Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The right to bear a tampon

Yes folks, we're going there. The Texas legislature is going 'round the bend. Legislators are free to carry their loaded guns around in the legislature just in case.... just in case of what again? Are they afraid of their constituents? Why? What could they possibly be doing to anger their constituents to the point of endangering their lives? They have just voted to take away women's rights to choose their own health care. In an arrogant show of stupidity and misinformation, the Texas legislature has voted to severely restrict a Constitutional right. No wonder people are so angry. I mean, what if they had voted to ban guns? Imagine the fuss. The armed Texas citizenry, of which there are many, would have shown up with their guns to intimidate lawmakers into backing down. This happened in the Minnesota legislature just this year. Armed citizens showed up in the halls and hearing rooms with their guns openly holstered to let lawmakers know that they had better not "trample on their Constitutional right to bear arms." Never mind that passing reasonable gun laws does no such thing. One can still own a gun for self defense, hunting and other recreational purposes even with a law that would require background checks on all sales and lower the number of bullets in a magazine. It doesn't go too far. It doesn't take away a right. It doesn't confiscate guns. But I digress.

Now we have the confiscation of tampons and other items in the Texas legislature to make sure women won't use them as projectiles. I love the title of this post- "Only a good guy with a tampon can stop a bad guy with a tampon." Seriously. From the article:
Apparently, conservatives believe progressive activists will, after the vote, throw tampons at Republican state lawmakers who approve the bill. So, anything that "can be thrown at" the senators is being confiscated before citizens can enter the gallery.
Sometimes the war on women is offensive, and sometimes, it's just farcical. When tampons are considered more dangerous than loaded firearms, I think it's safe to say Texas Republicans have gone off the deep end.
Ironically, GOP leaders in Austin said they intended to prevent a "circus atmosphere" in the state Senate today. So much for that idea.
You just can't make this stuff up. Eventually, when this confiscation got so much attention on social media and elsewhere, women were allowed to keep their tampons. I mean, being a woman does involve the need for these sanitary items. Unless of course, you are pregnant. I guess the irony is totally lost on these Texas legislators as they cynically and hypocritically just made it very difficult if not impossible to exercise the constitutional right to an abortion. With rights come responsibilities and some restrictions. Abortion comes with some restrictions already. And the responsibility of the health providers who perform abortions is to do them in a safe and sanitary facility. No one wants an abortion. Sometimes they become necessary or a viable option to carrying a pregnancy to term. That is a right and it is a right that should be exercised by the woman involved and her health care provider. The hypocrisy of all of this is that the conservatives love government intervention when it suits their purposes but when they want to hate the government and rail against any government intervention, they are sure to be more than vocal. They might even show up with their guns.

These are not simple issues and shouldn't be treated as such. If the bottom line is freedom to choose health care options, then the right to an abortion is one of those freedoms. If the bottom line is freedom to protect one's family and enjoy a sport, then the right to own a gun is one of those freedoms. But we should be dealing with these issues on an equal plane and not for political purposes. If we agree that the right to have an abortion should not interfere with someone else's right to get pregnant and keep their child and love and protect that child from danger, then we might get to some common ground about what Roe v Wade means:
Court ruled 7–2 that a right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman's decision to have an abortion, but that right must be balanced against the state's two legitimate interests in regulating abortions: protecting prenatal life and protecting women's health. Arguing that these state interests became stronger over the course of a pregnancy, the Court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the trimester of pregnancy.
If we agree that the right to own a gun should not interfere with someone else's right to be safe from gun violence, then just maybe we can come together about what the Heller decision actually means:
Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. Pp. 54–56
So protecting women's health is a consideration. Protecting pre-natal life is important. The right to privacy is important. How did all of this become what legislatures are trying to do today? Guns are actually dangerous and I write about that on this blog. Guns are designed to kill or injure. How did the discussion about the right to own guns get so tangled up and confused with absolute freedom with no restrictions? But I digress again.

Let's get back to the first topic on this post. Can a tampon be dangerous? Here are instructions for making a "tampon blow gun". This looks pretty dangerous to me- especially the high capacity magazine that goes with the gun. And further, wouldn't it be better to allow the conceal and carry of these tampons in purses? Do women have a right to bear and conceal tampons? Women actually NEED tampons, yes, even at the legislature, for obvious reasons. But do citizens actually NEED guns in the legislature? One involves stopping the flow of blood, the other involves the possibility of making the blood flow. If we didn't laugh, we'd cry over what conservative legislatures are doing all over this country. And the hypocrisy of their thinking seems to be totally lost on them. Guns are allowed. Tampons are not. The right for women to choose their own health care, not so much. Which is more dangerous?

