It’s Not the Guns!

It’s Not the Guns!

Photo Credit: Public Domain from the Swedish Army Museum via Wikipedia

Many people blame the AR-15-style rifles (“AR-15” is a trademark of Colt, so to be an AR-15, it has to be Colt or an original ArmaLite) and the “modern” semi-automatic pistol for the rise in mass shootings, somehow believing that these are New Things. This belief is simply wrong. It’s best not to hazard a guess on the origins of such mistaken belief. Instead, let us just dispel it with facts.

The picture above is the M1 Carbine. About 6 million were made for WWII and Korea and millions wound up in civilian hands. At least two companies are making and selling copies today (Auto-Ordnance and Inland Manufacturing). The M1 Carbine is a semi-automatic rifle with low recoil that fires an intermediate-power cartridge and has 15- and 30-round, removable magazines. Notice how similar this description is to that of the AR-15. Despite the difference in appearance, from the user’s perspective, the AR-15 and the M1 Carbine do the same thing. From the end of WWII in 1945 until the Gun Control Act of 1968, you could send a check to order them by mail and the USPS would deliver them to your home. In 1963 alone, 250,000 were sold through the mail by the NRA for $20 each (including shipping and handling). It wasn’t until 1998 that background checks became required to purchase firearms.

The “Government Model” (M1911 & M1911A1) semi-automatic pistol was developed in 1911; some purely ergonomic changes were made to give us M1911A1 in 1921. Flatter than the revolver and faster to reload, the semi-automatic pistol quickly caught on and became the standard worldwide (except in American police departments, which were slow to come around). Thus the semi-automatic pistol has been out there in large numbers and readily available for over a century. The Browning Hi-Power, with it’s double-stack magazine holding 13 rounds of 9mm, has been available since 1926. The first models of the semi-automatic Luger pistol were developed in 1898, and the “modern” 9mm cartridge was developed for the Luger in 1901, 122 years ago.

Such firearms were much, much easier to obtain in the past, and a higher percentage of households in the US had firearms than do today. Yes there are more civilian-owned guns today – and more per capita – but that’s because firearms are robust, durable tools that last a very long time (I have a rifle that was made in 1896 that still works fine), which means those that exist already are not going away. It’s true that fewer households have firearms, which means a smaller portion of our population is familiar with firearms than was the case back when you could buy that M1 Carbine by mail.

To anyone with a logical mind, it’s clear that the problem is not the number of firearms, the type of firearms, the availability of firearms, or the ease of purchase. The problem is entirely cultural. Until we have THAT conversation, no new gun control laws are going to have any effect on the use of guns in crime, be that armed robbery or mass shooting. The criminal does not care that the tool he’s going to use to commit a crime is also illegal; he’s already intent on breaking the law.

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2 thoughts on “It’s Not the Guns!”

  1. It is extremely unlikely “THAT conversation” will ever happen. Logic is useless against emotion, and emotion is what drives the masses. The leaders of the masses are not; however, they manipulate emotion to whip up said masses into demanding, demonstrating, and voting for more gun control legislation. Which is as pointless as the rest of the gun control legislation, unless viewed through the lens of diminishing the rights codified by the Second Amendment.

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