Here is a question you may have based on the current gun discussions circulating in the media, and among U.S. politicians: “Are assault weapons a serious problem in the United States?” It’s an important question that surrounds the gun debate laws in our country, and one that requires knowledge and understanding.
Let me clarify what is meant by “assault weapons.” Assault weapons are firearms that can fire multiple rounds of ammunition with one pull of the trigger. In other words, assault weapons are otherwise known as automatic weapons. This means the vast majority of firearms owned in the United States do not qualify as “assault weapons.”
So the answer to our question – “Are assault weapons a serious problem in the United States?” – is a simple “NO.” In fact, a whopping ZERO PERCENT of gun-related deaths in the United States are caused by assault weapons.
And this brings up an important point to consider: how we talk about guns matters.
So no matter where you fall in the debate about guns and 2nd Amendment Rights, it’s important to know the correct information when discussing firearms.
For instance, you may hear people discuss the “deadly” AR-15 “assault rifle” as a culprit in gun-related deaths in the United States. And, now you can say a couple of things with confidence:
- First, the AR-15 is not an assault rifle (fully automatic). It’s a well-engineered semi-automatic rifle. If you pull the trigger once, the AR-15 only shoots a single round of ammunition.
- Second, fewer than 0.001 percent of gun-related deaths have been caused by the AR-15.
Which brings us to 7 of the most common anti-gun myths:
Myth #1: “AR-15 is a Scary Automatic ‘Assault Rifle.’ ”
The “AR” in “AR-15” does NOT stand for Assault Rifle. Rather it stands for the name of the company that manufactures these popular and highly versatile tactical weapons, ArmaLite. Contrary to what has circulated online, in the media, and from the mouths of some policymakers, AR-15s and other semi-automatic weapons are not assault rifles.
Fact: The “AR” in AR-15 stands for the name of the gun’s manufacturer ArmaLite.
Myth #2: “More Guns Equal More Deaths Per Capita.”
This is extremely easy to debunk with common sense and statistics. An estimated 94 percent of active shooter incidents happen in gun-free zones, and the majority of gun related deaths happen in cities with the strictest gun laws. In fact, about a quarter of all gun deaths in the United States happen in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, and Washington D.C.
Fact: Tight gun control really just disarms the good guys. As the rate of concealed carriers goes up, the rate of violent deaths with guns goes down.
Myth #3: “Making Guns Illegal Will Solve Our Problems.”
Sometimes people look at countries with fewer people and with no guns and point to their lack of gun-related deaths as a good example. In the United States, where there are more guns than people, it’ll be nearly impossible to remove all the guns out of circulation. What would more likely happen is the good guys would disarm and the bad guys would have a field day.
Fact: Solving gun violence that way is like vowing to make crime illegal and then expecting the bad guys to follow the law.
Myth #4: “Black Military-Style Rifles Are More Dangerous.”
People often look at guns, like the AR-15 and similar rifles, and automatically assume they are more dangerous, often because those military-style rifles are painted black. In reality, though, the bullets coming out of most handguns (9mm and .40) are higher caliber bullets than the .223 round commonly shot by an AR-15. Your grandfather’s brown-colored, wood grain hunting rifle, in fact, has a vastly more devastating round (.308) than any AR-15 can shoot (okay, Joe Biden?).
Fact: Don’t judge guns by the color of their paint.
Myth #5: “Guns Are Inherently Dangerous.”
If you left a gun on a table, it would never spontaneously jump and attack you. It’s people that are dangerous, as is apparent by the number of violent deaths in countries where people don’t have access to guns (I guess they could also outlaw knives, screwdrivers, and hammers?). Do you blame a car in a car accident? No. You don’t blame the tool. You blame the person using the tool.
Fact: The problem isn’t the gun. The problem is bad people wanting to do bad things.
Myth #6: “The 2nd Amendment Is About Hunting NOT Personal Protection.”
The U.S. founding fathers were escaping tyranny and were building the freest country ever conceived. They wanted to ensure we would never be conquered by tyrants again, so they put several things in place: freedom of speech, press, and religion provided in the 1st Amendment and a way to defend that freedom with guns provided by the 2nd Amendment. Do you really trust the government to have all the guns? What if the government went bad? Besides, guns are 80 times more likely to defend an innocent person than they are to take a life.
Fact: The 2nd Amendment was put into place for personal defense and as a defense against the potential of tyrannical government.
Myth #7: “Guns Are NOT Super Fun.”
Guns ARE super fun. I encourage you to get a beautiful black rifle (or any color rifle), fall in love with it, shoot it all the time (responsibly), and learn how to use it with proficiency and accuracy for the right reasons: to defend yourself and your loved ones.