What journalists need to know about guns and gun control

I am a gun owner and have been since I was 13. When I do journalism workshops around the country, I often ask journalists how many of them own guns. Even in places like Texas and Oklahoma, a tiny percentage of the journalists I talk to own a gun or say they know much about them, but they cover stories that involve guns all the time.

Inevitably, the debate over guns and gun control will heat up again after the mass shooting at the Century theater in Aurora, Colorado. So let’s be sure that we are clear about some gun basics.

What is a caliber/gauge and why does it matter?

For starters, a bullet is what comes out of the barrel of a gun.

A cartridge comprises the bullet, the casing, the propellant (gunpowder), and the primer. The cartridge casing is the usually made of brass. That is what police often find at the crime scene. At the end of the casing is the primer. When you pull the trigger it drops a hammer on the primer, the primer ignites the gunpowder in the shell casing, which forces a rapid expansion of gasses that pushes the projectile out the barrel.

The caliber of a gun is the measure of the inside diameter of the gun’s barrel. It is expressed either in inches or millimeters. These three factors determine how lethal a weapon is: the caliber, the amount of power behind it, and how close the weapon is to the target. (Learn more about “stopping power” here.)

So a .45 cal. is a firearm with 0.45 inch diameter projectiles. The most common calibers, in order of size are .22, .25, .308, .32, .357, .38, .380, .40, .44, .45, or .50.  You sometimes hear the word “magnum” included, which means the cartridge attached to the projectile contains more powder, which creates more velocity.

Shotguns usually come in .410 gauge, 10 gauge, 12 gauge, 16 gauge and 20 gauge. Shotguns fire shells loaded with shot. Unlike caliber, the higher the shotgun gauge, the less powerful the shot.

Bullets and ammunition

Even though some people use the words “clip” and “magazine” interchangeably, they are different. (See this photo to understand the difference.) Journalists should get this right because magazines are a hot topic in gun control circles. A pistol “clip” holds bullets together to make it easier to load into a gun. But a magazine completely surrounds the bullets and uses a spring to inject the bullet into the gun. Most semi-automatic weapons use magazines.

Different kinds of bullets serve different purposes and can determine how lethal a shot is.

Go here to learn more about round tips, hollow point and wad cutters as examples of three kinds of bullets.

Pistols, shotguns, rifles and assault rifles

Let’s start with the phrase you hear most often in the gun debate: assault rifles. To people unfamiliar with guns, they are scary looking, military style semi-automatic rifles. The shooter in the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting had an AR-15, which is an assault rifle. Assault rifles may have flash suppressors, bayonet mounts, folding stocks; and they use high-capacity magazines. They are used in a small percent of gun crimes despite their high profile in media stories.

Just because a gun can accept an ammo magazine does not mean it is an assault weapon. Ammo magazines feed cartridges into a gun, rather than using a cocking or pumping action to feed the gun’s chamber. Even small caliber guns can be built to use magazines. Gun control groups would like to limit the number of bullets a magazine can hold. The Aurora Police Chief said the AR-15 used in the Aurora shooting was fitted with a “drum” magazine. If that is true, it could have held 100 bullets, and the Chief said the attacker could have easily shot 60 rounds in a minute.

Shotguns fire “shells” rather than bullets. A shotgun shell may contain pellets or a slug. Shotguns are generally used to hunt birds like geese or pheasants or to shoot skeet/trap as sport. Shotgun loads do not travel nearly as far and are not as lethal at a distance as rifle bullets. Doctors treating the victims in the Colorado shooting reported plucking pellets from some of the victims. At close range, shotguns can be lethal.

Rifles are a large category that can include a range of weapons, from the more powerful ones to smaller .22 caliber rifle used by young shooters because they have so little kickback or by farmers who might use them to shoot rodents. Rifles have long barrels and can be single shot or semi-automatic, lever action, pump action or bolt action.

Pistols are handguns. They can range from cheap .22 caliber guns to the hefty Dirty Harry Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver, chambered for a .44 Magnum cartridge. Police commonly carry semi-automatic pistols rather than the revolvers like Dirty Harry used. The shooter in the Aurora theater fired a “Glock” which is a brand of pistol that can be a .40 caliber weapon, as the suspect is reported to have used. Glock makes a wide range of other caliber pistols

Automatic, semi-automatic

A machine gun is an automatic weapon. An AR-15, like the one used in the Aurora theater shooting is a semi-automatic weapon.

Automatic weapons fire when you pull the trigger and keep firing until you release the trigger. A semi-automatic weapon requires you to pull the trigger for each shot. A single shot weapon requires you to reload, cock or pump the new load each time. Almost every gun that shoots is semi-automatic. This includes almost every modern gun made, except for some shotguns, bolt-action rifles, and some target sport guns.

A single shot firearm must be reloaded by hand after each shot. Lever guns, pump guns, or bolt guns require some action by the shooter to chamber another round.

The use of the phrase semi-automatic when talking about guns is like using the phrase “gasoline cars.” Use model numbers, calibers/gauges and manufacturers if you want to be precise.

What’s legal?

As the National Rifle Association points out, “While federal legislation receives the most media attention, state legislatures and city councils make many more decisions regarding [the] right to own and carry firearms.”

In Florida, where I live, one would not need to register a handgun, but in some other states residents must register. In some states it is against the law to ever carry a loaded firearm; in others you can get a permit to do so. In Kentucky, where I grew up, it is perfectly legal to carry a gun in the open where anybody can see it, though workplaces and other businesses may still restrict weapons.

See a state-by-state list of the laws.

Shotguns and handguns are legal in Colorado and in most of the United States.

Some states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, ban assault weapons. Hawaii and Maryland ban “assault pistols” and some cities in Ohio have an assault weapon ban. California bans some large caliber pistols and assault weapons.

The AR-15 semi automatic rifle that the suspect in the theater shooting used is not restricted in Colorado. It has not always been that way.

In 1994, the U.S. banned the importation and manufacturing of AR-15s and similar “assault weapons” and Congress also banned magazines that would hold more than 10 bullets. But there were so many already in circulation that they were not hard to find, even while the ban was in effect.

