Speaking Truth to Their Lies: Dissecting The Latest NY Times Rant Against Guns

The most infamous foreign-controlled newspaper in the United States, the New York Times, has produced yet another ignorance-filled rant again the natural right of human beings to bear arms for their defense.

Let’s get right into it.

As each new mass shooting leaves dead and wounded Americans strewn like casualties on a battlefield — a butcher’s toll that has now intersected with the international terrorist threat — the gun industry’s culpability amounts to war profiteering through the reckless sale of military weapons tailored for the civilian homefront.

The editors of the Times are, from a completely objective viewpoint, historically illiterate.

From before this nation’s founding, citizens have had firearms that were technologically superior to those of the military in terms of quality, range, rate of fire, lethality, and accuracy.

The “long rifles” of colonial times had more than twice the range of contemporary muskets. On the frontier, citizens had Spencer, Henry, and Winchester repeating rifles when the Army was still carrying single-shot Springfields.  When Teddy Roosevelt took the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry—a privately raised militia given official sanction—to Cuba, he carried with him a pair of M1895 Colt-Browning machine guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition purchased on Madison Avenue by several wealthy New York socialites who were on their way to tea.

Citizens have had commercial access to semi-automatic (which means self-loading, one shot per trigger pull) firearms since the early 1900s… over 100 years ago.

The AR-15 that the Times despises has been sold to civilians for 52 years, and was a sportsman’s rifle for six years before its selective-fire military cousin, the M16A1, was adopted as the general issue rifle of the U.S. Army.


From shotguns to handguns to rifles, 300+ years of American history make it clear that civilian firearms have been re-purposed to military uses, not the other way around. I have contacts at the National Firearms Museum, and could likely arrange a tour to help cure the Times editors of their ignorance.

I promise… education doesn’t hurt.

Across recent decades, gun manufacturers, facing a decline in general gun ownership as demographics shifted and sports hunting faded, have cynically created a domestic market for barely altered rifles and pistols developed for the military. These are weapons designed for the rapid spray-shooting of multiple enemy soldiers in wartime, not homeland civilians living in peace.

Let’s dispense with the progressive self-delusion that gun ownership is declining, a “fact” that is self-evidently false. The source for this absurd claim are a handful of surveys, while simultaneously dismissing other surveys that directly contradict those they favor, and the tons of widely available and irrefutable facts.

Gun ownership is not only increasing, but it is increasing dramatically across all social boundaries. Young, urban and female shooters are the fastest areas of growth as “Gun Culture 2.0.” We’ve done and entire series of posts debunking this idiocy. We suggest, once again, that the Times editors remove themselves from their ideological fantasyland and learn to deal with facts instead of dogma.

Their ignorant hyperbole about firearms has previously be dealt with, so let us move on to their next editorial excretion.

Yet the latest casualty count of 14 killed and 21 wounded last week in the gun carnage at San Bernardino, Calif., is another horrendous confirmation of how these easily available weapons — marketed as macho tools for a kind of paramilitary self-defense — are being used again and again for rapid-fire attacks on innocent people. The fact that the California killers were self-proclaimed Islamic warriors makes the ease with which their arsenal was assembled all the more outrageous.

Many firearms experts—people whom the editors of the Times would not know—regard the AR-15 so reviled by the Times as the premier self-defense firearm for home use. It gives the homeowner a firearm that is easier to aim accurately in high-stress situations than a pistol, with less recoil than a shotgun, with a higher ammunition capacity to handle multiple threats, while firing (in its most popular 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington chambering) a 55-grain bullet that simultaneously has greater effect on bad guys than common pistol rounds (meaning that home owners will not need to fire as many shots), while also being designed to fracture at the cannelure, so that it penetrates the same or less than buckshot and many pistol bullets.  Put bluntly, it is an excellent tool for self-defense, and as FBI data shows us, they are used in a decreasing number of violent crimes ever year, even as the number of AR-15s in the citizenry expands by several thousand every singe day, with more than 8 million currently in the hands of American citizens.

The number of all rifles used in homicides is declining every year, and the semi-automatic rifles hated by the times are just a subset of that overall total.
The number of all rifles used in homicides is declining every year, and the semi-automatic rifles hated by the times are just a subset of that overall total.

While lurid-looking rifles may cause the most shock in the public aftermath, the industry has also been selling pliant statehouse politicians on the legalization of “concealed carry” handgun licenses. These are spreading powerful semiautomatic pistols with the firepower of rifles through the civilian population, from bar rooms to college campuses, even as evidence mounts that they cause more harm to innocent victims than to fantasized malefactors.

This is just fantasy. There’s no way to debunk this pure, fact-free expression of abject hysteria.

Assault weapons were banned for 10 years until Congress, in bipartisan obeisance to the gun lobby, let the law lapse in 2004. As a result, gun manufacturers have been allowed to sell all manner of war weaponry to civilians, including the super destructive .50-caliber sniper rifle, which an 18-year-old can easily buy in many places even where he or she must be 21 to buy a simpler handgun. Why any civilian would need this weapon, designed to pierce concrete bunkers and armored personnel carriers, is a question that should be put to the gun makers who profit from them and the politicians who shamelessly do their bidding.

