Unholstering the truth about guns

Jan. 28, 2013

By Katy Grimes

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Politicians are nothing if not predictable. With every tragedy, lawmakers seize the opportunity to come up with a solution,  a rule, or another law. But often the new rules don’t quite fit the crime. Facts become fuzzy and manipulations take place.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what has happened with the recent killings at the Newtown, Conn., elementary school, the Aurora, Colo. movie theater, the Oregon shopping mall and the attack on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

With guns on the chopping block in the United States and the specific challenge to owners of “assault rifles,” there is more smoke and mirrors than fact coming from the media and elected officials. Some are just ignorant of the facts, but others are deliberately disingenuous.

The very term “assault weapons” is dubious, as I explained in “Regulation is the enemy of freedom.” The term was first used by Josh Sugarmann, head of the anti-gun group, the Violence Policy Center, “a national educational foundation working to enhance gun control in America.”

“The semi-automatic weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with 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 that chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons,” Sugarmann said in 1988.

Ironically, Sugarmann is from Newtown, Conn., where the recent school shooting took place.

Presidental assassinations — a little history

In the history of the U.S. presidency, four presidents have actually died from assassination. Another six survived assassination attempts.

Of the four assassinations,  three were done with simple, legal and small guns. All three, with the exception of John F. Kennedy, was with a small hand gun. Not one of the guns was a large capacity weapon.

And yet, of the politicians who actually want to ban guns, many have a concealed carry weapons permit.

Assassinations

Abraham Lincoln – Lincoln was shot in the head while watching a play on April 14, 1865 by John Wilkes Booth, who escaped and was later shot and killed. According to the FBI, the recovered gun was a single-shot pistol — a one-bullet, tiny gun.

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James Garfield – Garfield was shot by Charles J. Guiteau, a mentally disturbed government office seeker, and Garfield stalker, on July 2, 1881 with a British Bulldog revolver. This gun is a solid-frame pocket revolver.

William McKinley – McKinley was shot two times by anarchist Leon Czolgosz on September 6, 1901. Czolgosz shot McKinley with a .32 Iver Johnson revolver concealed in a handkerchief in his right hand.

John F. Kennedy –  Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963, while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.  Oswald used a  6.5 mm Carcano rifle.

Today’s attempted gun ban would do nothing to stop any of these killings, nor any of the six attempted Presidential assassinations.

Six presidents survived assassination attempts

Andrew Jackson: Richard Lawrence, an unemployed house painter, shot at Jackson, but his pistol misfired.  Jackson clubbed Lawrence several times with his cane, but during the scuffle, Lawrence pulled out a second loaded pistol and pulled the trigger; it also misfired.

Theodore Roosevelt: During his campaign for the presidency in 1912, Roosevelt was shot at close range by John Schrank, a psychotic New York saloon keeper. Schrank had his .38 caliber pistol aimed at Roosevelt’s head, but the attempted killing was deflected by a bystander.

Franklin Roosevelt: Giuseppe Zangara, an Italian immigrant and unemployed bricklayer, emptied his .32 caliber pistol but missed the President.

Harry Truman: On November 1, 1950, an assassination attempt was carried out by two Puerto Rican pro-independence activists, using a 9mm handgun, while the President was at the Blair House. A White House Police officer was killed. Truman was not harmed.

Gerald Ford: Lynette Squeaky Fromme, one of the cult followers of mass murderer Charles Manson, attempted to kill Ford in Sacramento. However, her .45  single-action, semi-automatic handgun failed to fire.

Ronald Reagan: On March 30, 1981, John Hinckley shot a .22 caliber revolver six times at Reagan as he left the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The issue with most of the presidential assassinations and attempts was access, not gun type.

Political elite have carry permits

Many political elite have concealed carry permits,  even those who call for gun bans or restrictions.

“Barbara Boxer used her influence to secure an elusive concealed carry permit from California,” reported the National Association for Gun Rights. “I can almost hear her trying to deceive gun owners… ‘Trust me, I have a permit,’” Dudley Brown wrote on the NAGR website.

“Or how about New York Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer? Schumer himself is reported to possess a New York concealed handgun permit, and both U.S. Senators regularly employed armed guards for their personal protection,” Brown reported.

“Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is well-known for packing heat when he is in his home district,” National Review online reported in 2011.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, acknowledged during a hearing in 1995 of having a concealed weapon permit. Feinstein has just introduced legislation to renew a federal assault weapons ban, but this one would be far more restrictive than the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban which primarily banned guns that had certain cosmetic features, such as a flash suppressor, folding or telescoping stock, pistol grip, or a bayonet mount.

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“The purpose is to dry up the supply of these weapons over time,” Feinstein said on Thursday, standing in front of a display of “assault” weapons. “Therefore there is no sunset on this bill.”

Feinstein’s latest legislation includes a ban on weapons with any “one military characteristic,” and bans the “import, export, manufacture, sale and transfer of hundreds of semi-automatic rifles, handguns and some shotguns.”

 The ban doesn’t just include the scary looking AR-15 and AK-47 semi-automatic rifles; There is a list of more than 150 guns that would be banned under Feinstein’s legislation, and this one would have no expiration date. (Photo: Getty Images)

Concealed carry in the U.S.

How many concealed carry permits are there in the U.S.? According to state reporting, the Government Accountability Office reported in July that there were at least 8 million active permits to carry concealed handguns in the United States as of December 31, 2011.

“In June 2002, 7 states and the District of Columbia prohibited the concealed carry of handguns,” the GAO reported. “As of March 2012, individuals can carry concealed handguns in all but 1 state (Illinois) and the District of Columbia.”

It is a travesty that members of Congress are not listening to the states, with this dramatic increase of states’ allowing concealed carry permit.

While many believe that Feinstein’s legislation will not make it through the Republican controlled Congress, President Obama has said that he supports this sweeping weapons ban, apparently more than the rights of all Americans under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.



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