Ten years later, in 2004, the ban expired.

In order to purchase a gun at a gun store, a buyer would have to undergo a federal background check, which searches for criminal backgrounds or evidence of mental instability.

The hodge-podge of laws reflects the complexity of political and even regional sensitivities to this issue.

In addition to state laws, the federal government requires some types of weapons to be registered. The ATF says:

Some examples of the types of firearms that must be registered are:

  • Machine guns;
  • The frames or receivers of machine guns;
  • Any combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting weapons into machine guns;
  • Any part designed and intended solely and exclusively for converting a weapon into a machine gun;
  • Any combination of parts from which a machine gun can be assembled if the parts are in the possession or under the control of a person;
  • Silencers and any part designed and intended for fabricating a silencer;
  • Short-barreled rifles;
  • Short-barreled shotguns;
  • Destructive devices; and,

A quick history of gun control

Not long after the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave citizens the right to bear arms, Congress has imposed restrictions on gun ownership and sales.

Congress has been in the gun regulation business since 1791.

Congress proposed legislation in the late 1800’s to control pistol sales, especially through the mail.

In 1934, Congress passed the National Firearms Act, which imposed a $200 tax on shotguns and rifles having barrels less than 18 inches in length, certain firearms described as “any other weapons,” machine guns, and firearm mufflers and silencers. Those guns were thought back then to be especially dangerous after being used in the St. Valentine’s Day massacre.

After the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., Congress passed gun control laws in 1968, which prohibited felons, those under indictment, fugitives, undocumented immigrants, drug users, those dishonorably discharged from the military, and those in mental institutions from owning guns.  The Gun Control Act of 1968 also made it harder to import cheap handguns commonly called Saturday Night Specials and placed a limit on automatic weapons and kits that would convert semi-automatic guns into fully automatic weapons.

In 1986, Congress passed the Firearm Owner’s Protection Act, which outlawed the sale or possession of machine guns without an ATF-issued permit.

In 1994, Congress banned the sale of assault rifles. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act focused on guns that had “flash supressors,” folding stocks and magazines that held more than 10 rounds. Gun supporters said the ban did nothing to lower crime rates because these weapons were so seldom used in crimes. Anti-assault weapon groups said the reason the law was ineffective is because it had so many loopholes.

In 2004, the ban on assault weapons expired, even though some states control the sale of such weapons. The Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence shares a collection of news stories about shootings that involved assault weapons after the ban expired.

Gun stats and gun crimes

Click here for an FBI chart that shows which guns are used in murders state-by-state. In Colorado, for example, handguns were used far more often than other guns. I was struck by how many states report zero deaths from rifles in that year. These three charts are from the Bureau of Justice Statistics:

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

FBI statistics show that even when gun ownership rises, there is no proof that gun crimes rise.

PBS Frontline published stolen gun data as part of a series on “hot guns.”

Police often speak of the need to regulate assault weapons because they say they face an increasing threat from more powerful weapons.

The ATF publishes stats on investigations and results.

Contacts and sources:

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  • http://www.bayreporta.com/ John C. Osborn

    You obviously know nothing about journalism or media bias to paint such a broad stroke. Show me evidence to back your claims.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/57ULAOJWULRFSTWY3UZAOQJQXM Skwish

    One glaring inaccuracy this guy right away comes out with is “and assault rifle is a scary looking, military, semi automatic rifle”. An true assault rifle is select fire for either semi automatic or full auto fire. All true assault rifles have been built like that since WW2 starting with the German STG 44. Rifles like these, along with machine guns, are heavily regulated for civilian ownership. This guy claiming to know so much about firearms still perpetuates the myths and falsehoods tossed about by anti gun politicians and media. As a gun owner, he should work harder at educating the public about political buzz words like ‘assault weapons and assault pistols” for what they are…labels put on civilian owned firearms that the anti gun crowd are not comfortable with that they want to see banned. This list is ever expanding, and could one day include your grandpa’s old Winchester lever action .22, maybe because you can load 16 rounds into it?

  • Anonymous

    Al,
     the reason that the AR-15 is refered to as an assualt weapon traces directly back to Josh Sugarman.  His intent was to confuse the American people by calling the AR an ‘assualt weapon’ and connvincing the ill-informed that they were fully automatic.  Remember the  60 minutes peice from just before the assualt weapon bill was passed?  That lie worked so well that anti gun politicians and journalists have been repeating it ever since. SO anti gun pols call the AR and others assualt weapons to demagogue, not because they know what they’re talking about.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    That argument already has been struck down by a former police chief. Sorry, but the delusion that one person with a handgun would have stopped the Aurora mass murderer is just that — a delusion.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Are you seriously implying that during any of the recent annual mass murders, carried out with guns as always, the mass murderer was truly “aiming”? I doubt any of those killers were aiming. They were spraying fire in the direction of crowds of people — yet another reason to wonder why those weapons are sold.

    Swing and a miss for you! I guess that’s what happens to people who operate outside the Second Amendment.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    And here I thought we would have one day without someone discussing the AR-15.

    As much as I am for accurate information, I think Al Tompkins has now responded a dozen times to that criticism. I find it interesting that pro-gun folks are all too willing to pick nits with a weapon that, at least at one time, was defined as an assault weapon, yet they have so much trouble with the “well-regulated” phrase of the Second Amendment they claim to know and love.

    No one needs an assault weapon for personal defense. I think most sane, rational people would see some truth in that.

    I notice you make reference to carrying while in uniform. So let me ask you this, although I am sure I will regret it. Are you, as someone who was trained to use numerous weapons properly, OK with people who haven’t had that training being allowed to own those weapons, with the potential they will use them around other people at some point? And if so, doesn’t that sort of negate some of what your training stands for?

