USA TODAY Calls Shotgun Less Lethal Than an AR15
In an article titled initially “Guns used in Texas killings were less lethal than in other mass shootings,” USA TODAY meanders from error to error in describing rifles, pistols, and shotguns.
Though the title has since been changed to “Texas shooter used shotgun, pistol in deadly assault,” the rest of the errors in the article remain unchanged. Let’s take a look at some of the worst, including some baseless speculation.
First, the article claims the killer “may” have been slowed in his rampage because shotguns and revolvers “have a slower firing rate than firearms used in other recent mass shootings, such as the AR15.”
The killer “may” have also been slowed due to the immediate police response. He “may” have had his own sick goals that we will never fully understand, even though he’s still alive. He “may” have been limited in his ability to kill as many people as possible, assuming that was his goal, because of issues which shouldn’t be discussed publicly. He “may” have intentionally left students alive – in fact, we know he did, with the goal of “telling a story” that absolutely no one should be interested in hearing. He “may” have been slowed by the fact that he was only targeting students he didn’t like for his own sick reasons – something USA Today has reported on elsewhere.
In any case, this is rampant speculation which nevertheless fits the narrative of anti-gun folks in the media: that if only gun control regulations were enacted which would limit the ability of citizens to purchase what they have loosely clumped together as “assault weapons,” casualties would be reduced in future mass shootings.
Those of us who work with, own, carry, use, and spend time around firearms every day know just how lethal each and every firearm can be. When we advocate against an “assault weapons ban,” it’s because we know such legislation would be pointless in terms of saving large numbers of lives.
But USA TODAY didn’t stop there.
They claimed that “high-powered rifles such as the AR-15 can be fired more than twice as fast as most handguns.” This is, of course, utter nonsense.
From a factual standpoint, USA Today had it completely backwards: the cyclic rate of a pistol is nearly double that of an AR15, with a Glock 18 on full auto firing at 1,200 to 1,300 rounds per minute and an M4A1 on full auto firing at approximately 700 to 800 rounds per minute. Therefore, assuming you could pull the trigger fast enough, you could fire “most pistols” almost twice as fast as you could fire an AR15.
USA TODAY does acknowledge that “any firearm can be deadly, especially a shotgun at close range” as if to provide some sort of factual counterpoint to their prior misinformation, but they essentially ignore just how deadly a shotgun can be. Shot for shot, a 12 gauge shotgun firing slugs or buckshot will cause far more damage than any 5.56mm round. Indeed, it is the lower-powered – not high-powered – nature of the 5.56mm rifle that leads to it being used by law enforcement and military over the 12 gauge shotgun. Recoil when firing a shotgun is often quite excessive.
Gun owners are now being accused of “gunsplaining” when we quibble over facts such as these, but the truth is that there is a war for the mind of the American people being waged. Complaints of “gunsplaining” are not only just excuses for lack of knowledge regarding the topic, but almost a proud statement that one does not need to understand gun technical terms and facts – all that is needed is a desire to “do something.” Someone has to know the details, and if USA TODAY had their way, it wouldn’t be their readers. If I’ve learned anything from USA TODAY, it’s that any keyboard can be inaccurate, especially one used at close range to a deadline.
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