Debunked: anti-gun activists double down on dubious claims

Debunked: anti-gun activists double down on dubious claims

Cole Clayton, Staff Writer

With an all-out assault on gun rights on social media backed by disinformation, I feel that it is necessary to rebuke common anti-gun rights arguments. Here are just a few false claims I’ve seen, including some promoted by The Forest Scout:

“Civilians don’t need “assault weapons” because they were designed for military use”

It’s true that the ArmaLite Model 15, or AR-15, was designed and developed by Eugene Stoner for the U.S. military. But what gun control activists fail to understand is that civilians and the military have a common interest. Both want reliable and efficient firearms at reasonable prices. In a self-defense situation, you wouldn’t want anything less than to be able to stop a threat dead in its tracks, and you shouldn’t be forced to use anything less. 

“Assault weapons are ‘uniquely lethal’ because of their rate of fire and muzzle velocity”

The rate of fire on weapons like the AR-15 is irrelevant. They operate in a semi-automatic mode of fire. This means that no matter how fast the bolt can cycle, it is inherently limited by how fast your finger can pull the trigger. Modern pistols, the type of firearm gun control advocates imply are valid for self-defense, are also semi-automatic, and are limited by the same flesh and blood problem. 

Moreover, the muzzle velocity of a rifle-caliber round is simply the means by which the firearm achieves a greater range. Unlike pistol rounds, rifle rounds trade the mass of the projectile (the bullet) in exchange for velocity. The muzzle velocity of the round is not a certain indicator of lethality. 

“Most people support assault weapons bans, so they aren’t political”

The claim likely comes from a POLITICO poll on assault weapons bans (AWBs) taken just after the Uvalde school shooting, which found that a supposed 67% of respondents favored a ban on “assault weapons.”  A more recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that only 49% of respondents supported an assault weapons ban, far from the 67% claimed by POLITICO. Gun control laws, and assault weapons bans in particular, are absolutely still highly contentious issues. 

“The federal assault weapons ban was effective”

This is probably the gun control lobby’s greatest lie. The federal “assault weapons” ban did not prevent gun violence and the federal government’s own research even admitted it! Research from the prestigious RAND corporation similarly found no link between AWBs and a decrease in mass shootings. Contrary to dubious declarations on a criminological consensus on the role of availability of guns in gun violence, research published in the journal of Criminology and Public Policy also found a lack of support for those claims. 

“The Second Amendment only protects muskets” 

The Supreme Court ought to have put this theory to rest when it ruled in the 2008 Columbia v. Heller (Heller I) case that: “Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivolous, that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment… …[T]he Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.” The Second Amendment protects all firearms, not just what the Founding Fathers had access to.

It’s certainly reasonable to discuss gun violence, and its causes, but using dubious claims and spreading misinformation only hinders the conversation. Only when we accept the facts can we truly look for solutions.