As concerned citizens who respect Chris Wallace (photo right), who listen to the Fox News Cable Channel for information and enlightenment, and who honor and respect the 2nd Amendment, we were unnerved by Wallace's interview this past Sunday morning (Feb. 3rd) with Wayne LaPierre of the NRA. Mr. LaPierre prefers jumping to logical conclusions without the necessary banter that Chris Wallace is accustomed to, but then most of us would not be very articulate or effective when responding to a skilled newsman. Several issues did come up which we would like to address.
As Mr. Wallace pointed out in the Heller v District of Columbia decision invalidating D.C.'s handgun ban on Second Amendment grounds, Justice Scallia indicated that there were limits on what types of weapons were permissible and the manner in which they could be carried. However Justice Scallia also referred to the Miller decision, United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174, 179 (1939) and opined that the second amendment protected weapons which were in common use to protect home and family, traditionally the same weapons they would bring when assembled as a "militia."
There are at least 30 million semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, classed as *"assault rifles" by Dianne Feinstein and others, in private hands, for sport and self defense. At least 80% of of the 250 million handguns in private hands are also semi-automatic. Apart from minor cosmetic differences, there is nothing to distinguish semi-automatic weapons from those Senator Feinstein (and others) seek to ban. None of the features the Senator would use to define *"assault weapons" adds to their lethality in any way. We see that the term "assault weapon" is a buzz word used to divert attention from the real goal - the disarming of citizens. Since semi-automatic weapons are in common use, it is hard to argue that they are unusual or especially dangerous.
*Assault weapons are considered medium to low power by military standards, so that troops can carry more ammunition for close quarter battle. AR type rifles are not allowed for hunting medium to large game in any state because they are not powerful enough to dispatch game humanely. Ordinary hunting rifles are twice as powerful. Armor piercing ammunition is a misnomer, since all rifle ammunition will penetrate soft armor commonly used by police. Military bullets must not expand or shatter, under the Article III of the1907 Hague Convention .
They can kill, but do not create grievous wounds. Consequently, it takes 6-9 hits from an AR rifle to stop a determined attacker. The Army fires over 120 rounds for each enemy soldier killed - so much for the other mantra, "designed to kill a lot of people very quickly." In contrast, a hunting rifle is designed to kill in a single shot, by creating a massive wound. That's why snipers use hunting rifles, not M-16s.
Mr. Wallace suggested that there are many soft targets besides schools which would be better served if there were some form of armed protection. Don't public schools deserve particular attention because children are so precious to us, yet so vulnerable? Many schools do employ active, off-duty or retired policemen to bear arms against a violent intruder. The school which the President's children attend had armed guards before his daughters arrived, and will undoubtedly continue after he leaves office.
The police can't protect malls, theaters and similar areas, nor are they obligated to do so, per a decision by the Supreme Court. All of the mass murders, except for Gabby Giffords incident in Tucson, occurred in so-called "gun free zones." To date, 49 states allow some form of concealed carry for private citizens, 39 of which are "shall issue" states. Illinois is the only state without such a provision. Recently a long-standing ban on concealed weapons was overturned in a federal appeals court, on constitutional grounds, so that Illinois will be required to draft a concealed carry law by May 2013 (which may be appealed in the U.S. Supreme Court.
One thing we have learned about mass killers is that they operate in a fantasy bubble of video game stature, which lasts only as long as they operate unopposed. Once that bubble is popped, by police or an armed citizen, these individuals surrender or commit suicide. None have engaged in a prolonged shootout with armed defenders. The Clackamas Mall shooting in Portland was halted when an ordinary citizen drew down on the offender, who panicked and committed suicide after shooting two people with an "assault rifle."
"Universal Background Checks" is a wedge issue, lumped with much less popular measures to "sweeten" the deal, in order to divide second amendment advocates. Most of us are in favor of expanded background checks in gun shows, for example, but opposed to a renewed "assault weapon" ban or magazine restrictions. The much touted 40% figure refers to gun sales outside of traditional gun stores. Most gun shows already require background checks, as do private sales involving Federal Firearm licensees, and are executed expeditiously. If you back off transfers between close family members or inheritances, only about 6% of gun sales occur without checks. In other words, the demand for universal checks is a solution looking for a problem.
