Why a Ban on Semi-auto ‘Assault’ Rifles is a Dumb Idea

Photo by brian.ch on Flickr

A slew of deadly school shootings took place this October. In response, Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, proposed a blanket ban on all semi-automatic rifles, which he labeled ‘assault’ weapons. He cited support from the ‘vast majority’ of Americans.

“Instead of people yelling at each other, we have got to come together on commonsense approaches which, in fact, the vast majority of the American people support. [… There is] widespread support to ban semiautomatic assault weapons, guns which have no other purpose but to kill people.”

Bernie Sanders

However, his logic is fundamentally flawed. Here are six concrete reasons why. Continue reading →

Guns in schools

On October 1, 1997, 16-year-old Luke Woodham began to shoot his fellow-students and classmates at his school – Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi. Earlier that day, he had murdered his own mother, then retrieved a .30-30 lever action deer rifle and ammunition. As soon as the gunshots began to ring through the school facility, Vice Principal Joel Myrick ran to his truck to retrieve his Colt .45 pistol to fight back. While he did so, Principal Roy Balentine called 9-1-1.

Woodham’s rifle was neither semi-automatic nor automatic, requiring reloading after each shot. Woodham methodically thumbed rounds into the gun, “all business, no play […] just shooting and reloading, shooting and reloading.” (Laugesen, “A Principal and His Gun”) He shot until he could hear police sirens, than ran to his car to escape. Woodham later confessed that he had planned to drive to Pearl Junior High School and shoot even more kids until the police could show up. This plan was foiled by Principal Myrick. Two people had already been killed and seven more injured before Myrick returned to find Woodham racing to his vehicle to escape to Pearl Junior High. Myrick drew his pistol on Woodham and brought him to bay. Continue reading →