Left to right comparison: the .223 Remington, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield and .458 Winchester Magnum. (Dave Workman)
Predictably on Tuesday, anti-gun politicians including Washington Gov. Jay Inslee were calling for stricter gun control laws in response to the Las Vegas mass shooting, and as Liberty Park Press cautioned, there’s a call for banning so-called “bump stocks” for semi-auto rifles.
Inslee told KING 5 News, the NBC affiliate in Seattle, “Right now, we have a situation where there’s a hole in our law that needs to get fixed. It allows the sale of these bump-stock devices so you can turn a legal semi-automatic weapon into a lethal fully automatic weapon. That needs to be fixed; those need to be outlawed.”
And then he added, “People do not need to make a semi-automatic for deer hunting or self-protection to a fully automatic weapon of war.” According to NBC News, Capitol Hill Republicans might be open to discussing some restrictions.
With that statement, Inslee demonstrated a lack of understanding about firearms and particularly the “bump stock” device. It doesn’t convert a semi-auto into a “fully automatic weapon of war.” The typical owner of this device is a recreational shooter. Videos showing people shoot with these things are all over social media and they got lots of attention Tuesday.
Likewise, the Seattle Times editorial board had this to say:
“This should start with an immediate moratorium on efforts to further weaken gun laws, such as proposals in Congress to allow civilians to acquire armor-piercing ammunition and silencers.”
Virtually every modern centerfire rifle cartridge launches a bullet that will penetrate soft body armor used by police. These bullets are used for hunting, competition, predator control, recreational shooting and home defense. Because this debate has continued for decades, this should be common knowledge. Vests can be reinforced with steel or ceramic plates.
The newspaper editorial added:
“Then we must find a path forward for well-regulated gun ownership. This should include universal background checks and licensing, and outlawing private ownership of high-capacity bullet magazines, automatic weapons and ‘tactical’ semiautomatics with detachable magazines and pistol grips.”
Millions of modern sporting rifles – the so-called “assault rifles” gun prohibitionists want banned – are in private hands. Those gun owners will be arguing loudly that they had no part in Sunday’s madness, and therefore should not be penalized.
The Times seems to have conveniently overlooked the fact that Washington State’s “universal background check” requirement did not prevent the tragedies at Mukilteo or Burlington. In the Mukilteo case, the shooter passed a background check. The Burlington shooter took a gun that was not an “assault rifle” from his step-father, and bypassed a background check with what essentially was a theft.
Likewise, the Las Vegas killer, Stephen Paddock, acquired his firearms legally and went through multiple background checks. There has been talk about “enhanced background checks,” but what does that mean? What is the definition of such a check?
The “automatic weapons” the newspaper wants banned are already highly-regulated, and they may not be legally owned in some states, including Washington.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has challenged House Speaker Paul Ryan to “create a Select Committee on Gun Violence to study and report back common sense legislation to help end this crisis.”
There is something else worth noting, and it’s about the way the press continually, and erroneously, portrays the AR-type rifles as “high powered.” The cartridge that most of these guns fire is a .223 Remington, commonly used by target shooters, predator and varmint hunters. Compared to a big game hunting cartridge, it’s a pipsqueak.
The accompanying image shows, from left to right, a .223 Remington, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield and .458 Winchester Magnum. Both .30-caliber rounds are longtime favorites of deer and elk hunters. The .458 is used in Africa or Alaska for big, dangerous game.