The 1994 bill was a ban on several firearms by name, and on cosmetic features on others. It has as much effect on crime as banning a given shade of lipstick (to put it in terms Times editors might understand).

It had no practical effect on the sale, manufacture, or possession of common firearms. 

Here are a pair of Colt Ar-15s. Can you spot the difference?

A pair of Colt AR-15s, from AR-15.com.
A pair of Colt AR-15s, from AR-15.com.

Both rifles fire the exact same ammunition, from the exact same magazines, at the exact same rate of fire, with the same accuracy and range. The only difference between the top gun (a Colt MT6400 manufactured and sold throughout the ten-year life of the so-called “ban”) and the bottom rifle (a Colt SP 6920 sold on both sides of the “ban”) is that the bottom has a muzzle device called a flash hider, and a bayonet lug, a tiny nub of metal extending from the bottom of the front sight post. Both guns function exactly the same.

Likewise, standard-capacity magazines were readily and legally available from retailers throughout the life of the so-called “ban.” The “ban” existed on paper and in fantasy, not in real life.

The Times is correct that an 18-year old can indeed buy a .50 BMG rifle… if they have a massive budget. A “cheap” AR-50A1 that is more than 5 feet long and weighs in excess of 35 pounds when equipped with a scope and bipod is $3,800… and that doesn’t include sights or a bipod, which will set you back several thousand dollars more.

Profile shot of a bolt-action .50 BMG rifle, from AccurateShooter.com.
Profile of a bolt-action .50 BMG rifle, from AccurateShooter.com.

A “ready to shoot” Barrett .50 BMG-chambered rifle favored in video games can be yours for a mere $18,000, after a mandatory FBI NICS background check which is the law for all new firearms, regardless of where they’re sold.

By the way, .50 BMG rifles have never been used to commit a homicide in the entire history of the United States.

.50 BMG rifles cannot pierce concrete bunkers nor penetrate military armored vehicles, which is why “anti-tank rifles” ceased to be during the opening days of the Second World War.

The Times is, one again, simply making things up as they go along.

The industry’s sales pitches in magazines and on the Internet play off popular fears generated by the very shooting sprees made possible by their assault weapons, and use the imagery of war in general and the “war on terror” in particular.

“As Close as You Can Get Without Enlisting,” reads one tag line under a photo of a poised shooter aiming the civilian version of a military rifle. An ad for a semiautomatic shotgun promises security whether in “Iraq, Afghanistan, Your Livingroom.” An ad for an armor-piercing handgun shows an embattled infantryman above the line: “Built For Them … Built For You.” A manufacturer tailors the pitch to women by showing nail-polished hands aiming a pistol above the heading: “Ladies’ Home Companion.”

The Times relies upon mis-characterized descriptions provided by the Violence Policy Center, a radical propaganda organization dedicated to the disarmament of the American people. the VPC refers to American citizens who believe in the purpose of the Second Amendment as “insurrectionists” and routinely and publicly hopes for government violence against citizens who own guns.  This violence-loving organization encourages the practice of SWATting, hoping to goad police into shooting innocent American citizens lawfully carrying guns.

There is something to be said about the company you keep…

Congress has shamelessly become the last to admit what the public senses with each new shooting spree: The nation needs restoration of a federal assault weapons ban — this time minus the loopholes the gun industry exploited to boost sales.

After the schoolhouse massacre three years ago in Newtown, Conn., a state commission focused on the Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle the shooter used to slay 20 children and six workers in barely five minutes with 154 rounds. It found “no legitimate place in the civilian population” for such a war rifle and its 30-round magazines. The same style weapon, routinely marketed as a “sporting rifle,” was used in the San Bernardino rampage. Something like it is likely to be in the hands of the next mass shooter, whatever the killer’s obsession.

The “state commission” formed in Connecticut after Sandy Hook was tellingly composed of only anti-gun Democrats. It excluded actual firearms experts, even though the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearms industry trade association, is based in Newtown. It is hardly surprising that a hand-selected band of political cronies would reach pre-determined findings when they excluded actual experts and shaped a pure propaganda report to confirm their own biases.

There are eight million AR-15s in the United States, and thousands more are sold every day. They are the “modern musket” preferred by the American people, and are the single most popular centerfire rifle sold year in and year out in the United States. Despite their popularity, they are so rarely used in crime that the Federal Bureau of Investigation doesn’t track them in their own category. They are lumped under other rifles, which, when added together, accounted for just 254 criminal homicides last year in a nation with a current population of 326,283,000, and counting.

We do not have a gun problem in the United States. All criminal violence, including violence with firearms, is on a dramatic multi-decade decline of 49-percent since 1993.

What we have is a lying media problem, and the editorial board of the New York Times is one of the main purveyors of these lies.