The Boston Globe is going just a little bit over the edge to promote gun control.
The leftist newspaper has a page on its app featuring a big bold headline that reads “MAKE IT STOP” with a picture of a rifle underneath, followed by a bolded paragraph that reads:
Greed, legislative cowardice, advanced technology — that is how we got here. The United States has been pummeled by gun violence since the assault weapons ban expired in 2004. This year, mass shootings have already claimed 61 lives. One class of gun, semiautomatic rifles, is largely responsible. But this nation cannot be a hostage of fear. We can make it stop.
The Globe then proceeds to a graphic showing that there have been 47 mass shootings since the assault weapons ban expired in 2004, with 411 people dead, and they lament that the ban has yet to be reinstated.
The paper then points out that American retirees are benefiting from 401(k)s in gun sales–implying that it’s somehow a bad thing–and shows a graphic revealing that the gun industry’s 2015 revenue was 15 times than the Boston Public School system budget. What one has to do with another is unclear.
Following that is a headline reading “Assault Weapons Are The Perfect Killing Machine” followed by the painfully inaccurate sentence “The AR-15 assault rifle has the speed, accuracy, and power of no prior civilian weapon, shooting up to 45 rounds per minute.” Beneath it shows a continuing numbers increase of the number of times someone can shoot an AR-15 since someone began reading their page.
An AR-15 is not an assault rifle, and it can only fire 45 rounds in a minute if the user is particularly fast at pulling the trigger since the AR-15 can only be fired one shot at a time.
The Globe then calls on readers to pressure six senators to support gun control: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), before heading into their editorial.
The editorial begins with an old and tired leftist talking point:
The Founders had specific, if inarticulately worded, thoughts on the necessary and proper regulation of firearms. In their world, gun ownership for certain groups of white men was sometimes required by law. The most common gun in Colonial America was the Brown Bess musket, a weapon designed for the British Army and used extensively throughout the empire. It could fell a man or a moose, and its ubiquity in the hands of civilians and soldiers alike made it iconic. Capable of firing one shot every 20 seconds, it was the assault weapon of its time.
Times have changed. On Sunday morning, in a nightclub in Orlando, a man wielding a Sig Sauer MCX was able to fire off 24 shots in nine seconds of his four-hour rampage. Of the 300-plus people in the club at 2:02 a.m., nearly one-third were struck by flying lead — 49 fatally so.
Radio host and author Dana Loesch has eviscerated the myth that the Founders wouldn’t have approved of the Second Amendment if firearms like the AR-15 had been around by pointing out “the evolution of firearms was observable during the time that the Constitution was drafted.” For instance, long rifles were gradually replacing muskets during and after the Revolutionary War.
The Globe‘s factually challenged, feelings-based editorial continues:
There is nothing more American today than a mass shooting, the quickest way for the wicked among us to join the ranks of the reviled. Their motives are many, but their opportunity is limited only by their gun and ammunition magazine brand preference. In this country, the federal government limits duck hunters to weapons that carry only three shells, to protect the duck population. But you can buy an assault weapon in seven minutes and an unlimited number of bullets to fire with it. For every McDonald’s in the United States, there are four federally licensed gun dealers and an untold number of unregulated private dealers who can legally sell an unlimited number of guns out of their homes, backpacks, and car trunks without requiring a criminal background check or proof of ID.
The “assault weapon in seven minutes” claim links to an anti-gun columnist in The Philadelphia Inquirer who expresses horror at being able to buy an AR-15 in seven minutes. That may have been one instance of not having to wait a long period of time to obtain a firearm, but there are instances of Americans being delayed from getting a firearm due to the messy bureaucracy of the background check system, which can be deadly.
As for the “unregulated private dealers,” what they’re referring to are sellers who only periodically sell guns, such as someone selling a firearm to a family member. There’s no evidence that expanding background checks toward those private dealers have resulted in any decreases in crime.
The Globe proceeds to get District of Columbia v. Heller wrong:
From the origins of the country, there has been a broad understanding that all constitutional rights are subject to reasonable exceptions, and that the purpose of the amendments is to ensure that the government doesn’t violate rights indiscriminately. The Supreme Court has ruled, and there is no legal problem with a new assault weapon and high-capacity magazine ban.
Of all the exceptions, those involving public safety have been regarded by generations of jurists as the most reasonable and constitutionally acceptable. Simply put, banning weapons of war that fire dozens of rounds per minute is no more of a restriction on the rights of hunters and gun collectors and those seeking self-defense than controlling crowds is a violation of the right to assemble, or allowing slander judgments is a violation of the right to free speech, or banning grotesque forms of genital mutilation is a violation of the right to practice religion.
This is the usual sloppy misinterpretation of Heller for leftists to justify an assault weapons ban. As Loesch has written, the Heller decision explicit mentions that the Second Amendment protects “common use” weapons, which is what firearms like the AR-15 are.
Here’s the kicker: the Globe admits that an assault weapons ban wouldn’t have much impact on crime.
“Would a better ban on semiautomatic assault weapons reduce the nation’s overall amount of violent crime?” writes the Globe. “Research suggests not, but it would clearly reduce the violence of some crimes, particularly mass shootings like those in Newtown and Orlando.”
Actually, the research suggests that not only did the expired assault weapons not reduce crime at all, overall crime has decreased since the ban’s expiration, according to Crime Research Prevention Center president John Lott:
Ms. Feinstein points to two studies by criminology professors Chris Koper and Jeff Rothfor the National Institute of Justice to back up her contention that the ban reduced crime. She claims that their first study in 1997 showed that the ban decreased “total gun murders.” In fact, the authors wrote: “the evidence is not strong enough for us to conclude that there was any meaningful effect (i.e., that the effect was different from zero).”
Messrs. Koper and Roth suggested that after the ban had been in effect for more years it might be possible to find a benefit. Seven years later, in 2004, they published a follow-up study for the National Institute of Justice with fellow criminologist Dan Woods that concluded, “we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence.”
Since the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired in September 2004, murder and overall violent-crime rates have fallen. In 2003, the last full year before the law expired, the U.S. murder rate was 5.7 per 100,000 people, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report. By 2011, the murder rate fell to 4.7 per 100,000 people. One should also bear in mind that just 2.6% of all murders are committed using any type of rifle.
According to The Federalist‘s Sean Davis, the expired assault weapons ban only prohibited guns if it had “a collapsible stock, a pistol grip, a bayonet mount, a flash suppressor, or a grenade launcher” as well as a detachable magazine. But all of those requirements are based on the physical appearance of the gun rather than its firing capabilities, and it’s incredibly difficult to find the ammunition necessary for a civilian to use a grenade launcher.
“If the cosmetic features used to define an ‘assault weapon’ in the 1994 law strike you as really stupid ways to define an “assault weapon,” it’s because the 1994 law was a stupid law with stupid definitions written by stupid people,” writes Davis. “And not only was it a stupid law, it was a stupid law that didn’t even accomplish its stated goal.”
No wonder the Globe editors went all-out to support the assault weapons ban then.