Progressive Myths About Mass Shootings and Weapons of War

By James D. Agresti and William T. Reynolds March 31, 2021

Beyond the duplicity of highlighting race only when the killer is white and the victims are not, progressive lawmakers, activists, and journalists are using a litany of falsehoods in an attempt to ban common semi-automatic guns used for home defense and hunting.

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Summary

In the wake of the Boulder supermarket massacre and other mass shootings, progressive activists, politicians, and journalists have misled the public about major aspects of these tragedies. In contrast to their claims:

  • Less than 1% of all murders in the U.S. occur in mass shootings, defined as shootings where four or more people are killed.

  • The defining feature of firearms commonly used in war is that they are automatic and have the capacity to fire multiple bullets with the single pull of a trigger.

  • AR-15s and other guns that progressives call “weapons of war” are actually semi-automatic guns that can fire only one bullet with each pull of a trigger.

  • Federal law has generally banned civilians from possessing military firearms— including machine guns and assault rifles—since 1986.

  • The 1986 ban is not associated with a decline in deaths from mass shootings.

  • Two years after automatic firearms were banned, progressives moved to ban certain semi-automatic guns by calling them “assault weapons,” a phrase that sounds like “assault rifles”—the most common type of military firearm.

  • A leading gun control activist wrote that their strategy to achieve a ban would take advantage of the “public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic” guns.

  • The guns that progressives are now seeking to ban are popular firearms used for home-defense and hunting.

  • Federal law banned such guns along with magazines that hold more than 10 rounds from September 1994 to 2004.

  • Magazine capacity restrictions give a strategic edge to the killers who plot mass shootings over law-abiding citizens who carry a gun to protect themselves and others.

  • Bearing in mind that association does not prove causation, the portion of the U.S. population killed in mass shootings in the decade after the ban expired rose by 12% compared to the decade while the ban was in effect.

  • The weapons banned in 1994 became more accessible in the early years of the ban.

  • Some infamous mass shooters have stated they were motivated to kill for the fame that the media bestows on the perpetrators of such massacres.

  • Perpetrators of indiscriminate mass shootings are far more likely to suffer from serious mental illness than the general public.

  • Bearing in mind that association does not prove causation, the average annual rate of indiscriminate mass shootings rose by more than five times along with the mass psychiatric deinstitutionalization that occurred in the U.S. from 1955 to 2010.

  • The U.S. has one of lowest rates of psychiatric institutionalization in the developed world, and Japan’s rate is about 10 times greater.

Source: Progressive Myths About Mass Shootings and Weapons of War

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