U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- 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.
From newyorkpost.com 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 nbcnews.com 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.
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.
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 washingtonpost.com 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 thedailybeast.com 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 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.