

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    • Go ahead and try to get that passed. We’ll see how well it works out for you. Considering expanded background checks didn’t even get out of committee, we won’t be holding our breath though.

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    • You may be right. But we still need to defend ourselves against tyrants.

      The difference is that the tyrants are now on this side of the pond.

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    • It’snot for that. It is there to protect us from tryany. It also protected US from being invaded by Japan in 1941.

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    • No. Michaelnmarcus is right. We do not need to defend colonies from the British. We need to defend against ALL enemies. Anyone that would attempt to trample our rights. Especially our own government and people who would seek to change our constitution in a way to deny individual rights. We need our guns so we can protect our right to speak freely about guns, and any other subject.

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    • Are you insane? It is when we no longer have the guns that we will need them! Get real! Governments have no conscience! They have no heart! They are a machine! More people die at the hands of their own government than all other ways combined! You are out of your mind. And what makes you think we don’t need to defend our “colonies” from the equally as dangerous in today’s time threats as the British then? How do you know we don’t need to? BTW you are wrong! Who owns the Federal Reserve? The people? not. Wake up and don’t waste any more time in your world of make believe.

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    • I think there is some people named ISIS now. Don’t know who they are but I hear there is 71.+ coming to take over and impose sharia law. They are going to cleanse this country and make it pure with only people like you! NOT!!!,

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    • Being alone & armed at a public storage area, broad daylight, just the sight of a Colt .45 auto in my holster caused the assailant’s eyes to “bug” & his legs propelled him out of my sight! So basically, Michael, you’re an ignorant moron!

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    • Really? What if radicals attack your neighborhood park, or a little league game? What if radicals take over a state or local government? Takeover wouldn’t last long, but while it’s going on, my family WANTS our guns. PS – 2A will never be repealed.

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    • like that first amendment. I don’t want anyone i disagree with speaking so lets get that ancient thing gone too. I mean it was meant for a time when there were town criers and not ever idiot could share an opinion on the internet. Its to fight the govt, all govts for ever. the 2nd A was the best thing ever written, only 2nd to free speech. o wait its in that order even!

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  4. The Second Amendment has nothing to do with a militia. The Right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Now this sentence assumes, Like all others, the PEOPLE already have the right to keep and bear arms. It does not grant this right to the PEOPLE.

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    • The people are the militia. But I agree with everything else you said

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    • The right to bear arms has everything to do with militias. The reason for respecting the right to bear arms is to have the govt disarmed & incapable of tyranny:

      “The powers of the sword are in the hands of the yeomanry of America from sixteen to sixty. The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress has no power to disarm the militia. Their swords and every terrible implement of the soldier are the birthright of Americans.”

      –Tench Coxe, Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

      In the modern world that would mean abolishing policing as we know it & demobilizing the troops. Militias, private security, & community groups can take their place.

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  5. Here is a very basic and easy solution; Control of guns in the hands of private citizens, who gets to own a gun, what kind, under what circumstances, be designated to the organizations that are most interested in gun safety and responsibility: the NRA and GOA. There is no one in the USA more competent as well most interested in gun safety and responsible ownership and use of firearms. Let them, not the government, decide on who gets a gun.

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  6. I repeatedly bring up this very personal point; In my father’s town in Slovakia in WW 2, people were ordered to the train station for ‘relocation’ and ‘resettlement’ (to a town in Poland locally called Oswiescim). The majority of the people ordered arrived early in the morning with the suitcases, eager to show their obedience to the laws and commitment to show they were not troublemakers, about 6500. a second small group of about 150, hid out in attics, basements, under false names in other towns. A 3rd group of 26 including my father and uncles, went in the mountains with their illegal firearms. They stated to the local fascists; “If you want us, come and get us”. About 40-50 of the 1st group made it out alive. About 20 or so of the 2nd group survived. Of the small group with their illegal guns, 22 made it thru the War.
    Do the freaking math!!!

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    • Max, thank you so much for sharing this story of your family. I’d like to share this. Would it be all right with you if I posted this as its own article? I can post what you wrote here as is, or if you’d like, I’d be happy to interview you via phone or Skype to do something more in-depth. Please let me know.

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  7. U are welcome to share it. The verification is available in a book called “They Fought Back” by Yuri Suhl. It was published with a small misprint; switching out the ages of my father and uncles, but otherwise accurate. My father, who never got past the 6th grade in formal education, was self-educated. He spoke, read, and wrote in 7 languages, served in 6 armies, from the German army invading Poland in 1939 (assumed to be a Sudeten German), to the Israeli Army invading the Sinai in 1956.

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    • Thank you for the info about the book by Yuri Suhl! I will try to get a copy.

      It is not directly related, but the town of Suhl in Germany is/was famous for its gunsmiths and weapons manufacturing 🙂

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  8. Precisely… That’s why I’m a card carrying member of JPFO. And I’m not even Jewish! My only question is why are so many Jews for gun control these days? It just doesn’t make any sense to me at all…

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  9. Actually, a hell of a lot of Jews are gun owners and believe in the sanctity of the 2nd Amendment. We have a lot of fun baiting and goading the assholes who claim to be Jewish, yet fail to understand the the Commandment regarding the “Rodef”. This is the Commandment to KILL the person who pursues U with intent to kill U, or attempts to kill members of Ur family. Most Jews are aware that there was never a Commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill” It was “Thou Shalt Not Commit (premeditated) Murder” The other one we know was false was “Thou Shalt Not Lie”. It was actually “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Others”. The White Christians who operated the Underground Railroads for escaped slaves, when confronted by slave catchers about any known Black people, as they were standing on the floorboards over the hidden slaves, answered; “We have no idea what u are talking about!”

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  10. Dont know when u did that, but ive used armslist few times and did back ground chks and shipped to my FFL.

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  11. You are an idiot the amendment also states the individual has a right to bear arms read it. We haven’t needed state militias since we be came sovereign except to defend the residents in certain cases. Since you are so obviously up on this explain to me the function of the state police forces? Oh wait that is the state militia. You argue something you know nothing about

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  12. Apparently it’s not the British we have to worry about anymore but our own corrupt government. Please don’t think that group won’t sell you down the road. I didn’t realize how corrupt it was till this year’s elections. I’m appalled!

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  13. Stop doing drugs. its killing your brain cells.

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  14. Agree on the issue of gun ownership of course with licence according to the 2nd Amendment there are loopholes in the system of cause & use the clauses to rectify the system.

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  15. Not so fast son, if you don’t know about our history of American revolution? How did you know why we don’t use 2nd amendment anymore? Son, I suggest you shouldn’t repealed the 2nd amendment, and your been criticizing for to long. The 2nd amendment is only for defending from tyranny, and all enemy of foreign and domestic. If you don’t remember the history. Then your useless to learn the truth.

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