Which brings me to the idea that guns should be carried everywhere, even in state Capitols and legislative hearings. I thought I would share this article with my readers. From the article:
With permit data difficult to come by, it’s hard to know what effect (if any) the rise of concealed carry has had on rates of violent crime. The data that do exist, however, do not indicate that a concealed-carrying public is a crime deterrent. The National Research Council released a study in 2005 that said the effect of concealed-carry laws on gun violence was inconclusive. Abhay Aneja and John Donohue of Stanford and Alex Zhang of Johns Hopkins authored a critique of the NRC’s study in 2011 that identified an increase in aggravated assaults in states where concealed-carry laws were passed. Other areas of crime, the 2011 study observed, did not show a consistent pattern.
In the absence of data, all we have are conflicting anecdotes about the dangers and benefits of a well-armed citizenry. On one side there’s George Zimmerman, who was granted a concealed-carry permit in Florida, which allowed him to legally carry the 9 mm pistol that killed Trayvon Martin. On the other, a student at the Appalachian School of Law killed two school administrators and a student with a handgun in 2002. According to some accounts, he was stopped from potentially causing greater carnage by fellow students who were armed with handguns, enabling them to tackle the shooter without fear of injury.
In one story, access to a lethal weapon resulted in the death of a 17-year-old. In the other, a rampage was stopped short because responsible citizens were armed. Which narrative is more representative of reality? In the absence of more robust reporting requirements, we can’t say for sure. And in the meantime, lawmakers in every state have passed laws without the slightest idea of the consequences. All we can do now is hope they guessed right.
Hope is the operative word. The Violence Policy Center keeps track of Concealed Carry Killers. Since 2007, 516 people have been killed by gun permit holders and 24 mass shootings have been carried out by people who had a legal permit to carry a gun in public. I suggest that is not a good record. That is 24 mass shootings too many. That is 516 dead people too many. Hoping that people won't be killed by gun permit holders is not enough. Evidence matters. Facts matter.

As long as pro life legislators keep acting on scanty information and information is purposely squelched by the corporate gun lobby for political purposes and agendas, the public is not safer. As long as legislators keep attacking women's rights by touting their fact free reasons to do so for political purposes, women are not safer. In fact, because of the actions taken in Texas and other conservative states, the health of women who choose an abortion for legitimate reasons could be at risk. At the least, carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term could result in a worse life for these women and the children who are born as a result. What's pro-life anyway? Isn't saving lives of those born and living amongst us important? Isn't preventing deaths and injuries of those living amongst us important? Once the children are born, what then? Should we provide for them and keep them safe no matter their economic status, their race, their religion, their sexual orientation? And further, as long as legislators don't see the hypocrisy in allowing loaded guns everywhere but not allowing a woman to make her own health care decisions, we will be mired in this quicksand of public policy debate that doesn't lead to a better and safer society for all of us.

These are important and controversial issues and cannot be simply resolved. Lives depend on our getting these things right. Our country deserves to have national discussions about women's rights and gun rights. Decisions should be made with the facts and evidence and the best interests of our citizens as the end goal. This should not be about party politics.That applies to all sides of the issues. Common sense and common ground is what will get us to a place where every American can exercise their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I know that some of my readers will never agree with what I have written here. I don't intend for this post to become a punching bag of opinions about abortion and gun rights. We've had that discussion many times before here. I am looking for some common ground and some reasoned discourse. That has been lacking and that has what has led us to the place where tampons are not allowed in state legislatures but loaded guns are. Enough is enough.


  1. japete writes: This happened in the Minnesota legislature just this year. Armed citizens showed up in the halls and hearing rooms with their guns openly holstered to let lawmakers know that they had better not "trample on their Constitutional right to bear arms." Never mind that passing reasonable gun laws does no such thing. One can still own a gun for self defense, hunting and other recreational purposes even with a law that would require background checks on all sales and lower the number of bullets in a magazine. It doesn't go too far. It doesn't take away a right. It doesn't confiscate guns. "

    Two points on this:

    1) No one was being intimidated. There are well over a hundred thousand permit holders in Minnesota who, by a huge percentage, go about their days armed without intimidating anyone, committing crimes, or anything of the sort. Claiming that this had something to do with why the legislature voted the way that did is ludicrous.