    Answer honestly. Try to stay within the parameters of the question. An answer that mentions only the Second Amendment or handguns will be discounted. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tec-Sg-Beatty/100003397673038 Tec Sg Beatty

    Mr. Tompkins, there are so many mistruths, errors, mistakes, misrepresentations and downright falsehoods in this story as to be impossible to counter them in the space provided. Some examples would be:

    “some cities in Ohio have an assault weapon ban”. False. Ohio Revised Code, section 9.38, I believe, prevents and prohibits municipal corporations (cities, towns, villages, townships, etc.) for enacting, or allowing to continue in force, any firearms regulation that is more strict than state law, and stae law does NOT prohibit ownership, possession, sale, purchase, or use of a so-called “assault weapon” (which is a misnomer). I am quite familiar with Ohio firearms law, having challenged illegal bans at the municipal level in several cities and towns.

    The 1986 Firearms Owner Protection Act did not ban possession or sale of machine guns without an AATF issued permit. 1st, it was the 1934 National Firearms Act that put severe RESTRICTIONS upon the ownership, possession, or sale and purchase of full automatic firearms. The Firearms Owner Protection Act prohibits the sale, purchase, or possession af full automatic arms MANUFACTURED AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE ACT.

    Most “modern” types of “gun control” actually started after passage of the 13th Amendment, fostered by the Democrat party (which also sponsored the KKK) to disarm freed slaves. Thus, the basis for just about all “gun control” is RACISM.

    The whole article was quite poorly researched. I would expect better from a “professional jounalist”. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/rp509855 Rod Paul

    Of course, the first question should be, “What did the guy actually have?” “AR-15″ has become a generic term, especially among cops and politicians and uneducated journalists. For example, I notice my old SGW clone of the AR-15 is not on that Denver list – and I built it to be as close a replica as possible to the M16A1 I carried in uniform, including the essentially useless bayonet mount (M16 barrels will bend with too much bayonet side force, rendering them dangerous to shoot.)

    Folks like Knilands would ban that rifle as an “assault weapon” – but the reality is, I could do just as much damage with a bolt action rifle – or even a six-shot revolver, with a little practice.

  • http://profiles.google.com/rp509855 Rod Paul

    Al, I will disagree with your description of the AR-15 as an “assault rifle,” which has a ver specific definition: an automatic or selective-fire rifle or carbine using an intermediate cartridge.

    The AR-15 and clones are semi-automatic only – some fell under the meainingless “assault weapons” definitions – but many avoided it by making simple cosmetic changes.

    As for the chief’s comment about “60 rounds a minute,” I could easily achieve that with a semi-auto and standard 30-round magazines… and probably 20 round mags – but in any case, it would be simply spraying rounds, not aimed fire.

  • Barry Hirsh

    An AR-15 is not an assault rifle, because it is not select-fire, i.e. equipped to fire in both semi- and full-auto modes.

    It is a semi-automatic (autoloading, if you will) rifle, no different in operating principle from a Ruger 10/22.

    Since you are purporting to “educate” your readers, it would be nice if you understood what you are talking about.

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

     guy-Harold Smith,
    As I have said several times in these threads, I am using the legal description, which is just not very fulfilling as you point out. I sure as heck would not lean on wikipedia as a source but I agree with you. If I had to write a definition of an assault rifle (and if I could I would not use that phrase) I would use select-fire instead. I might even specify a caliber and whether it is center or rim fire. I might including something about the size of magazine it could accept.

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

     guy-Harold Smith,
    As I have said several times in these threads, I am using the legal description, which is just not very fulfilling as you point out. I sure as heck would not lean on wikipedia as a source but I agree with you. If I had to write a definition of an assault rifle (and if I could I would not use that phrase) I would use select-fire instead. I might even specify a caliber and whether it is center or rim fire. I might including something about the size of magazine it could accept.

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

     nedgr21:
    Thanks for your note. I recognize that the phrase “assault weapon” is inexact but without a doubt the AR-15 has been placed on banned assault weapons lists by the feds (when there was such a list before it expired) and by states and cities (like Denver.) They are named in the list as assault weapons.  So it is a legal description.  Would I write it that way? No. I like your definition (which I think actually is a defense dept definition) much better.

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

     nedgr21:
    Thanks for your note. I recognize that the phrase “assault weapon” is inexact but without a doubt the AR-15 has been placed on banned assault weapons lists by the feds (when there was such a list before it expired) and by states and cities (like Denver.) They are named in the list as assault weapons.  So it is a legal description.  Would I write it that way? No. I like your definition (which I think actually is a defense dept definition) much better.

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

     mmmmail2,
    I want to be clear that at no time have I said you have to own a gun to report on it.  That would be plain nutty. I do think journalists should know more than they apparently do about guns.  Last night’s CNN and Fox coverage proves that to me. 

    Sorry, your statement “If you are playing at shooting things, you are also playing at killing someone” doesn’t wash with me.  I do not presuppose what is in a person’s mind when they fire at a target or a sporting clay. I am trying to hit a bulls-eye, trying to create a tight pattern. Watch the Olympics this week,  are the target shooters training to be killers? The archers? The wrestler and boxers? I doubt it.

  • Anonymous

     Just because some ignorant politicians used a term to garner emotional support for gnorant legislation, doesn’t make it so. The Colorado state legislature passed a gun law preemption bill prohibiting more restrictive local gun laws.

  • Anonymous

     Just because some ignorant politicians used a term to garner emotional support for gnorant legislation, doesn’t make it so. The Colorado state legislature passed a gun law preemption bill prohibiting more restrictive local gun laws.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Tompkins, apparently you also need a course – assault weapons are, among other things, select fire weapons. Select fire means capable of being switched from semi-automatic to full auto or multi-round fire with a single pull of the trigger. An AR15 is not an assault weapon. In the wake of the recent Colorado shooting, the ignorance of the media is shining bright as they are claiming that an open front nylon vest is a bullet proof vest.

