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Guns & gun control: First get the facts straight

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on Jan. 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
January 14, 2011 1:18 pm

A problem with some gun control advocates is that they discredit themselves the moment they open their mouths. As we say in the trade, you’re entitled to your own opinions, but you don’t get to make up your own facts.

Roger Lowenstein here at least doesn’t confuse semi-automatic guns with automatic guns, a common self-discrediting mistake. But he wants even semi-automatic guns “banned, for good,” apparently believing they aren’t legitimate hunting weapons.

That would come as a surprise to virtually every hunter in the world.

His discussion of the Constitution and the Second Amendment completely ignores the Supreme Court’s contrary rulings on the matter. When the high court majority has pointedly rejected your legal views, you should at least acknowledge that they are not beyond dispute.

“Its doubtful the framers envisioned people possessing private weapons or taking weapons to their individual homes, as that would have detracted from a militia’s effectiveness.” Three whopping blunders in a single sentence – possibly a record for the English language.

The 18th century militias relied on the muskets and rifles citizens brought to the battle. They also relied on the citizens’ proficiency with them, which they couldn’t acquire if all the muskets were locked up in an armory. Of course the framers envisioned “people possessing private weapons.”

“No sportsman deserving of the term hunts with an assault weapon.” In fact, the .223 caliber semi-automatic rifles commonly described as assault weapons are less powerful than deer rifles; they aren’t lethal enough for large game, and are commonly used to shoot smaller animals, coyotes, jackrabbits and other “varmints.”

I’m not a hunter – I don’t even squish spiders – nor am I an “assault rifle” owner. But I am a target shooter and recognize absolute ignorance about firearms and American history when I see it. I’m also an opinion writer and know it’s hard to persuade readers of anything when you’re shooting yourself in the foot every step of the way.

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