[Ed: This was first published on GOPUSA July 21. Slightly edited for DRGO.]
A concerned citizen in South Carolina brought to my attention that Lee Turner, a former Democrat congressional candidate for South Carolina District 04, is claiming as truth the following statistics and justification for a renewed “Assault Weapons Ban.”
“After Bill Clinton banned assault weapons in 1994, mass shooting deaths dropped by 43%. After the Republican Congress let the ban expire in 2004, they shot up by 239%. We don’t need to arm teachers; we need to BAN assault weapons again!”
Turner’s statistics are concocted and categorically, bold-faced lies. No matter how she wants to torture the statistics, they will not confess to such a pack of lies! The assault weapons ban of 1994 did not reduce crime at all! Nor is it true that when the ban expired in 2004, crime shot up a single percent!
To begin with, the appellation “assault weapons” is a misnomer, a disparaging political term, not a proper military term. It was invented by Josh Sugarmann, a media-lionized gun control advocate, as a political term to demonize semiautomatic firearms that frequently have a military appearance but are not strictly speaking military weapons.
The term was taken up by the Democrats in Congress in anticipation of the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 that was enacted into law and remained in effect until it lapsed in 2004. It was shown that the ban did not have an effect on crime or in preventing mass shooting incidents.
“Assault weapons” in self-defense and in saving lives of good citizens
The use of so-called assault weapons for self and family protection has proven to be life-saving. In November 1990, Brian Rigsby and his friend Tom Styer left their home in Atlanta, Georgia, to go camping in the Oconee National Forest, not too far from where I live in rural Georgia. Suddenly, they were assaulted by two drug-crazed crack-heads, who fired at them with 12-gauge shotguns, seriously wounding Styer. Rigsby returned fire with a Ruger Mini-14, a semiautomatic weapon frequently characterized as an assault weapon. It saved his life and that of his wounded friend.
In January 1994, Travis Dean Neel was cited as “Citizen of the Year” in Houston, Texas. He had saved a police officer and helped the police arrest three dangerous criminals in a street shooting, gunfight incident. Neel had helped stop the potential mass shooters using, once again, a semiautomatic, so-called assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine. He provided cover for the police who otherwise were outgunned and would have been killed. What would have happened if these citizens had not had the “assault weapons” that saved their lives from these mentally-deranged, mass shooters or outright criminals?
“Assault weapons” during national catastrophes and civil unrest
In 1989 after Hurricane Hugo assailed the city of Charleston and surrounding coastal areas in South Carolina, Governor Carroll Campbell Jr. issued “shoot on sight” orders to the South Carolina National Guard. The authorities, in some cases assisted by armed citizens, deterred some of the thugs from looting.
Likewise, in 1992, during the catastrophic Hurricane Andrew that devastated Florida, looting was limited because law-abiding citizens protected residential property by patrolling with high-capacity magazine “assault weapons”—just as Korean shopkeepers in Los Angeles had done earlier in the Spring of that same year, when they protected their commercial property from the usual parasitic thugs roaming the land and capitalizing on the suffering of others.
The myth that 16 percent of homicides are perpetrated with the dangerous “assault weapons” is a lie. The fact is that less than 6 percent of criminals use any firearm that can even be mischaracterized as an “assault weapon.” Criminals are five times more likely to use a handgun in crime than an “assault weapon.”
Consider that when the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban was in full force, it failed to prevent the infamous 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colorado, or any other mass shootings that occurred during that time.
This is because gun control laws only affect law-abiding citizens, and not criminals, psychopaths, or deranged individuals who are in need of committal to prisons or to mental health care facilities.
Authoritarian politicians along with their allies in the mainstream media have demonized semiautomatic rifles calling them “assault weapons” and gathered mendacious statistics that their anti-gun activist associates promulgate to deceive the public. But, as we have seen, “assault weapons” can be very useful for self, family, and property protection, not only during natural disasters and civil unrest but also when the police cannot (or are not willing to) protect us—as during the 1992 Los Angeles riots or during George Floyd looting and burnings in 2020—or when assaults or shootings involve multiple assailants.
Unfortunately, progressives do not respond to facts, much less to logic or reason. They respond with faked outrage or indignation; and when all else fails, then outright obscenities!
So it is no wonder that when Mrs. Turner’s statistics were contradicted and her socialistic policies were criticized as not being good for South Carolina, she wrote in big letters on her Facebook page (June 24, 2022): “Today, I wanna tell a bunch of people to just F*CK OFF! You feeling’ me?”
And that is, my friends, what we have to contend with in the battle to preserve our Constitutional Republic and restore freedom in the 2024 midterm elections and beyond!
— Miguel A. Faria, Jr, MD is a retired professor of Neurosurgery and Medical History at Mercer University School of Medicine. He founded Hacienda Publishing and is Associate Editor in Chief in Neuropsychiatry and World Affairs of Surgical Neurology International. He served on the CDC’s Injury Research Grant Review Committee. His latest book is America, Guns, and Freedom: A Journey Into Politics and the Public Health & Gun Control Movements (2019).