    2) You continue to claim that confiscation wasn't on the table - yet you yourself offered testimony in support of a bill that would have required confiscation if an "assault weapon" wasn't registered by a specific deadline - and in favor of a law that required confiscation upon the owner's death.

    Protect Minnesota supported that bill - you personally testified in favor of it. Claiming that confiscation wasn't on the table is a lie.

    1. Bryan- for you to think that you guys with guns were not intimidating is just plain ridiculous. People at the Capitol were intimidated. Just because you strut around with your loaded guns figuring no one should worry about you doesn't mean the rest of us agree with that. No one was going to come and confiscate weapons you currently owned. You guys got your undies all in a bundle and stopped the bill from going forward. You guys claim confiscation even if it isn't on the table. The simple background check bill on guns at gun shows that would have nothing to do with confiscation got the same response from your side. Fear and paranoia reigns.

  2. japete writes: "No one was going to come and confiscate weapons you currently owned. "

    The legislation your organization supported and tried to pass stated quite otherwise.

    "You guys got your undies all in a bundle and stopped the bill from going forward."

    No, we stopped a bill that would have no impact on crime or gun violence - and that infringed on a specific enumerated constitutional right - from moving forward. And hundreds of Minnesotans showed up to do just that.

    It had nothing to do with getting "undies in a bundle".

    1. To suggest that restricting the sale and manufacture of assault type guns would have no influence on crime or gun violence is absolute nonsense. Remember the Aurora theater shooter? Remember Adam Lanza? I guess those shootings don't matter to you. I am concerned about saving lives. That is the bottom line.

    2. japete writes: "To suggest that restricting the sale and manufacture of assault type guns would have no influence on crime or gun violence is absolute nonsense."

      There was such a ban in place from 1994 - 2004. It had no impact on crime or gun violence.

      They are used in a minuscule number of violent offenses in the United States in the course of a year. They are less powerful than many hunting rifles.

      Besides, the law your organization brought forward went far beyond just a ban on sale and manufacture of "assault type guns". Your organization testified in favor of storage requirements and mandatory law enforcement inspection, registration, regulation of ownership and possession, and required confiscation upon death or failure to register.

      More violent crimes and murders are committed annually with hammers, fists, and knives than with "assault type guns".

      So yes, such a law would have had no influence on crime or gun violence.

      And let's not forget - the law you proposed would have also included most commonly owned hunting and target rifles in Minnesota.

    3. I don't consider 20 first graders a "minuscule" number of violent offenses. I don't consider the victims of the Aurora shooting to be in the category of "minuscule". It's frightening that you guys are so willing to shrug your shoulders at these massacres. In any other country, these kind of guns would have been immediately banned. Only in America are we having this ridiculous discussion. It is patently untrue that the most commonly owned hunting and target rifles would have been included in the proposal about assault weapons. My husband hunts as do many of our friends. Not one of them owns that type of gun for hunting. There are many many other types of hunting guns. AR-15s were never meant as hunting rifles. Just because the corporate gun lobby convinced people that they needed them for hunting to ramp up sales, there are people like you who have come to believe they are commonly used and that you need them. You don't. These are military type weapons designed for war. They were never designed for hunting. They were designed to kill as many people as possible at one time. Your cynicism amazes me. Here is a great article written by a person who is a second amendment supporter about this myth that assault rifles are necessary for hunting. http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/2013/01/02/gun_control_ar_15_rifle_the_nra_claims_the_ar_15_rifle_is_for_hunting_and.html

      More from this article in next comment.


    4. As the NRA’s David Keene notes, a lot of people do use modern sporting rifles for target shooting and in marksmanship competitions. But the guns also appeal to another demographic that doesn’t get nearly as much press—paranoid survivalists who worry about having to fend off thieves and trespassers in the event of disaster. Online shooting message boards are rife with references to potential “SHTF scenarios,” where SHTF stands for “shit hits the fan”—governmental collapse, societal breakdown. (Adam Lanza’s mother, Nancy Lanza, has been described as “a gun-hoarding survivalist who was stockpiling weapons in preparation for an economic collapse.”) An article on ar15.com titled “The Ideal Rifle” notes that “the threats from crime, terrorism, natural disaster, and weapons of mass destruction are real. If something were to happen today, you would need to have made a decision about the rifle you would select and be prepared for such an event. So the need to select a ‘survival’ rifle is real. Selecting a single ‘ideal rifle’ is not easy. The AR-15 series of rifles comes out ahead when compared to everything else.” Depending on where you live, it’s perfectly legal to stockpile weapons to use in the event of Armageddon. But that’s a far different argument than the ones firearms advocates have been using since the Newtown shootings.

