Mass shootings, each one is an event where tons of people are either injured or killed outright. After one of these events the mass media typically forms the typical band wagon of gun control. It got so far that out previous president, Barack Obama, was pushing for harsher gun control. Suddenly every gun that was made from various polymers and metals was considered an “assault rifle”. Now states are passing laws about what types of guns should be outright banned or limited to the people, in the process violating the constitution twice. These laws are usually passeds by people who know very little on the actual gun that they seek to ban.
The first biggest misconception that people have made is that rifles like the AR-15s and AK-47s are used in most gun crimes. This is false as proven by studies done by the FBI, according to the studies pistols are used in the vast majority of crime. In the statistics there are roughly 5562 deaths due to pistol related crimes, with rifles being responsible for 248 deaths. Even though most deaths are caused by pistols there is a lot of blame thrust onto rifles that make up a small fraction of the crime done. Most of the mass shootings that have have happened in recent times have not used rifles, most have been done by pistol caliber guns or modified pistols. An example of this is the orlando shooter, this man used a modified pistol that had a longer barrel and an added stock, as opposed to the media claiming the use of a semi automatic rifle.
The second biggest misconception that people make when it comes to guns is basing its deadliness on how it looks rather than what it shoots. In some research that I did first hand, most of the interviewees had a common trend in the amount of fear they felt about the gun. As an example, guns that used polymer plastic and were usually black were feared way more than the ones that would look like hunting rifles. The M1, which was a military battle rifle from world war 2, was part of the list and got a low rating due to the simple fact that it had wood and metal, which in turn made it look like a hunting rifle. These results show people thinking that all of the black military-like guns are more dangerous than the ones that typically use wood. Ironically the M1 shoots a round known as the 30-06, which is much more damaging than the rounds used by most assault rifle variants ( 5.57 and 7.62). In a small social experiment done by the conservative radio host named Steven Crowder, there was a row of different guns laid out onto a table. These guns were placed with pistols first, guns with wooden stocks, then the black tactical guns last. Crowder was pretending to be a “common sense gun reformer” who was getting people's opinions on which guns should be banned. In his experiment he had a couple guns that were meant to throw off the subjects, such as a 10/22 that used a wooden stock, then one that used a black tactical stock, and lastly one that was meant to look like an UZI sub machine gun. Each of these rifles fired the same round (the small 22LR) but the ones that looked like the UZI and used the tactical stock which commonly got the “ban rating”. Then Crowder showed the subjects the rounds the “assualt rifle” and the “hunting rifles” fired, the 5.56 and the 30-06. People were greatly against the 30-06 but perfectly fine with the 5.56. This contradicted their opinions on the actual rifles, showing their lack of knowledge on the rifles themselves.
Lastly we move on to why most of these people have these misconceptions, thus far the biggest reason I have found is politicians and government propaganda. Take the presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as an example, throughout her campaign she would commonly use the phrase “fully semi-automatic”. This phrase is commonly used to mislead someone who knows very little about these rifles. When this phrase is broken down, it essentially means that the gun is definitely semi-automatic ( a gun that fires one bullet per trigger pull), but the big word in this phrase is “Fully” which is commonly associated with fully automatic guns (guns that will fire continuously after the trigger is held down). Even using the term “assault rifle” is somewhat misleading when talking about semi-automatic guns, an assault rifle not only has to have a round that is in between a rifle and pistol round, but it also has to have the option to switch to a fully automatic firing pattern (which a semi-automatic gun cannot do). There is also a prevalent claim that the second amendment only applies to muskets, as pushed by a multitude of politicians. This claim is immediately proven false by the Letter of Marque and Reprisal written in 1812 by James Madison. In this letter, the Captain of the Prince of Neufchatel. In this letter the Captain is asking if the canons of his ship are covered by the second amendment. Madison responds in a way that says that these canons are protected by the second amendment. On top of this, the other claim that is used to back up this theory is that there were no guns that held a capacity of over one round, this claim is provably false. Take the Belton Flintlock as an example, it could hold up to 20 rounds and fire them all in roughly 8 seconds. Another example is the puckle gun, which used a revolving cylinder that is somewhat similar to the gatling gun to fire 8 rounds in a short amount of time. Lastly there are pistols known as pepperbox revolvers, these guns could hold up to 20 rounds and were developed around the time of the constitution, some variants can be traced back even farther. These guns are perfect examples of proving the “one shot” claim false.
In the end, my findings thus far have found that people are somewhat clueless on which guns are commonly used in crime, which guns could be classified as more deadly than another. Lastly I touched upon the reason for their misconceptions, typical political reasons. As I close my writing, I implore the reader to do your own research on this topic, form your own opinion on the topic and resist the manipulation from political figures.