By Roger J. Katz, Attorney at Law and Stephen L. D'Andrilli
New York, NY -(Ammoland.com)- Antigun groups must be throwing a temper tantrum. When the Santa Fe High School shooter committed his horrific act of murder and mayhem in May 2018, he had the temerity to use the wrong weapons.
Antigun groups fully expected the shooter to destroy innocent lives utilizing a semiautomatic long gun, a firearm often referred to by the politically charged but specious expression, ‘assault weapon’, thereby keeping with the antigun zealots’ running narrative.
But the shooter killed or seriously injured innocent students, teachers, and a police officer, with a shotgun and with a revolver, not an “assault weapon.”
Moreover, the weapons utilized by the shooter did not belong to the shooter and the shooter did not procure them from a gun dealer, through the internet, or through a third party at a gun show. No! The weapons belonged to the shooter’s father who had failed to properly secure his weapons from his severely mentally disturbed son. The failure of parental responsibility, here, is, in the first instance, where blame for the tragedy rests and where blame should properly be placed.
What Weapons, Specifically, Did The Shooter Use In Committing His Horrific Act?
Specifically, the shooter utilized his father’s Remington model 870 pump action, manually operated shotgun, along with his father’s .38 caliber revolver to maim, injure, and kill innocent people. The police have not, apparently, identified, or otherwise officially released the specific make and model number of the .38 caliber handgun utilized by the gunman as of the posting of this article. No matter. It is clear enough that the weapons the gunman utilized were not the typical firearms of choice for committing murder and mayhem—semiautomatic long guns—as antigun proponents and their echo chamber, the mainstream media, constantly and erroneously, maintain. But, that fact didn’t stop some individuals from surmising, without bothering to first verify, the nature of the weapons used.
Apparently, in an attempt to get ahead of the curve, John Cornyn (Senator-Texas) said, as reported by the Houston Public Media Service, that, “. . . the 17-year-old student accused in a fatal shooting at a Texas high school used a semi-automatic pistol and a sawed-off shotgun to kill 10 people. The Republican from Texas says investigators are still determining whether the shotgun’s shortened barrel is legal.”
Well, contrary to Senator Cornyn's conjecture, which he asserted as fact, the American public quickly learned that the shooter did not use a semiautomatic handgun, after all, and that the shooter likely did not use a so-called “sawed off shotgun” either. The killer used a common revolver handgun as mentioned above. And, as for Cornyn’s ludicrous, off the cuff remark about the shooter having used a“sawed off shotgun,” if that were the case, how long would it take “investigators” to determine whether the “shortened barrel is legal?”
It is, of course, possible, but highly, and presumptively, unlikely, that the Remington Model 870 pump action manually operated shotgun the shooter’s father owned had a barrel length less than the limit prescribed by the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934. A cursory check of the Remington website does provide the prospective buyer of the popular Model 870 pump action shotgun with in depth data about the shotgun along with substantial graphics. The Model 870 shotgun is available in a myriad of configurations and in several barrel lengths, from 14 inches to 30 inches, to meet a user's specific needs, whether employing the weapon for sporting uses or for self-defense.
Did The Santa Fe Texas High School Shooter Use A Shotgun With A Barrel Length Less Than 18 Inches—A So-Called “Sawed Off Shotgun”—As U.S. Senator, John Cornyn, Maintains?
If, in fact, the shooter’s father’s Remington Model 870 had a barrel length of less than 18 inches, then ATF approval for a shotgun with a barrel length of 18 inches, or less, would be necessary. As pointed out by the ATF, in the atf.gov website;
“A shotgun subject to the NFA [National Firearms Act] has a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length. The ATF procedure for measuring barrel length is to measure from the closed bolt (or breech-face) to the furthermost end of the barrel or permanently attached muzzle device.”
A Quandary For Antigun Proponents
Unlike sophisticated semiautomatic weaponry, manually operated pump action shotguns and manually operated revolver handguns have been around for a long time, approximately 130 years. The pertinent question is this: how have antigun proponents and the mainstream media spun the narrative in the call for further gun restrictions since the Santa Fe, Texas school shooter, here, didn’t use what antigun proponents, along with the mainstream media, often refer— contemptuously, pejoratively, slyly, and clearly erroneously—to as an “assault weapon?”
