By Selwyn Duke
In the wake of the tragic Newtown massacre, we’re hearing all the usual lies and misconceptions about firearms. And since it’s wise to be educated on a topic before advocating policy on it, this is a good time to explode the gun myths being bandied about.
1. The issue is automatic weapons.
Boston mayor Thomas Menino and CNN’s Don Lemon both recently repeated the common mantra that we have to get “automatic weapons” off the streets. Automatic weapons, however, are machine guns, which, except for individuals who receive special permission from the federal government, have been illegal to own since the passage of The National Firearms Act in 1934. In addition, the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 made it generally illegal for any civilian to own an automatic weapon manufactured after that year.
2. Assault Weapons
“Assault weapon” is certainly a menacing, rhetorically effective term, which is why the media use it so much. In reality, though, the guns in question (such as the AR-15-type rifles and AK-47s available to the public) are not machine guns but simply semi-automatic firearms; this means that one bullet is released with each trigger pull. And virtually every gun sold in America is semi-automatic.
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