Bob Owens sent the following email to request that I correct some “factual inaccuracies” in my post on automatic weapons this morning.

While his points were duly noted, I informed Mr. Owens that we here at tend to infuse a little dry humor into some of our posts. Some readers get the humor, but a lot don’t.

I’m still at a loss to understand why people take my blog so seriously. :?

At first I wasn’t going to post Mr. Owens’ email, but since it contained such interesting information, I decided to post it:

Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2008 12:26
From: Bob Owens |
Subject: Factual inaccuracies in your assault rifles article

Hi Sandra,

My name is Bob Owens, and I own the site you linked to regarding the increase in “assault weapon” sales. I was hoping that you would update your post to correct some things you got wrong. I ask this as something of an authority on firearms, as a someone who writes about them, who once sold them, and who legally carries one concealed.

    “Assault rifles are the weapons of choice for hired killers, terrorists, the KKK, rappers and other like-minded individuals.”

Only in the movies. In the real world, according to FBI statistics, so-called “assault rifles” are very rarely used in crimes. Most crimes are committed with handguns and cut-down shotguns, weapons that can easily be concealed. Loaded “assault rifles” weigh in around 9-12 pounds and are too difficult to conceal.

The people that actually buy the semi-automatic rifles you call “assault rifles” (real military assault weapons having been used in exactly 2 violent crimes since 1934 and one of those was by an Ohio cop) are typically collectors, hunters, and target shooters, with the AR-15 (the look-alike of the military M-16) being very popular target rifles with it’s own dedicated shooting competitions. So who are buying these firearms? Generally, most are middle-aged, middle-aged suburban and rural white guys. None have criminal records or they couldn’t pass the NICS background check. In short, the people buying them aren’t those you should be worried about.

    “Gun shop owners deny the weapons are being stockpiled by racists and
    rednecks to kill hundreds of blacks, as some wild Internet rumors allege.”

While I obviously can’t speak for everyone, everywhere, the gun shops I spoke with noted that blacks are appearing in proportionate numbers as well, shopping for similar firearms. While I have no doubt that some racist groups like the Klan are wishing that a race war was in the offing, there simply isn’t any evidence of one racial group disproportionately buying firearms, or of race being a significant factor in purchases.

    “The shop owners say gun enthusiasts simply fear stricter gun laws under the new Obama-led administration. Obama is expected to impose the most divisive, anti-gun laws of any president in recent history.”

Absolutely true. Obama favored outlawing entire classes of firearms as a State Senator in Illinois, and was a member of anti-gun groups including the Joyce Foundation and Woods Fund as a director. As a member of Joyce, he was part of a plan to undermine the Second Amendment by corrupting legal scholarship.

I should also point out that those cities with the most gun control have the worst violent crime, as criminals know their victims are unarmed. Since this summer, more Americans were killed in Chicago (which has a complete handgun ban and no concealed carry) than in combat in Iraq.

    “The Clinton administration outlawed assault rifles in 1994, but was lax on enforcing the laws. The law expired in 2004 under the Bush administration.”

The “Assault Weapons Ban” that Joe Biden likes to take credit for writing was part of the 1994 Crime Bill, and did not outlaw much of anything. While it outlawed 19 specific guns by specific manufacturers, what it primarily outlawed was cosmetic features that made guns look scary. Flash hiders, folding and telescoping stocks, bayonet lugs and pistol grips do nothing to make a gun fire more accurately, more rapidly or with more power, but these cosmetic features were what was banned. As a result, the same companies manufactured the exact same firearms without some of these cosmetic features, and they were legally sold again the next day. In short, it was a law passed by ignorant politicians that ignorant citizens thought accomplished something. The prior administration was not “lax on enforcing the laws.” The laws were simply stupid, and accomplished nothing.

Also, Obama’s site has reinstating this failed ban as an official policy. I guess he didn’t learn anything the first time around.

I look forward to you making those updates on your site.