It should be abundantly clear to anyone with half a brain, that, for your average, garden variety killer, who desires to create carnage,any weapon at hand will do. Unless a killer happens to be a psychopathic “professional” assassin or a psychotic member of a drug cartel, either of whom would likely have the contacts, wherewithal, and grim determination to acquire access to specialized, unlawfulweapons, the kind of weapons that fall in a domain well beyond those weapons commonly available to the law-abiding American public—an American public that generally acquires firearms through a licensed firearms dealer—a killer will use whatever weapon he is able to get his hands on. That was certainly the case with the Santa Fe Texas shooter. But, given the circumstances of that recent school shooting incident in Santa Fe, Texas, antigun proponents are in a quandary as to whether to stay with their present running narrative—that non-semiautomatic weapons only are okay for law-abiding, rational, average American citizens to possess because semiautomatic weapons and full auto or selective fire weapons are weapons of war that have no place in a modern civilized society—or to sharply alter the current narrative, admitting to the American public, at long last, what it is they are truly after: a ban on civilian ownership and possession of all firearms—to turn the entire Nation into a “Gun-free Zone.”
Clearly, antigun proponents’ calls for increasingly tight restrictions on civilian access to so-called assault weapons—meaning, of late, virtually all, not merely some, semiautomatic weapons—suggests a marked reluctance on their part to show their hand too soon, by calling for a total, or, otherwise, comprehensive ban on civilian ownership and possession of firearms of all types. Antigun proponents and zealots have traditionally preferred an incremental approach to gun bans and gun confiscations—one category of firearms at a time, and ever widening the domain of Americans who are precluded lawfully from owning and possessing any firearm—in order to slowly acclimate the public toward acceptance of a gun-free Country.
In fact, antigun proponents—a few of them, ostensibly gun owners, posturing as supporters of the natural, fundamental, and unalienable right of the people to keep and bear arms—disingenuously claim by mere assertion, and rarely if ever by hard argument—that some firearms are specifically designed for self-defense, and so, are deemed the good weapons; and that other weapons—various kinds of semiautomatic firearms, the so-called “assault weapons”—are designed for war; and that this latter category of firearms therefore fall, presumptively, into the bad kind of weaponry that, as antigun proponents vehemently exclaim, civilians should not have access to.
Antigun proponents evidently like to recruit and trot out seemingly avid “antigun gun owners” who, in accordance with the central theme and narrative, argue for reinstating a national ban on “assault weapons,” a catchall expression that is increasingly becoming synonymous with all semiautomatic firearms, not merely some semiautomatic weapons. Antigun proponents falsely assert that no one is trying to take all firearms away from the civilian population of the Country, just some of them—the bad sort, the ones they have corralled under the brand of “assault weapons” or “weapons of war.” They assert that banning such weapons of war is okay because, after all, law-abiding, rational Americans can still keep true self-defense weapons, like .38 revolvers and shotguns handy at the ready, at home.
But is that assertion true, especially when it is clear that so-called weapons for self-defense, or for sport, or for plinking at targets, like revolver handguns and shotguns, are capable of offensive use, as well, and with devastating effect, when in the hands of irresponsible individuals; or in the hands of gangbangers; or in the hands of the common criminal; or in the hands of severely disturbed individuals, such as the shooter who murdered, maimed, and injured several innocent individuals in a Santa Fe, Texas high school? Do not these self-described antigun gun proponents, after all, deviously, deceptively, insidiously, mislead the American public by proffering a seeming reasonable compromise solution to curtailing gun violence and at once “permitting” lawful gun ownership? Are American gun owners expected, honestly, to suspend their skepticism? How many times in the past have American gun owners heard antigun proponents and antigun legislators preface their antigun diatribes with the assertion that they do, of course, support the Second Amendment, when clearly we know that they do not? So, whom are these antigun proponents and antigun legislators really fooling?
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