On February 19 the Los Angeles Times claimed that there would be no mass shooters if a “mass-shooting gun” like the AR-15 was banned.
The Times claimed Florida attacker Nickolas Cruz would not have been able to hurt or kill nearly as many people if he had been using a “six-shooter or pistol” instead of an AR-15. They tried to hedge their statement by limiting the pistol to “9 rounds,” which works out to ten rounds (counting one in the chamber), and has no bearing on the success of a mass public attacker.
For example, on April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho used a pistol to shoot and killed people at Virginia Tech University. That is nearly twice as many as were killed in Florida, all killed with a handgun. And a Virginia Tech Review Panel determined that the capacity of the magazines used in the attack was not a determining factor in the outcome. This is because Cho had an important factor on his side–time. Gun-free zones give mass shooters all the time they need to pause, reload, and start shooting again. So the difference between having ten rounds and having 15 rounds is negligible.
It should also be noted that pistols were the gun of choice for numerous other high profile attackers, including the Fort Hood attacker (13 killed November 5, 2009), Giffords’ attacker (six killed January 8, 2011), another Fort Hood attacker (three killed April 2, 2014), the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal attack (nine killed Jun 17, 2015), and the Lafayette movie theater attacker (two killed July 23, 2015), among others.
But the Times suggests mass shootings will stop if the U.S. bans a “mass shooting gun” like the AR-15. They also claim an AR-15 “is not a good hunting weapon.”
On January 20, 2017, the Washington Post published a “White Paper” wherein ATF Associate Deputy Director Ronald Turk wrote, “The use of AR-15s, AK-style, and similar rifles now commonly referred to as “modern sporting rifles” has increased exponentially in sport shooting. These firearm types are now standard for hunting activities. ATF could re-examine its 20-year-old study to bring it up to date with the sport shooting landscape of today, which is vastly different than it was years ago.”
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.