It would be funny if it weren’t so sad, but a lot of people who offer up opinions on gun control–strong opinions, even–straight out don’t know what they’re talking about. Rather than admit that they’re ignorant on details about firearms to preface their opinions, they spread misinformation as authoritatively as they can manage.
And for some people with a big audience that’s being misinformed.
One would love it if people verified what they heard, but if someone is famous enough and has a “news” platform, folks take it at face value.
That’s a shame, because some of these claims are just stupid.
Over at Turning Point USA, they sought to address some of this misinformation.
First and foremost, much of the discourse revolved around the AR-15, a common target for gun control advocates. The AR-15, which has long been used as the “boogeyman” for politicians who want to ban guns, became the center of attention once again after the horrific events in Maine unfolded. Despite activists jumping to blame the well-known rifle, the shooter in this instance did not use an AR-15 to carry out his attack. This did not stop outlets like CNN, however, from falsely claiming the gun was used.
“Investigators searched [the killer’s] car yesterday and recovered a .308-caliber AR-15 rifle,” CNN reported. This statement, however, is factually correct — the AR-15 is not chambered in .308.
Joy Behar, a co-host on “The View,” also contributed to the misinformation campaign by making inaccurate claims about AR-15s. She suggested that shooting a deer with an AR-15 would render it inedible because “you basically demolish the animal.” In reality, AR-15s are not typically used for hunting large game like deer due to their chambering in .223/5.56, which lacks the stopping power required for ethical big game hunting. In layman’s terms: the caliber is commonly considered too small to humanely hunt large animals.
Moreover, while some try to demonize the .308 around, it actually is a common hunting round that’s been favored for larger game for decades.
That includes deer, and it doesn’t demolish the animal.
It’s amazing to me how many people seem to think an AR-15 is essentially a rocket launcher or something that just obliterates whatever it hits. It’s not.
They also brought up this bit from Gretchen Carlson.
Ordinary people didn’t have AR-15s before 2004. They’re not some time-honored American tradition, they’re a recent mistake that we could fix and save thousands of lives in the process. https://t.co/IlJ4FuadBP
— Gretchen Carlson (@GretchenCarlson) October 30, 2023
That’s right, folks. If you had an AR-15 or similar rifle prior to 2004, you weren’t an ordinary person.
Of course, this is nonsense. These guys were common enough well before then. It wasn’t until Congress tried to ban them in 1994 that they became the most popular rifle model in the nation. For a full decade, AR-platform rifles were freely available, just without a feature or two so as to get around the assault weapon ban.
Both Behar and Carlson have large enough platforms that many people simply accept what they say as authoritative. That’s especially an issue with Carlson as she’s an actual journalist. Behar shouldn’t be taken seriously on anything she says, yet people still do.
And because neither of these people–and they were far from the only offenders, it should be noted–actually have a clue what they’re talking about.
But misinformation flies quickly in the wake of a mass shooting, in part because it helps conform to the preconceived notion that guns like AR-15s shouldn’t be in civilian hands. Never mind that the AR-15 isn’t fielded by any military on the planet, what matters to those folks is that the AR-15 is a Murder Death Kill machine that’s too dangerous for you and me.
Frankly, the lies and errors are just too good to factcheck, which is why you never see them being pushed by places like Facebook.
Misinformation, however, needs to be busted and busted often. Just because someone’s famous, they shouldn’t get a pass for spreading falsehoods in an effort to justify restricting our rights.