The Administration has not publicly addressed the problem of where criminals get their guns. According to FBI statistics, 54% of all violent crimes are committed by youths in the age range of 15 to 18. Based on interviews with prisoners, 40% of guns used in crimes come from relatives (who should know better), 40% from "street vendors", 11% are stolen, about 7% are legally purchased (including straw buyers) and less than 2% come from gun shows and flea markets.
While he was in the Illinois Senate, President Obama voted against charging juvenile gun offenders IN SCHOOLS as adults. Cheese and wine get better with age. I'm not so sure about criminals.
According to reputable estimates (criminologist Gary Kleck and professor John Lott), private citizens use firearms to avert up to 2.6 million violent crimes each year. Most are not reported for various reasons, such as no shots fired, or the defender was not entitled to possess a firearm (e.g., Chicago and NYC). Contrary to left-wing propaganda, a gun owner is 50 times more likely to be saved by a gun than harmed by one.
The Administration hopes for more success with legislation to limit the size of magazines, but this will have little effect on crime and a great affect on legal gun owners. 30 round magazines are standard issue for our troops, and are commonly discarded rather than reloaded - literally tons of them are on the market. At least 100 million are in common use. 86% of all handguns are sold by the manufacturers with magazines exceeding 10 round capacity, which would add another 500 million or so to the tally. Banning them outright would have negligible effect on illegal users. Criminals will get them anyway from the vast number in existence. More important, most gun crimes involve fewer than three shots fired, including the carnage on Chicago streets.
Although semi-automatic rifles may not be the first choice for self defense in most cases, they are the ideal choice when civil order breaks down. A semi-automatic rifle is needed for defense against multiple or armed assailants, along with the largest practical magazines. Typical examples are the days following tornado and hurricane damage, widespread power outages and perhaps wild fires, where communication and transportation are disrupted.
Gangs of 3 or more broke into occupied homes following Hurricane Sandy, where citizens were largely defenseless due to draconian gun laws in the Northeast.
A woman in Georgia successfully defended herself and children from an ex-convict who broke into her home, armed with a crowbar. Armed with a .38 revolver, she fired 6 times, striking the invader 5 times. He was able to return to his car and drive a mile before crashing into a tree, where he was arrested by police. This demonstrates that guns aren't nearly as effective in the real world as in movies or the liberal press. Had he been armed with a firearm, or had there been more than one assailant, the woman and her children might easily have been killed.
There was little looting in Florida following Hugo, because survivors protected their homes and lives with rifles and handguns. Under Florida law, which facilitates defense of one's home, looters had best move to California or New York.
Korea Town was spared during the Rodney King riots in LA because business owners confronted the mobs with semi-automatic "assault rifles." The same businesses were looted and burned a decade earlier during the Watts riots.
Police systematically confiscated weapons from New Orleans residents following Katrina, leaving them helpless. Under present California law, the business owners and citizens would be nearly helpless against mobs.
As member of Congress are pondering their reaction to Obama's gun plans, rallies are being held to protest Barack Obama's gun agenda and record-setting gun purchases are taking place. States are also taking action by proposing legislation that would pull the rug out from under Obama's agenda by specifying that unconstitutional rules, regulations, or executive orders won't be allowed.
It is clear to many Americans that Obama's agenda is not to limit gun violence, but instead a ploy that has long been sought by Democrats to disarm the American people by taking away as many guns as possible from even law-abiding citizen.
As Texas Gov. Rick Perry said, "The Second Amendment of the Constitution is a basic right of free people land cannot be nor will it be abridged by the executive power of this or any other president."
Although Rahm Emanuel was speaking about the economy when in 2008, as President Obama's new chief of staff he told a Wall Street Journal conference of top corporate chief executives, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," this mantra aptly applies to President Obama's use of the New Town school massacre to, in the long run, impose a weapon's ban (gun grab) such as exists in England.