    MMMail2, guns made for the general public are made for punching holes in paper,
    harvesting animals, controlling animal populations, and personal
    protection – not murder. I shoot quite a bit, but have no intent or desire to kill anyone. Your “reality” is truly warped and twisted.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_S3YJDPIC7MDN7F43RFNPXPG5JQ Anonymous

    Al…

    Good article but you might want to clarify just where the 9mm cartridge fits into your list of handgun ammo. You left it out completely, and since it is both an oddball in nomenclature and the most popular self defense cartridge it is important to include it. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Actually, to build on your “argument,” I think gasoline in the quantity you describe would already be prohibited from the theater. So, using the pro-gun logic, that means we have to get rid of every rule on the books regarding gasoline. Taxes, too. After all, people could brew moonshine and use it as fuel. And we all know that if a criminal can do something, then we cannot possibly have ANY laws that restrict that behavior.

    Sound silly? It’s the logic straight from the pro-gun playbook. They claim, over and over, that criminals won’t follow gun laws, so there shouldn’t be gun laws. It’s a silly argument that has never made sense. But that’s what happens when you have an organization paying politicians to operate outside the Second Amendment.

  • Anonymous

    Nice conversing with you, no need to get personal.
    I, personally, will die fighting, in any instance. I ride motorcycles, rock climb, have fought MMA style for 30 years, and yes I play with guns. I and am right with my maker.
    Nobody can stop a friggin nut, from doing anything.
    If he would have used a couple of chains and some gasoline, he could have killed everyone in the theatre….ooooohhh, lets outlaw gasoline….simplistic nonsense, DUUUUUUHHHHHH

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    “if the Jews would have had assault rifles, they could have at least had a chance.” More simplistic nonsense, bordering on full insanity.

    They could have had a chance to take out one or two people. Then they would have been gunned down, and likely many of their neighbors would have been, too. Of course, collateral damage is a concept the pro-gun folks choose not to comprehend. That’s why we have crazy arguments like how someone with a concealed weapon at the movie theater could have ended the massacre (carried out by a legally sold ASSAULT WEAPON — let’s not forget that.) A former police chief already has discounted that silly argument, but the gun crackpots will continue to roll it out after every annual mass murder that’s carried out with a legally sold weapon.The choice is clear — endure annual mass murders, carried out with legally sold weapons, or vote out crackpot politicans like the Colorado governor, who clearly has not the first clue. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    No, obviously, it would be the part about you using your guns in some crackpot bid to “defend yourself.” Good to see, like so many other or-gun people, you are totally incapable of the most basic discussion or interpretation of terms. Politicians everywhere have failed us by kowtowing to your ilk.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Smith357 Guy-Harold Smith

      “”The shooter in the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting had an AR-15, which is an assault rifle.”"
    He did not have an “Assault Rifle”, an Assault rifle is a select fire weapon capable of fully automatic and semi automatic fire. The AR-15 is a semi-automatic only rifle, the M-16 is an assault rifle.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Smith357 Guy-Harold Smith

      “”The shooter in the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting had an AR-15, which is an assault rifle.”"
    He did not have an “Assault Rifle”, an Assault rifle is a select fire weapon capable of fully automatic and semi automatic fire. The AR-15 is a semi-automatic only rifle, the M-16 is an assault rifle.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Couldn’t agree more. As I have said elsewhere on this thread, there is one group acting outside the Second Amendment, and that is the NRA. Politicians let them do it.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Couldn’t agree more. As I have said elsewhere on this thread, there is one group acting outside the Second Amendment, and that is the NRA. Politicians let them do it.

  • Anonymous

    Jumpin in here, an “assault rifle” by historical definition was coined by the Germans in WWII. It was called “Sturmgewehr” (storm, or assault, rifle), and was designed to fill the gap between a long range rifle (klunky, heavy ammo, slow to fire), and a sub-machinegun (which by definition, is a full auto weapon that uses pistol ammunition). The “assault” rifles use cartridges that are less powerful than traditional rifle ammunition (like deer rifles), but are more powerful than cartridges such as 9mm or .357 etc. With the ammo weighing less, a soldier could carry more. Also, technology made the infantryman less likely to make shots more than a couple of hundred yards away. Typically, the flash hider is useless once you start “assaulting”, and the bayonetts are useless as well. Most prefer to carry that weight in ammo. How many drive-by bayonettings have been actually recorded? I digress, best, JGILL

  • Montana_Libertarian

     A quote explaining the 18th century meaning of the term “well regulated” frightened and threatened you?

    Peace be upon you.  Since I avoid alarming the timid I will engage you no more.

  • http://profiles.google.com/johnppoynter Jack Poynter

    The Irishman had the last word on the gun control issue:  Casey, he says, weren’t you and O’Hara in a fight down at the pub?  Yes, we were, Casey says, and O’Hara knocked me silly, ’cause he had something in his hand.  Well, didn’t you have something in your hand?  Yus, says Casey, it was O’Hara’s wife, and a thing of beauty she was, but totally useless in a fight.

    Those of us who have gone into harm’s way understand the need for the intelligent use of weapons, and the situations in which they are sorely missed.  The movie theater in Aurora was one such. The police were not there.  All this other stuff is just opinion and smoke.

    Sgt John Poynter, USMC 1966-1969.

  • mmmail2

    The premise, that journalists need to own guns to report on gun violence is akin to saying that only MDs can report on medical issues. Certainly some understanding of how guns work is necessary to report on how guns work, but not to report on someone being killed, injured or harmed by guns. The argument that gun ownership grants some insight or authority is no more true than owning a car makes the driver a race car expert.

    Like all crime, rates of gun related crime is decreasing. That alone should give people pause as to justifying gun ownership with the fear of being a victim. If gun ownership were responsible for the reduction in crime, then the rates of gun usage would rise, because using a gun in either prevention or commission of a crime is reported.

    Also those DOJ stats are incomplete, Florida & Illinois are either missing or “incomplete.” The fact that there were 8775 murders using guns in the US is phenomenal. 31,347 people were killed with guns in 2009; that’s more than were killed in car accidents. That doesn’t account for accidental deaths, suicides or gun related injuries.

    Guns are designed to kill. As someone who has shot and is around people who shoot guns for fun, the first lesson is that if you aim a gun you must accept that you are trying to kill someone. That fundamental reality, that most guns are made to kill another human being, is at core of all other discussions. The tripe about the 2nd amendment – which is about a “well regulated militia” not individual gun ownership – is a cover for that basic truth. If you are playing at shooting things, you are also playing at killing someone.

