Many in Media continue to Misidentify Pistol Used in Dayton Mass Murder

Many in Media continue to Misidentify Pistol Used in Dayton Mass Murder
Many in Media continue to Misidentify Pistol Used in Dayton Mass Murder

U.S.A.-( When the mass murder in Dayton Ohio was conducted by a leftist drug addict, most in the media jumped to the conclusion that he used a rifle. It was not hard to do for those ignorant of firearms and the arcane classifications created by the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934 and its follow on legislation. The logical contradictions of the NFA have become more and more obvious, partly through legal holdings of the BATFE, and partly from Court decision. It takes a serious understanding of the law to know what is a pistol and what is a rifle. Some study is required to know when a $200 federal tax stamp, and processing through the Byzantine BATFE bureaucracy is mandated,  and when it is not.

There are understandable reasons why some media outlets were confused.  Here are a few that have not corrected their misunderstanding of the technology, more than a week after the killing:

From August 12:

Betts, armed with an assault rifle, opened fire in the Oregon District, a trendy nightspot neighborhood, early Aug. 4. He killed nine people in 30 seconds before police officers shot him dead.

From August 12:

Ten weeks ago, documents said, Betts and Kollie assembled the rifle in the latter’s apartment. Six to eight weeks ago, Betts returned to retrieve the rifle and to pick up the body armor and the 100-round magazine, prosecutors said.

 From August 12:

Armed with a .223-caliber high-capacity rifle with 100-round drum magazines, Betts fired 41 shots in fewer than 30 seconds, killing his sister, Megan, and eight others in Dayton’s entertainment district, police said.

Dayton Ohio, WKRC August 12:

Betts used a .223 rifle with drum magazines containing 100 rounds. Police have said he legally bought the gun online from Texas and picked it up at a local gun dealer.

I wrote an article about the firearm being a legal pistol on August 5th. It was posted on Ammoland on August 6th. I wasn’t the only person who saw what was clear from the photographs the police released. The Washington Post, about as mainstream (Progressive) a media outlet as can be, noted the firearm used was a pistol on August 5th. From the August 5:

Wearing body armor and a mask, Betts opened fire with an AR-15-style pistol outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio, early Sunday, killing nine people.

The Daily Beast used the correct nomenclature on August 12th. From August 12:

Betts, 24, legally purchased the AM-15 pistol used in the attack, authorities previously said. The pistol has a shorter barrel than the AR-15 rifle variant, but uses the same ammunition and magazines.

We are making progress when the Washington Post correctly identifies a firearm.

What should come of this, but probably will not, is an understanding of the irrational, unsupportable nature of the restrictions and artificial distinctions between pistols and rifles that have been built into the National Firearms Act and the BATFE interpretations of it.

All those legalistic distinctions between a short-barrelled rifle and a pistol with an arm brace, and firearms that were designed to be fired without a stock, really are silly.

It would be better to do away with the NFA altogether.

I do not think we have the media power to do that, at least not this year. It makes wonderful sense, with logic and reason, to do so. But public perception is tremendously influenced by urban elites who know almost nothing of firearms and are proud of their ignorance.

An intermediate step would be to reform the NFA to only differentiate between concealable (anything that can be fired in a configuration of fewer than 26 inches in length) and long guns, anything longer than 26 inches in length. Suppressors, also known as silencers, should never have been in the NFA. They are primarily safety equipment, are seldom used in a crime, and were not regulated for decades in many countries which otherwise heavily regulate firearms.

I do not see machine gun regulation being reduced to that of ordinary rifles, at least in the near future. It should be possible to remove the 1986 freeze on any new guns. Legal machine gun owners are the most lawful of the lawful. They should not be punished for being extremely law-abiding.

It is easy to make full automatic firearms. It is easy to make silencers/suppressors. Yet both are seldom used in a crime.  The law ought to take that reality into consideration. There is no point of having heavy regulation of short-barreled rifles and shotguns when pistols and revolvers are protected by the Second Amendment.

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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Nobody ever claimed the media had a brain. I remember when a Khalifornia legislator held up a MAGAZINE and told the press “this gun will shoot 30 people in 2 seconds.” Yes he actually held up a magazine and identified it as a GUN. Of course the voters re-elected him because they are as ignorant as he is.


All that counts as far as the vast ignorant majority of non-gun owning, and anti-gun Americans are concerned is that a “firearm” was used. The make, model, configuration or caliber is a mute point as far as they care, it was a gun and guns are “bad”. Given the current overall lack of intelligence of the vast majority of Americans, details are lost on them. Look who they put in the White House for 8 years, look at all the restrictions we have on our Constitutional Rights and freedoms today as opposed to the freedoms we enjoyed as recently as… Read more »


If it goes bang and sends a projectile out it might be a gun. The barrel length doesn’t have much to do with the end results if you are the target. We actually pay people to write rules we have to live by and they have days and months to complete the task of adding more regulations we have to live with. Where did our freedoms go?

Dave C

Do away with the “gun free zones” which are “killing fields” and a lot of the mass shootings will cease. One shot fired in retaliation against the El Paso shooter would probably have sent the punk scurrying. Many stores now have a sign that says it is unlawful to bring a gun into their store unless it is a pistol carried by an individual with license. I frequent those establishments, because I feel safer. It keeps the bad guys guessing….


Just like the bump stock, it was only a matter of time before someone misused this “pistol” design.

Heed the Call-up

Misused? No, breaking the and killing people is a bit more than just “misused”. We still do not know that a bump stock was used in killing anyone. The media and LE have been quite evasive in that. Just like in the Virginia Beach killing, the media and LE states he used extends magazines in his .45 cal handguns, never identifying what model was used. Why? Because we know that 1911s have 7-round mags standard and 10-round “extended” magazines – the same size Democrats want to limit us to, the same mag size used by the Parkland killer. The same… Read more »


I have to agree, everyone that is shown using a pistol with a arm brace firing from the shoulder needs to stop, all they are doing is causing the gun grabbing liberal to want more regulation or control.

