THE PARKLAND SHOOTING UPSET US ALL, BUT PLEASE KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT GUNS BEFORE TALKING ABOUT GUN POLICY

What happened in Parkland, Florida yesterday was sickening.

As a father, I can’t tell you how much it breaks my heart to see 17 dead children, whose lives ended seemingly before they even really got started.

But as much as I am disgusted with what happened in Parkland, I also recognize that simply yelling that we “MUST NOT ACCEPT THIS!” or that we need to do “SOMETHING!” is not productive.

In fact, quite the opposite.

I am truly amazed at how the people who know the least about guns seem to always be the ones leading the charge on the discussion regarding “What needs to be done” in the wake of these shootings.

Full disclosure: I am not a firearms expert. I have fired rifles before and I probably know more than the average person, but I certainly would never claim to be somebody who could teach a course on the subject.

Yet somehow, I still my think level of knowledge about firearms is superior to the vast majority of those with the loudest megaphones at this moment.

Case in point: Here was Hillary Clinton following the Las Vegas shooting, “The crowd fled at the sound of gunshots. Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get.”

We hear this all the time, usually from people whose knowledge of guns comes from watching television and movies. A “silencer,” or “suppressor” DOES NOT actually make the gunshot silent. What it does is make the shot less loud so as to protect the shooter from permanent hearing loss. But even with the suppressor, the shots still sound roughly as loud as a Jet engine, which as I’m sure you’re aware, is still pretty damn loud.

Here was MTV’s Ana Marie Cox following that same shooting, “Man, imagine if the right believed in unfettered access to the ballot box as much as they believed in the right to own guns.”

This tired old canard of “hey, buying a gun is easier than _____” is so played out that it should be wearing bell-bottoms. For starters, you need to show a photo ID to buy a gun — something you do not have to do when voting in many states.

Speaking of which…..

Machine guns — automatic weapons — are illegal. Have been for decades.

So, anybody who tells you it is easy to legally purchase an automatic weapon is either a liar or very badly mistaken.

And while we are on the subject of “liar or badly mistaken,” we hear a lot about assault rifles, which to most people really just means a semi-automatic weapon that looks scary, like an AR-15.

Let’s clear this one up: Any rifle that is not a machine gun is a semi-automatic rifle.

An automatic weapon can fire multiple bullets per push of the trigger. This is what machine guns do. A semi-automatic weapon fires one bullet per push of the trigger. I’ve actually heard some use the phrase “semi-automatic machine gun,” which is a real treat, because there is no such thing.

Point being, when you say you want to ban “semi-automatic” assault rifles, you are — knowingly or unknowingly — calling for a blanket gun ban.

I could go on with these gun fallacies.

Seriously, I really could. There is enough material to write a whole book on this stuff.

But I think you get the point.

Unfortunately, the media plays into this by constantly promoting the views of those on both sides who don’t really know what they are talking about. If we are ever going to make progress on this issue, that has to stop.

Mass shootings like these are a tragedy of epic proportions and I’m not going to act like I have all the answers. But I do know that just pounding your fist on the table and recycling talking points that either are not true or wouldn’t have done anything to help, serves no positive purpose.

My suggestion to those who are so dug into their positions but don’t actually know anything: read a book and educate yourself. Because no matter what side of the debate you are on, you are not doing anybody any good if you can’t at least intelligently defend your point of view.

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