    That said, there are responsible gun owners and irresponsible gun owners. There are people who are cavalier about the power guns have and people who a realistic about that power and the ego that comes with it. For responsible people the rules might seem overbearing, but the reality of the innate power of guns means erring on the side of preventing the irresponsible people from being able to carry thier violent fantasies through to reality.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1381412418 David Fosse

    Al: it is .410 bore, not gauge. It is a cartridge case, not casing. And you say magazines hold so many bullets, not cartridges. You need an editor.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    First, all politicians at the state and local levels should take a pledge that they will stop claiming to defend a federal right when they run for office.
    Next, there should be a clear definition of a “weapon for defense” and an assault weapon. Anything outside a certain dimension and firing capability/rapidity would be classified as an assault weapon — NOT for personal defense — and regulated strictly.The idea that criminals would still violate the laws should not limit these sane, sensible regulations. People without licenses can still drive cars, yet no one claims those laws are meaningless. People under 21 drink. People steal, rob, and assault, even though those things are against the law.
    Just to add some teeth to existing regulations (pro-gun people are big, but never remotely specific, on enforcing what is on the books), any state or local area where guns are sold, then used in a mass murder, should be on immediate gun probation. All gun shops would be subject to inspection during the probation. Gun shows could no longer take place in that county during the probation. This would send a message to people that just shrugging off these mass murders, always carried out with guns, will mean IMMEDIATE consequences. Sell a gun to a mass murderer? Then no more gun shows in your county, and STRICT regulation of every gun shop in the area. Maybe this will help to educate people. They don’t seem to be learning from the annual slaughters.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    The end of your response is the usual frightening, threatening silliness that makes me wonder why people listen to pro-gun agendas. Clearly too many politicians have failed at their jobs.It’s clear that you fall into the usual narrow discussion ability of most pro-gun people. Instead of discussing rational changes, they launch into rhetoric about no one taking their guns.

    In other words, you are a huge part of the problem. We had another mass murder involving guns — chalk another up for your side.

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

     Ok I still don’t think we have much disagreement here. I stipulate the .410 issue-I used the most common language but as I say you are technically correct. .410 bore is also correct.  I have seen gunmakers themselves use gauge in their descriptors, as do gun stores, I was going for common langauage but could have been more precise.

    I addressed the magnum load issue, no disagreement there.

    I agree with your fourth point-I could have used more precise language. 

    #5 again is totally accurate but I do not find anything I said that is in disagreement. 

    You are right open carry is legal in Kentucky-no disagreement with my post.

    Again on the assault weapon ban, I think it was 19 models of weapons banned. Plus some high load magazines and such.

    #9 again you are correct and I point out that with registration (see atf outtake in the piece) it may be legal depending on where you are to own a machine gun.

    I appreciate your expertise and your taking the time to share it with us.

  • Anonymous

    Al –

     

    From top to bottom, off the top of my head –

     

    1.      
    Shotguns: .410 is not a gauge, it is a caliber.  It is the only shotgun round in common use
    that is measured in caliber. 

    2.      
    A simple change in gauge does not make a shotgun
    more or less powerful.  There are magnum loads
    and longer cases that make 20 gauges, for example, equivalent to basic 12 gauge
    loads. This is very common, for example, the availability of 3 1/2″ magnum 12 gauges have pretty much stopped the production of 10 gauge shotguns

    3.      
    A cartridge doesn’t attach  to a projectile. . A loaded cartridge
    consists of bullet, powder primer and case. 
    This is also referred to as a “round” of ammunition.

    4.      
    You don’t load “bullets” in a gun, you load
    rounds. Given that a “bullet” is just a projectile, you need the rest of the
    cartridge to do anything with it.

    5.      
    All semi-auto firearms use magazines. But not
    all magazines are detachable (e.g., the M1 Garand and SKS rifles are the most
    common examples of non-removable magazines). There are also tens of thousands of
    semi-auto 22 rifles in circulation that use non-detachable magazines with capacities greater than 10 rounds.

    6.      
    In Kentucky, where you grew up, open carry doesn’t
    require a permit to carry.  There is a
    difference between open carry and concealed carry. Almost every state has a
    permitting mechanism in place for concealed carry. Many states allow open carry
    without restriction.

    7.      
    The 1994 ban did not ban “assault rifles”; it
    banned a list of primarily cosmetic features that did not impact the sales of so-called
    assault weapons in the least, unless you consider a major upsurge in interest
    and sales the expected impact. 

    8.      
    You comment on the types of firearms that
    require Federal registration is very poorly presented. No normal firearm (rifles,
    pistols, shotguns, etc.) require Federal registration by individuals.  What the ATF is referring to is the National
    Firearms Act of 1934 which requires that certain types of weapons be taxed.
    That tax is the de facto registration. It includes machine guns, short-barreled
    rifles and shotguns, suppressors, destructive devices, and a catch-all (but
    clearly defined) category called Any Other Weapon. You have this information in
    your article, but it is not presented contextually.

    9.      
    The Gun Owners Protection Act of 1986 did not
    outlaw the sale or possession of machine guns. 
    Machines guns are legal to own in 33 states, subject to the taxing
    restrictions of the NFA of 1934. A last minute amendment to the act closed the
    Federal registry to newly manufactured machined guns, leaving only those manufactured
    and registered prior to May 1986 in circulation.  Otherwise GOPA 86 made changes to the law to simplify
    the lives of gun owners relative to the hodgepodge of state and local laws.  
          
    Not every state uses the Federal  database for firearms sales. many states use their own system.

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

     chasmodai,  please feel free to be more specific about your concerns if you think it would help the conversation. If you think 30% of what I wrote is not accurate, that would be a problem, to say the least.