Wild Bill

@GB, I presume that you mean stop being shown. How a person wants to operate their firearm is up to them.

I like to fire my 686 Smith, weak hand upside down. I am sure that was never intended. People at my barbecues are really impressed.

I am working on back to target, sighting through mirror.


Then I’ll bet you’d love basketball marksmanship. Its my favorite shooting game. You need some space though. Or at least a range facing downwind. To play, you put a white foam cup, downwind, as far away as you desire. Then, place a bucket a few yards behind, depending upon the strength of the wind. Try to make the cup go airborne and land in the bucket. In is a three-pointer, touching the bucket is one point. In case of a tie, the one with the fewest holes in his cup is the winner. It’s great fun, and in this game,… Read more »

Wild Bill

That does sound fun. So it is a pistol game. One has to stay how many yards from the styrofoam cup? And the bucket is just a five gallon bucket. How far away from the cup? How many shots each?


I make it a point to not decide what I will call something by referring to our absurd patchwork of nonsense gun laws.

Wild Bill

@TD, What terms do you use? Maybe we all can benefit from your good efforts.


They are just trying to do away with shoulder braces and AR-15 pistols.. if people don’t start using them correctly, by arm brace, they all will soon become an sbr.. every single AR-15 pistol (or other type pistol ) review, with the shoulder/arm brace, I have watched lately, have been fired strictly from the users’ shoulders.. it is putting the impression out there that the pistols are being used strictly as short barrel rifles by their owners.. that is why I have never bought one…. I figured they would be quickly outlawed by executive Fiat, just like bump stocks..


Before you downvote go watch a video on a ar or other rifle caliber pistol.. and see for yourself how the arm brace is not used on one arm as it is designed.. they are only fired from the shoulder like a carbine or short barrel rifle… the lack of discreteness will get them outlawed quickly… mark my words..

Green Mtn. Boy

“outlawed by executive Fiat”

Also as un Constitutional as the 1934 NFA act.


Sadly it will never ever ever happen..

Wild Bill

@GMB, Executive fiat … hmmm, you know I’d like to see the Chief executive driving a Fiat! That is how big the government should be. Restore the Republic!

Operator Z

NOBODY uses it as a pistol. We ALL fire it from the shoulder. That is common knowledge.

It doesn’t matter how it is used. It matter how it was designed to be used. That is the distinction between pistol and SBR. The design dictates the the designation.


Yeah I know it’s common knowledge… that is exactly what is going to get them outlawed… it is supposed to be shot from one arm from an arm brace by definition…there is no discreteness that it is not being used that way… some people are even adding a forehand handle to the pistols .. that will definitely make them considered a short barrel rifle …prepare for them to be outlawed just like bump stocks..sad but true..

Wild Bill

@OpZ, I decline to admit to having any such knowledge. I think that we all should decline to admit such knowledge.

Heed the Call-up

So because of the NFA rules that dictate what is a rifle and what is a pistol, you believe these arbitrary rules should dictate what arms we are “allowed” to have? Our federal 2A dictates what we are “allowed”, the right to keep and bear *arms* “shall not be infringed.” It can’t be any more clear than that. What arms do you believe the privateers used during our Revolutionary War? They certainly used more than just shoulder-fired muskets. In the ruling in the 1939 SCOTUS case, they stated that the 2A protected all arms that are of military use. They… Read more »


With all due respect the criminal codes the ATF uses is unbelievably thick.. they can find Firearms violations on a weapon you couldn’t imagine.. especially if you do some of your own work to it.. a lot of these people are putting things on them that changes the definition.. not to mention the ATF has changed course on pistol braces several times… and all they have to do is change it again.. remember bump stocks? A simple rule change by the ATF ended them.. the Supreme Court did not do anything about it…

Wild Bill

@31, That is reason enough for the BATFE to go. BATFE was created by a memo from the Sec. Treas. The Sec. Treas. could disband BATFE with another memo. BATFE’s future hangs on a memo.

Dave C

It ain’t right, but it’s real. Piss and moan all you want. You can’t fight or argue much when you are in jail…… Patrick Henry you ain’t.

Wild Bill

@31, I will gladly buy a arm brace and leave it on the back porch. You can leave some cash on the front porch.



Wild Bill

@31, I’m sure that many of youse do.

Wallace C

1. Rifle or pistol, it doesn’t matter to the Lefty Loons out there. If it’s black and scary, then it’s obviously evil and far deadlier than a shiny silver gun. It must therefore be vilified and ultimately face forced confiscation. To be followed by all other forms of privately owned firearms. (Except for those belonging to the exempted and elite class.) 2. 1934 NFA is indeed unconstitutional. Too bad that not one argument against it has been made before a strictly constitutional SCOTUS. 3 irrational thought of the day: Government portrayed in both the Purge and Hunger Game movie series… Read more »

Green Mtn. Boy

Yes the 1934 NFA act is un Constitutional and should be done away with. However once in a while the medias lack of understanding firearms can be beneficial,don’t explain to them it was a AR pistol as it’s sure to open a fresh can of worms of further infringements of the 2 nd. amendment.


“An intermediate step would be to reform the NFA to only differentiate between concealable (anything that can be fired in a configuration of fewer than 26 inches in length) and long guns, anything longer than 26 inches in length.”
In other words, continue to dance around the issue of infringement. Nope! The NFA has got to go (and La Pierre too, while we’re talking good riddance to useless things!)!