The award winning columnist with The Sun News, Issac J. Bailey, is apparently just as misguided, if not disingenuous, as are many like-minded progressives, when it comes to expressing his opinion in favor of additional gun control. In his Jan. 20 column, “Gun control debate not simple,” he recounts his reaction to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s take on President Obama’s gun prevention proposals. He stated, “I asked Graham’s office which part of the president’s proposal he could support and reminded them that the mother was armed with a six-bullet pistol, not an assault rifle.”
In his remarks on the president’s proposals Graham had referenced a recent incident in which a mother and her two sons had taken refuge in an upstairs closet/crawl-space in their home hoping to avoid an intruder. The woman was armed with a six-bullet .38-caliber revolver. When the intruder opened the closet door, this mother of two let him have it, the six bullets, that is. The mother and children escaped unharmed, and the intruder was taken to the hospital in critical condition with five bullet wounds.
Bailey rightly observed that a six-bullet pistol is not an assault rifle, for it is plainly not a rifle. But why would Bailey and others presumably object to this mother possessing one under similar circumstances? Bailey didn’t or wouldn’t define what he considers an assault rifle to be.
In 1994, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act which prohibited the manufacturing for civilian use certain semi-automatic firearms called assault weapons, and defined “assault rifle” as any semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine, and at least two of the following five addenda: folding stock, pistol grip, bayonet mount, flash suppressor, or grenade launcher. This law lapsed in 2004 and is no longer enforced.
A semi-automatic weapon, a rifle or a handgun, is only capable of firing one bullet at a time, exactly as that heroic mother did with her six-bullet pistol. She had to pull the trigger six times to empty the handgun’s six bullets at the intruder. There is no material difference in the mechanical operation of the repeated firing of a revolver and that of a semi-automatic weapon. The only difference lies, neither in the speed of firing nor the number of bullets fired with each trigger pull, but in the available number of bullets.
A detachable magazine can have as many as 10, 20, 30 or more bullets, whereas a revolver will usually have only five or six bullets.
If the heroic mother of two had had to face a second intruder or more, what would she have given to possess a 30 bullet semi-automatic rifle? Would it not have been better for her to have had a 30-round semi-automatic rifle than to have had a half dozen six-shooters? And why would Bailey or anyone, for that matter, object to her possessing it?