    Most of the disagreement I have gotten from readers both in this comment section and in the email I have gotten has to do with:

    -the definition of assault weapon (I stick to what states and congress said, which I find unsatisfying but that is what we have)
    -a few have gigged me for saying .410 gauge rather than .410 bore – I went with the most common use but they are technically correct
    -one to two point out you could modify choke and load and make a shotgun more lethal at long range.  Yes but that is not the most common use of shotguns, not nearly.
    -one person correctly complained that I could have mentioned AR15s are illegal in Denver, which is different from the state law

    I make no claim to being a gun expert but I have consulted with some who are while working on this project. Even experts disagree, so again, if you have thoughts that will help all of us be smarter, I invite you to do so. 

    Best wishes-al

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

     chasmodai,  please feel free to be more specific about your concerns if you think it would help the conversation. If you think 30% of what I wrote is not accurate, that would be a problem, to say the least.

    Most of the disagreement I have gotten from readers both in this comment section and in the email I have gotten has to do with:

    -the definition of assault weapon (I stick to what states and congress said, which I find unsatisfying but that is what we have)
    -a few have gigged me for saying .410 gauge rather than .410 bore – I went with the most common use but they are technically correct
    -one to two point out you could modify choke and load and make a shotgun more lethal at long range.  Yes but that is not the most common use of shotguns, not nearly.
    -one person correctly complained that I could have mentioned AR15s are illegal in Denver, which is different from the state law

    I make no claim to being a gun expert but I have consulted with some who are while working on this project. Even experts disagree, so again, if you have thoughts that will help all of us be smarter, I invite you to do so. 

    Best wishes-al

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

     Robert, give us an example of what kind of legislation would fit your criteria.

  • Montana_Libertarian

     Robert -

    As you say “. . . some of us also want some sort of sensible, sane response after these annual mass murders, which are always done with a gun.”  Unfortunately, there is no sane, responsible response to a totally insane and irresponsible act.  The two concepts are totally dissonant.  Does anyone believe that more gun control is the answer?  Look at the booby traps this animal laid for those entering his apartment.  No guns involved, but lots of deadly incendiaries.  Timothy McVay had nothing but a rental truck, fertilizer, detonators and accelerants, but look at the damage he did.

    Also, there are several Supreme Court findings that establish there is no responsibility for the police, let alone elected officials, to ensure your public safety.  They can try if they wish (and they will promise you they’ll take care of you), but they have no obligation to actually succeed.  If you and yours want to go through life safely, you need insurance.  This can take the form of a policy on house fires, auto accidents, liability issues OR packing a weapon.  Because if a crazy person flips out while you and your loved ones are present, there is nobody from the government going to rescue you.  They can’t get there in time and if they did they’d spend precious minutes assessing the situation and establishing a perimeter.  You had better be prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones on your own.

    This defense of the second amendment doesn’t sound like “empty rhetoric” to me.  You have every right to go about unarmed in this world if you so choose.  But if you meet some vicious vermin like James Holmes, do not expect to survive unscathed, regardless of the laws you might get passed.  The James Holmeses of the world are (a) crazy as a rat in a drain pipe and (b) willing to go to any lengths to maim, cripple or kill innocents.  They have no regard for law or common decency. 

    While encounters with such individuals are extremely rare, so are house fires, home invasions, mistaken raids by ATF agents and the like.

    Eschew the means to defend your loved ones in the face of such uncommon incidents if you wish.  But do not interfere with my ability to respond appropriately.

    Those confronting this kind of evil have only two choices if they wander around unarmed: to run like a rabbit or die like a sheep.  I don’t care for that limited range of choices.  I have three choices: run like a rabbit, die like a sheep OR fight back. 

    In other words: when you come to take my guns, you’d better bring yours; you’ll be needing them.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    FIrst, if what you say is the true intent, I’d say having annual incidents of mass shootings aren’t exactly something “functioning as expected.”

    As always in these discussions, the pro-gun argument is one of “there is the right,” rather than looking at the other, numerous, sensible, sane alternatives. For example, another interpretation is that well-regulated means well-trained. Some of the recent mass murderers, aided by guns as always, would fail this test.

    Is there ever a time when a pro-gun person can move past restating the right to bear arms? Because we get that. But some of us also want some sort of sensible, sane response after these annual mass murders, which are always done with a gun.

    But moving past the empty rhetoric and repetitive claims of “Second Amendment,” the elected officials also have a responsibility to ensure the public safety of citizens. When they run for state and local offices on the pledge of “Second Amendment,” they should be compelled to present specifics. If they cannot do so, they are lying and not fit for office.

  • Montana_Libertarian

     Robert -

    The meaning of the phrase “well regulated” has changed since the Bill of Rights was written.

    This is from Constitution.org:

    “The phrase ‘well-regulated’ was in common use long before 1789,
    and remained so for a century thereafter. It referred to the property of
    something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was
    calibrated correctly, functioning as expected. Establishing government oversight
    of the people’s arms was not only not the intent in using the phrase in the 2nd
    amendment, it was precisely to render the government powerless to do so that the
    founders wrote it.”

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

     Steve, it is not a terrible question.  I don’t exactly have a satisfying answer as to why I own a gun and have owned many in my life. Some people collect spoons, plates, Christmas decorations. I like a well crafted firearm.  I have not shot a living thing since I was 14 when I killed a sparrow with a .22 rifle. I do like to occasionally go to the gun range with my teenaged son. To my mind, it is important for him to understand guns and gun safety. To understand the seriousness of being around weapons as opposed to the video game guns that only result in happy violence.   I ask the range officer to do the full safety instruction for him every time.

    I once traded a shotgun for a guitar, which, trust me, in my hands, is far more dangerous.

  • http://profiles.google.com/johnppoynter Jack Poynter

    Thanks for your derisive reply.  Speech is free in this country, but some is worth a lot more than others.

  • http://www.facebook.com/strunsky Steve Strunsky

    Mr. Tompkins: Thaks for that excellent primer. Did you ever shoot a man in Reno, just to watch him die?

  • http://www.facebook.com/strunsky Steve Strunsky

    Having been so thoroughly educated by Mr. Tompkins on the distinction between bullets and gun types, his excellent primer leaves me wanting to know two things: Why he owns a gun; and what/whom, if anything/anyone, he has used it for/on.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    However, there is a part that mentions “well-regulated.”