      As I said, I generally think of myself as a Second Amendment supporter, and a month ago, I would’ve probably agreed with the NRA’s position. But the Newtown shooting caused me to re-examine my stance—as is, I think, fitting—and to question some of the rhetoric advocates use to defend weapons like this. In his piece at Human Events, Keene ridiculed the notion that AR-15-style rifles ought to be banned just because “a half dozen [AR-15s] out of more than three million have been misused after illegally falling into the hands of crazed killers.” But the AR-15 is very good at one thing: engaging the enemy at a rapid rate of fire. When someone like Adam Lanza uses it to take out 26 people in a matter of minutes, he’s committing a crime, but he isn’t misusing the rifle. That’s exactly what it was engineered to do."

      This writer is correct. This is all about the money and selling expensive guns to poor saps who have been made to believe they must have these guns. They don't need them and shouldn't have them. Without them, 20 first graders would likely be alive. Without high capacity magazines, Christina Taylor Green, shot at Tucson, would likely be alive because Jared Loughner would have had to reload. Your rationale is flawed by your desire to have any kind of gun you want while failing to understand the carnage that we put up with America every day because of the corporate gun lobby's influence on our gun policy. It is sick and twisted. And I am done arguing this point, Bryan. Have a nice Saturday.

    5. This is what goes between my first and second comment posts here from the article above: " From that article: " The AR-15 was designed in 1957 at the behest of the U.S. Army, which asked Armalite to come up with a “high-velocity, full and semi auto fire, 20 shot magazine, 6lbs loaded, able to penetrate both sides of a standard Army helmet at 500 meters rifle,” according to ar15.com. When it entered Army service in the 1960s, it was renamed the M16, in accordance with the Army Nomenclature System. “AR-15” came to refer to the rifle’s semi-automatic civilian equivalent. From 1994 to 2004, AR-15-style rifles were subject to the now-expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Since then, the rifle and others like it have become tremendously popular. Last month, I estimated that upward of 3.5 million AR-15-style rifles currently exist in the United States. People like the rifle because it is modular and thus customizable (one article calls the AR-15 “perhaps the most flexible firearm ever developed; in seconds, a carbine can be switched over to a long-range rifle by swapping upper receivers”), because it is easy to shoot, and because carrying it around makes you look like a badass.

      But the AR-15 is not ideal for the hunting and home-defense uses that the NRA’s Keene cited today. Though it can be used for hunting, the AR-15 isn’t really a hunting rifle. Its standard .223 caliber ammunition doesn’t offer much stopping power for anything other than small game. Hunters themselves find the rifle controversial, with some arguing AR-15-style rifles empower sloppy, “spray and pray” hunters to waste ammunition. (The official Bushmaster XM15 manual lists the maximum effective rate of fire at 45 rounds per minute.) As one hunter put it in the comments section of an article on americanhunter.org, “I served in the military and the M16A2/M4 was the weapon I used for 20 years. It is first and foremost designed as an assault weapon platform, no matter what the spin. A hunter does not need a semi-automatic rifle to hunt, if he does he sucks, and should go play video games. I see more men running around the bush all cammo'd up with assault vests and face paint with tricked out AR's. These are not hunters but wannabe weekend warriors.”

      In terms of repelling a home invasion—which is what most people mean when they talk about home defense—an AR-15-style rifle is probably less useful than a handgun. The AR-15 is a long gun, and can be tough to maneuver in tight quarters. When you shoot it, it’ll overpenetrate—sending bullets through the walls of your house and possibly into the walls of your neighbor’s house—unless you purchase the sort of ammunition that fragments on impact. (This is true for other guns, as well, but, again, the thing with the AR-15 is that it lets you fire more rounds faster.)

