The scary list of deceptions that dangerously cloud the gun debate continues unabated. These imaginary problems lead us off course, create enormous discord and delay arrival at real solutions. They force us to focus on issues that aren’t problems, or aren’t even real.
The gun myths are delusional, a result of irrational left-wing fears, some degree of ignorance, and an unlikely cabal thrown together by circumstance that includes an easily enraged public, an inadequate and unprofessional news media, and corrupt politicians seeking power (or ignorant). Each gun myth is abandoned as soon as it is exposed, and a new one quickly takes its place, a defense mechanism thrown up in classic psychological fashion.
With the background in place, let’s get right down to more of the list.
The Hollowpoint Ammunition “Dum Dum” Myth:
“We certainly can’t let these hair-trigger gun owners carry extra-dangerous hollowpoint dum-dum bullets, whose sole purpose is to murder and tear through human flesh causing massive bleeding and destruction!”
The political left, liberals and progressives abandoned this one when the truth came out that police carry hollowpoint ammo because it’s safer—the opposite of what the deniers were ranting about.
Specially designed hollow, or “expanding” ammunition, has less chance of over penetrating and causing harm downrange. It’s less likely to ricochet, and has more stopping power, what you need when a psychotic spree murderer or jihadi (they’re different) is trying to kill you.
Off-duty and retired police were empowered to carry nationwide in the “LEOSA” law (18 USC §926B), fighting their own battle against the outlandish BITS myth (Blood In The Streets), which was as bogus for them as it was when waged against CCW permitees.
Police needed a second federal law passed to ban ignorant local officials from arresting them for carrying safer hollow ammo. That made the point, as a lucky aside, for the rest of us who wisely carry hollows.
Arming traveling police everywhere didn’t make guns go off by themselves, or any other paranoid fears we endured. It just made us safer. It’s time to take the carry restraints off the rest of us nationwide. That was the promise when LEOSA passed in 2004—first them, then us. Police got their shackles removed. We’re still waiting.
The Cop-Killer Bullet Myth:
“At least we can outlaw cop-killer bullets, the ones designed to penetrate bullet-proof vests. Why on Earth would the insane NRA support such a thing?”
The NRA of course doesn’t support so-called “cop-killer” bullets, and the whole idea is preposterous. Any bullet fired at cops is a cop-killer bullet. You go to jail almost forever for it, even if you miss (assuming courts work). The caliber and type doesn’t matter—it’s attempted murder—didn’t anyone mention that? Is it some lesser crime if it’s fired at you? Do you recall black-and-white films where a crook who murdered a cop was shunned by fellow criminals as a cop-killer? Now that was a sense of decency long gone in Hollywood.
Like so many of these mythical dustups, anti-rights people were trying to outlaw, not armor-piercing ammunition (a bag of myths on its own), but lubricated ammunition. All ammo is lubricated.
Through a combination of ignorance and evil intent, they tried to outlaw ammo.
If they succeeded in passing this “reasonable, common-sense bill no sane person should block,” ammunition would be banned under the rubric of saving police. Bullet resistant (not bulletproof) vests had nothing to do with it.
The NRA of course took the heat, and to this day people believe they championed the absurd, thanks to our disgraceful journalism industry. People must think the humans who work for the NRA (a civil-rights group), are monsters from hell thanks to the phony drumbeat.
In fact it was the NRA that noticed the legislative sneak attack, and wrote the bill that saved ammunition. They banned a narrow category of pistol cartridges—angering many members since attacks on police regardless of ammo type were an unrelated issue. The whole question of bullet-proof police and balance-of-power we’ll save for another day.
The Armed-Pilots Myth:
“Just because we angered people who took over planes and caused damage doesn’t mean we should overreact and start giving pilots guns. They’re too busy flying the planes, it’s too dangerous, they’re not qualified, and if a gun goes off, the planes will have catastrophic depressurization and crash, just like in the Goldfinger movie!”
According to aviation experts, when a bullet penetrates a fuselage, it makes a whistling noise. Planes have huge openings to allow in and exhaust breathing air. The Goldfinger nonsense was movie excitement, nothing more. Thanks to unfounded wild-eyed fears though it took years to arm commercial pilots—many of whom were former military fliers with extensive experience in handling arms. The training and psych tests developed were so excessive, provided in a single location, many pilots refused to undergo them.
Cargo pilots like Fedex and similar required additional years and additional legislation. America suffers needless expense and delay thanks to the baseless fears of paranoid gunless cry babies. Today, our skies are safer thanks to armed pilots (officially, “Federal Flight Deck Officers”) and the armed Federal Air Marshalls program. No one has been sucked out a window screaming.
Can you think of a myth I’ve missed? Add it to the comments. I’m not even up to the big ones yet. Stay tuned.
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Alan Korwin is the author of 14 books, 10 of them on gun law. His book After You Shoot examines ways to lower your risks after a self-defense shooting. He has been invited twice to observe oral argument in gun cases at the U.S. Supreme Court. Reach him at GunLaws.com, where he is the publisher of Bloomfield Press.