    This is the problem with any of these discussions. As soon as the topic of regulation comes up, the pro-gun people shift the argument to whether there is a right to have guns. Of course there is, but that is not the point. The point is to come up with sensible regulations, as the Second Amendment says, WORD FOR WORD. Read the amendment — “well-regulated.” That doesn’t mean no regulations. The NRA wants no regulations. The NRA is operating outside the bounds of the Second Amendment.

    “Well-regulated.” Start reading the amendent. Stop shifting the argument; there are already enough politicians doing that. They have failed. They should be called out. Any politician running at the state or local level who runs on a Second Amendment platform should be called out and asked to provide specifics.

    You can keep repeating D.C. vs. Heller until your fingers fall off, but it’s still the responsibility, per the Second Amendment, of politicians to regulate guns. “Well-regulated.” Nothing unclear about that.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Someone just in this thread implied it.

  • Montana_Libertarian

     Robert -

    None of the cops I know are paid anything by the NRA.  Their stance is based on life experiences dealing with criminals. 

    The cops I know generally pay dues to the NRA, and what they get in return is a monthly copy of a magazine, effective representation in Congress and a sticker for the rear window in their personal vehicle.  You used to get a ball cap when you renewed your membership, but now you have  to buy them.

    Just as a point of fact, the US Supreme Court ruled, in District of Columbia vs. Heller, that the individual right to keep and bear arms is unconnected to service in a militia.  In other words, the NRA has been correct all along in insisting the militia clause was not a condition limiting the exercise of the right.

    NON-DISCLAIMER: While I also pay dues to the NRA, I have never received so much as a nickle from them.

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

     Robert I do think Montana raises an interesting point.  I wish reporters who cover gun issues would go to a gun range and learn about such things.  In the same way environmental reporters should not be desk jockeys and medical reporters benefit from having expertise.

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

     Jim it is a common question that only produces bad unclear answers. But there is a legal answer.

    The various government agencies who have classified it this way point to its ability to take a 10+ magazine, bayonet mount, collapsed stock, flash suppressor and they point to its caliber which is not powerful enough to be a hunting weapon for big game and too big for small game. 

    But I would say handguns are used in far more assaults.  Why is a .22 or .38 pistol not an assault weapon?

    This debate is emotion not logic driven. Emotion produces bad policy usually.

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

     Robert, I don’t hear people say that in the gun circles I know.  They are interesting to shoot, they are fun to shoot on a range. But as a defense weapon,  a 9mm Glock would make a ton more sense.

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

     While there are many who would agree with you, it is true that the federal and many state and local governments legally classify it as an assault weapon. The feds put it in the assault weapon ban, which expired of course. The City of Denver also classifies it as an assault weapon.  However, the Defense Department considered an assault weapon to be, for example, the fully auto M-16.
    I think, Buckman, we suffer from a highly emotion-driven and unclear definition on this one. Show them a pink AR-15 and I wonder if they would call it an assault weapon.

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

     While there are many who would agree with you, it is true that the federal and many state and local governments legally classify it as an assault weapon. The feds put it in the assault weapon ban, which expired of course. The City of Denver also classifies it as an assault weapon.  However, the Defense Department considered an assault weapon to be, for example, the fully auto M-16.
    I think, Buckman, we suffer from a highly emotion-driven and unclear definition on this one. Show them a pink AR-15 and I wonder if they would call it an assault weapon.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    An agenda like people claiming they need assault weapons for personal defense? That kind of agenda?

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    How many of those police officers were paid by the NRA for their “stance”?

    Again, though, there is a difference between civilian gun rights — guaranteed in the Second Amendment — and having no regulations at all. Even the Second Amendment refers to a “well-regulated” militia.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Nice try, but there aren’t hundreds of murders per year in Kansas City. This is a common ploy of the people who twist the gun argument. First, they exaggerate claims of violence. Then they make an apples-to-oranges claim, like yours comparing an urban area to a rural state.

    It’s interesting how often these arguments stray from the facts so quickly. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    That argument is simplistic nonsense. Police don’t want people firing off assault weapons. Your family safety doesn’t depend on you owning an assault weapon, and if you really and truly think it does, then you are a huge part of the problem.

    The idea that people must own assault weapons to prevent a police state is insanity in its basest form. This should be obvious to anyone who is the slightest bit rational.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    First, I find it interesting that you have “libertarian” in your name, yet your argument would seem to rely upon the numerous, confusing, contradictory laws that each state has taken upon itself to pass. 

    The first part of my post is a quote from the article, so it’s not really “my” assertion. If you are commenting on the part about dingbats running for state and local offices and making a shallow, vague statement about supporting Second Amendment rights, then you are making my point for me. You, like so many others, have been fooled into believing that is actually an issue at the state and local level. No state or local official can do anything to repeal the Second Amendment. Running on that as a platform is an outright lie, and newspapers should have been calling that out every single time it happened.

    My point about the “well-regulated” statement is that many people think Second Amendment = no gun regulations at all, and that is simply not the case. Again, the debate has been fouled by nutcases and clueless people with agendas that have zilch to do with personal protection. Later in the article, there is a mention of police wanting regulations for assault weapons. This should happen without question. No one under any circumstances needs an assault weapon for personal protection, and the people who say they do are either the nutcases or the people who have an agenda that has nothing to do with personal protection.

    Again, it’s sadly entertaining that you cite a libertarian stance, but in doing so, you seemingly support the confusing thicket of laws that govern guns in this country. Also, every incident leads to more rules, more loss of liberty, and more agenda-driven politicians. You need to give some serious thought to what you are supporting, because you can’t truly be a libertarian and back the absolute, utter, corrupt mess we have now.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Faulty argument. People can and do write frequently about things they haven’t done. The point is to get the information and present it accurately.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SDL5ESON4NQVJTEAWF36SHRBIE Buckman

    The AR-15 is not an assault weapon because it does not have full auto capability. Assault weapons have full auto capability by definition. I wish people would understand that. If it does not have full auto capability it is NOT an assault weapon no matter how much it may resemble one.

