Spoiler Alert: the criminally insane are dangerous and we the people need the means to protect ourselves in public places. Arguing about murder weapons is a dangerous distraction.
The first lesson is that American trauma care is nothing short of amazing and saved the lives of six victims. The rapid availability of treatment were crucial to their survival.
Second, the New York SAFE Act, which limited magazine capacity and common features on common rifles, was completely ineffective. It focused on cosmetic features which frighten liberals who have little to no understanding of weapons. The killer had gasoline with him. If he had started a fire in a crowded hospital with bed ridden patients it would have been much worse.
Third, the provisions of the SAFE Act which gun owners support, i.e. keeping guns away from the criminally insane, also failed. SAFE requires mental health workers to report to the authorities any patient who was likely to be dangerous. While this provision prohibits about 34,500 people in New York from owning guns, it did not stop the killer who openly threatened to murder his co-workers from buying a rifle in New York.
Fourth, the New York City gun requires 100% registration and licensing of all forearms. These laws absolutely prohibit possession of registered guns out side of the owners home or an approved gun range. This makes the entire city a gun free zone and has been highly successful in disarming the law abiding. Criminals? Not so much. The killer was certainly in violation of this law. We don’t know if he had the required New York City permits to own a rifle.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reports that the weapon was purchased legally and complied with Federal and New York State laws. He passed a required federal background check. According to the ATFE website, current Federal law prohibits nine categories of people prohibited from owning firearms:
The Gun Control Act (GCA), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), makes it unlawful for certain categories of persons to ship, transport, receive, or possess firearms or ammunition, to include any person:
- convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
- who is a fugitive from justice;
- who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 802);
- who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;
- who is an illegal alien;
- who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
- who has renounced his or her United States citizenship;
- who is subject to a court order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of the intimate partner; or
- who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
The GCA at 18 U.S.C. § 992(n) also makes it unlawful for any person under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year to ship, transport, or receive firearms or ammunition.
One of the complaints from the gun community is that when prohibited persons attempt to purchase guns, the ATFE is instantly aware of it and the crime is almost never prosecuted.
The Anderson Manufacturing model AM-15 rifle used by the killer, fully complied with the SAFE act restrictions. It fires a .223 caliber round. This means the bullet is .223 inches in diameter. This round is considered anemic by hunters and in most states, it is illegal to hunt deer or large game with .223. This is borne out by the fact that six of seven people shot at very close range survived. A box cutter would have been more effective.
The killer had three 10 round magazines. His ability to kill was unaffected by magazine restrictions, he needed less than ten rounds to shoot seven people and kill himself.
In the current environment, I choose to protect my family with legal firearms, in public and at home. My guns are no threat to the innocent and law abiding. There is a bubble of safety around me where violence is impossible to perpetrate without an immediate ballistic response.
We should rid our laws of useless feel good “assault weapon” restrictions and magazine capacity limits. Let us focus on identifying the violent criminally insane and keep them from harming the innocent with any weapons. Anybody want to argue with that?
Featured photo courtesy of Twitter