Rep. Gerald Connolly, a Democratic congressman from Virginia, has argued to his constituents that Americans shouldn’t be allowed to wield Stinger missiles “capable of downing commercial aircraft” even though such weapons are already illegal.
“I have been accused of trying to dismantle the Second Amendment for simply asking whether high-powered, military-style semi-automatic firearms with large-capacity magazines — which were used in the D.C. sniper murders, the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and the mass shootings in Aurora and Newtown — should be readily available to the general public,” Connolly wrote in a letter recently disseminated to constituents concerned about gun rights.
“Or for wondering whether the Second Amendment applies to weapons such as the FIM-92 Stinger missile launcher, a personal portable infrared homing surface-to-air missile platform capable of downing commercial aircraft.”
A Stinger missile launcher is already considered a banned “destructive device” under the Gun Control Act of 1968.
Using such weapons to shoot down commercial aircraft is a threat almost always associated with terrorists, including a group of four men who in 2009 were foiled by the FBI in their plot to take down a New York airliner using a Stinger missile.
Connolly’s constituent letter was documented by gun maker Sturm, Ruger & Co. on its website, where gun owners have submitted response letters they received from U.S. lawmakers after contacting their offices about the ongoing gun debate.
Name-dropping illegal weapon systems has become a common theme among advocates for gun restrictions in the wake of the December elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Piers Morgan, a British citizen and CNN host, has been one of the loudest advocates for American gun restrictions in the wake of that shooting, relying on similar arguments to the one Connolly used in his letters.
“UNBELIEVABLE,” tweeted Morgan on January 28th, after The Associated Press reported that an inoperable missile launcher was privately sold in Seattle. Morgan has also accused gun rights advocates of wanting tanks.