  • Anonymous

    What makes an AR-15 an “assault rifle”?  It is an assault styled rifle.  Unless modified to fire in full auto it is just another semi-automatic rifle.  An M-1 carbine is a semi-auto rifle but the M-2 is a full auto weapon. 
     

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

    Response to a reader e-mail.
    A reader named Max sent me a private email that I wanted to comment on here. Max correctly points out that while AR-15s are legal in Colorado, there is an exception in the city of Denver. As the NRA pointed out in the quote I used, cities and states have done a lot more on this issue that the feds have in recent years. Generally the locals have adopted language similar to the “assault weapons” legislation that expired on the federal level. Still, their descriptions of what is an is not an assault weapon are vague and for gun backers, not at all logical.

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

     AZ Brian, you strike at one of the big frustrations about the gun conversation–the disagreements about what is an assault weapon.  The AR-15 was among the dozen and a half guns the federal government classified as an assault weapon when it banned them (then relaxed the ban) and many cities still include that classification today.  The bayonet mount, flash suppressor, high density magazine and folding stock were characteristics often cited. But even the Defense Department didn’t say that.  They defined assault weapons as full auto like the M-16.  So while I am not a fan of the “assault weapon” title being given to semi auto guns, it is what the legal system leaves us as a definition.

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

     Scott-you clearly know your stuff and yes a .410 is the exception to the shotgun gauge measurement.  Most technically it should be called a “bore” but among gun folks .410 gauge is by far the most common phrase used.  http://www.chuckhawks.com/410bore.htm

  • Han Solo

    Nope.  Journalists are strictly political tools.  They are ONLY in public to push further the goals of their political party.  They don’t need to know ANY of this stuff, it would just get in the way of their agenda.

  • Anonymous

    You may want to educate yourself on what is and isn’t an “assault rifle.” An AR-15 is NOT an assault rifle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yATeti5GmI8&feature=player_embedded

  • http://profiles.google.com/johnppoynter Jack Poynter

    I’m from Georgia, originally, now living just outside Kansas City across the border in Kansas.  I don’t think anyone thinks the south is strong on gun control, and there are good historical and cultural reasons for the south to favor gun ownership.  Except maybe Atlanta, but Atlanta wasn’t considered part of Georgia even when I was a child.  Kansas City in particular, and Kansas in general, is an entirely different kettle of fish.  The city government of KC is very strong on gun control, and yet we have hundreds of murders every year in KC.  Kansas is also strong on gun control, and yet has very few murders overall.  The difference is certainly cultural; I’ll leave it to others to analyze the cultures involved.

  • Scott Lawson

    Thank you for posting this information for journalists who are not familiar with firearms. Readers who catch mistakes in basic information quickly lose trust in the rest of a story. I should, though, point out that .410 is, in fact, a caliber rather than a gauge. 

  • Montana_Libertarian

    Good basic information, but reporters who’ve never touched a gun will still inevitably screw up their stories.

  • Montana_Libertarian

     Just a minor point – I worked investigating sex crimes against children for a few decades. 

    Most street cops, at least those west of the Mississippi,  are strong supporters of civilian gun rights.  Where the whining comes from are associations of Chiefs of Police and the like: these guys are administrators, bureaucrats and lackeys for city councils and mayors. They have gone up the ladder to the point where most of them are no longer can be regarded as real cops.

  • Montana_Libertarian

     Actually, Robert, I need to comment on two of your assertions.

    City councils and the like have considerable, if unwarranted and unconstitutional, sway over gun rights.  Consider what Chicago is now involved in: city government there has lost a series of lawsuits to the NRA since SCOTUS clarified that the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right. Chicago’s aldermen are trying desperately to find some phrasing of statute that will allow them to keep their de facto banning of handguns on the books while ducking ruinous legal costs.

    The same SCOTUS decision made clear that the right to keep and bear arms is not conditional on militia membership.

  • Anne Anderson

    Journalists need to report intelligently about the topics they cover, and you have given them an excellent resource when it comes to guns. Kudos.

  • Anne Anderson

    Journalists need to report intelligently about the topics they cover, and you have given them an excellent resource when it comes to guns. Kudos.

  • http://profiles.google.com/johnppoynter Jack Poynter

    I apologize if this msg appears twice; I first used the email reply option, but it hasn’t appeared yet.  Re your msg:  In my opinion, the police want to be the only ones to have guns; it makes the bad guys easy to identify, and it protects the policeman.    I’m all for the police being safe, but not at the expense of my family’s safety.  The only way the police can make us all safe all the time is for there to be many more police than we can afford, both from a financial aspect, and from a political aspect.  This is obvious to me, but others will no doubt differ.

  • http://profiles.google.com/johnppoynter Jack Poynter

    I apologize if this msg appears twice; I first used the email reply option, but it hasn’t appeared yet.  Re your msg:  In my opinion, the police want to be the only ones to have guns; it makes the bad guys easy to identify, and it protects the policeman.    I’m all for the police being safe, but not at the expense of my family’s safety.  The only way the police can make us all safe all the time is for there to be many more police than we can afford, both from a financial aspect, and from a political aspect.  This is obvious to me, but others will no doubt differ.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    “Police often speak of the need to regulate assault weapons because they say they face an increasing threat from more powerful weapons.”

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    “As the National Rifle Association points out, “While federal legislation receives the most media attention, state legislatures and city councils make many more decisions regarding [the] right to own and carry firearms.””
    And yet many people running for state and local offices run under the banner of the Second Amendment — a federal right. (That right also has a clause about a “well-regulated” militia — somehow that gets lost in the shuffle.)

    Newspapers MUST start calling out people who run on platforms that have nothing to do with their office. If someone is saying he supports gun rights, there needs to be a specific parameter to that statement.

  • http://twitter.com/atompkins al tompkins

    Here is an example of the errors I am talking about. The writer uses A-15 and fully auto interchangeably.
    http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_21122910/ar-15-assault-rifle-used-theater-shooting-against

  • http://profiles.google.com/johnppoynter Jack Poynter

    Nice article.  I doubt many of the pro-gun-control people will read it, but hopefully some will.  I’m not related, by the way.