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The first primitive firearms were invented and constructed by the Chinese in the 13th century A.D. to harness the explosive power of gunpowder as a powerful weapon of war. Since then, firearms have undergone an extensive progression of refinement from the first crude matchlocks to flintlocks to caplocks and on to the invention of smokeless powder and metallic cartridges. However, although the firearm was originally developed as a weapon of war, civilians quickly realized the advantages of such a weapon as a hunting tool for providing much needed protein for their families and thus, the firearm was rapidly embraced by civilians as well as military personnel.
Consequently, firearms have been an integral part of American culture since Europeans first landed on American shores and their popularity has persisted through modern times. However, even though firearms are an integral part of life for many people, the fact is that only a small percentage of the population is truly familiar with their capabilities and limitations, and this lack of knowledge has given rise to many myths about firearms which, unfortunately, many people are adamantly convinced are true. In fact, there are at least seven gun myths that persist in people’s minds despite evidence to the contrary.
1. Guns Kill People – One of the favored arguments of those opposed to private ownership of firearms is that guns kill people. However, while it is true that firearms were originally developed as a weapon of war, this argument ignores the fact is that firearms are inanimate objects that are simply not capable of taking action on their own. Therefore, they require a conscious human operator with a clear objective in order to fire a projectile. Consequently, the truth is that it is not the firearm that kills people but, instead, the human operator who makes a conscious decision to take a life. The firearm is merely a tool to that end.
2. Hollow Point Bullets Are More Deadly Than Full Metal Jacket Bullets – Many people mistakenly believe that the hollow point bullet is inherently evil because it causes more damage than a comparable full metal jacket bullet. However, the fact is that full metal jacketed bullets not only tend to over-penetrate and thus endanger bystanders, they also tend to yaw and then tumble after penetrating a body which creates a devastating wound channel. Therefore, the hollow point bullet was designed by a former police officer named Lee Juarez as a means of preventing over-penetration in police shootings; not as a means of doing more damage to the target.
3. Violent Criminals Favor “Assault Weapons” Over All Other Firearms – The term “assault weapon” is actually a term coined by the anti-gun media to cast the present, U.S. military issue, battle rifle as weapon that has no civilian application. However, the fact is that the M16 was originally designed as a long range battle field weapon and only recently, due to its modular design, has the military made the switch to the more compact M4A1 version (which is perfect for home defense). Also, due to its modular design, the civilian version (designated AR-15) can be configured to chamber a wide range of rounds which are imminently well suited for hunting a wide variety of game animals. Furthermore, rifles are difficult to conceal and thus, the actual weapon of choice for criminals is the handgun; not the so called “assault rifle”.
4. High Capacity Magazines Kill More People – Proponents of gun control would have us believe that banning high capacity magazines will prevent mass murders. However, research has shown that the vast majority of homicides average a total of only four shots fired. Also, in the case of criminally psychotic individuals who commit mass murders such as those at Columbine and Virginia Tech, research has shown that these individuals meticulously planned their attacks and thus, the Columbine shooter carried 13 ten round magazines whereas the shooter at Virginia Tech carried 17 of them!
5. The “Gun Show Loophole” Enables Criminals To Purchase Firearms – All commercial purchases and sales of firearms require the dealer to first obtain a Federal Firearms License and to adhere to a set of very strict rules surrounding the sale of firearms. Also, anyone wishing to legally purchase a firearm is required to do so through a licensed dealer and to fill a form that records such information as their name, date of birth, residence, etc. as well as being subject to an intensive background check. Therefore, the only way for a criminal to illegally obtain a firearm is to either purchase it from a private individual or to steal it. In fact, according to a Department of Justice study, criminals obtain 78.8 percent of their firearms from friends or family members and 39.2 percent from illegal street purchases; not from licensed gun show dealers!
6. Handguns With Polymer Frames Don’t Appear On Security Scans – While it is true that handguns with polymer frames do appear to be less opaque when viewed with an x-ray security scanner than handguns with metal frames, the fact is that they are still visible and they do display the characteristic handgun outline. In addition, all polymer framed handguns incorporate metal parts such as barrels, slides, and trigger mechanisms and thus it is simply not possible for them to escape detection despite their lightweight polymer frames.
7. So and So Has a Rifle That Will Shoot Through and Engine Block – It never ceases to amaze me just how gullible some people can be, and a prime example of this gullibility is the persistent myth that a hunting rifle is capable of penetrating the engine block of a motor vehicle. While there are certainly some very powerful hunting rifles available today that are easily capable of dispatching animals weighing as much as 2,000 pounds, the simple fact is that rifles designed for hunting simply do not generate enough kinetic energy to accomplish this feat. Furthermore, bullets designed for hunting are constructed using a lead core with a copper jacket and thus, they lack the necessary integrity to penetrate even 1/2 inch steel plate; let alone an engine block! Therefore, penetrating an engine block requires a highly specialized military rifle such as the Barrett chambered for the .50 BMG combined with proprietary depleted uranium armor piercing rounds to accomplish such a feat and even then, it may not penetrate completely.
So, as you can see, despite the fact that the above mentioned firearms myths persist in many people’s minds, the simple application of logic combined with a little research should make it immediately obvious to anyone that they are myths based upon fear of the unknown, misconceptions, and a lack of knowledge.