      AR-15-style rifles are very useful, however, if what you’re trying to do is sell guns. In a recent Forbes article, Abram Brown reported that “gun ownership is at a near 20-year high, generating $4 billion in commercial gun and ammunition sales.” But that money’s not coming from selling shotguns and bolt-action rifles to pheasant hunters. In its 2011 annual report, Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation announced that bolt-action hunting rifles accounted for 6.6 percent of its net sales in 2011 (down from 2010 and 2009), while modern sporting rifles (like AR-15-style weapons) accounted for 18.2 percent of its net sales. The Freedom Group’s 2011 annual report noted that the commercial modern sporting rifle market grew at a 27 percent compound annual rate from 2007 to 2011, whereas the entire domestic long gun market only grew at a 3 percent rate."

  3. Since I don't post Sebastian's comments on my blog I will respond to what he wrote. He wrote that he supported legalized abortion. That's good because it is already legal. Most people support not allowing abortions beyond 20 weeks. That is not the point. There was much more and is much more in the legislation proposed in the conservative states to prevent women from getting abortions even before 20 weeks. Apparently those small details are lost on Sebastian and the conservatives who are pushing these anti women's rights bills.

  4. I simply must respond to something written by Bryan Strawser, above. The gun rights folks love to say that more violent crimes are committed by hammers than assault rifles.If we want to remove assault rifle gun deaths from overall gun deaths, there may be a point in bringing this up. Everyone with a brain knows this is simply not true. How many mass hammerings have we had in America? How many mass fist fights have we had in American? It is simply not possible to kill 26 people with a hammer within minutes. The same is true of knifings and fists. This argument is specious and disingenuous and fails to deal with the fact that bullets kill 30,000 Americans every year. Gun homicides, whether by handgun, shotgun or assault rifles, kill about 11,000- 12,000 Americans a year. Mass murders are on the rise and most have been committed with assault type weapons and/or high capacity magazines. There is no excuse for killing anyone with any kind of gun. The fact that the gun guys are willing to tolerate mass shootings or common every day shootings at all is something to be concerned about. Hammers kill a minuscule number of people every year compared to guns. The same is true with fists and knives. There is no comparison. To try is stupid and ludicrous.

  5. japete writes: "It is patently untrue that the most commonly owned hunting and target rifles would have been included in the proposal about assault weapons. "

    Again, you're misleading your readers. The bill your organization proposed and testified in favor of this year (HF241 in the House) would have included commonly used target and hunting rifles like a .22 Ruger 10-22 rifle - one of the most common guns used to train new shooters in basic safety & rifle skills. Not to mention the other rifles that would have been included in this onerous and overreaching legislation.

    "AR-15s were never meant as hunting rifles."

    Regardless of the original design intent, the AR-15 is the single most popular hunting rifle in the State of Minnesota - and in many other states. It's also less powerful than many other hunting rifles - which makes it a very odd focus for a bill that is trying to reduce gun violence.

    "This is true for other guns, as well, but, again, the thing with the AR-15 is that it lets you fire more rounds faster."

    Hardly true. It fires at the exact same rate as any other semi-automatic rifle or handgun.

    japete writes: "How many mass hammerings have we had in America? How many mass fist fights have we had in American? "

    You keep saying let's deal with facts - so let's actually use the facts.

    In 2011, there were 48 homicides in the United States committed with rifles. No one knows how many were "assault weapons", but for purposes of this discussion, let's assume all 48 were AR-15s.

    This represents less than four tenths of one percent of all homicides.
    - More people are killed using only hands and feet - 15x times more
    - More people are killed with knifes - 35x time more

    Your focus on "assault weapons" is completely misguided, will have no impact on gun violence or the crime rate, will fall primarily on law abiding citizens, and is not at all supported with any popular support - as we saw quite clearly in the MN legislature this year.

  6. In response to Bryan's latest claims about the number of deaths by hammer, etc. compared to long guns we can look at this site to compare overall gun deaths with blunt object gun deaths. http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022129264 It is becoming a right wing myth that hammers kill more people than long guns. Bryan says that there were 48 murders by long guns/rifles in 2012. Let's see now. There were 26 at Newtown, 12 at Aurora,, 2 at the Clackamas Mall shooting, 2 firefighters killed in New York,

    Of the mass shootings, when an assault type weapon was used, 48 of them would have been banned in the recent Assault weapons ban. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map

    According to this article, Bryan's figures are challenged- http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/17/us/lanza-used-a-popular-ar-15-style-rifle-in-newtown.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
    "Critics describe them as high-power weapons — in addition to firing multiple rounds quickly, they have a higher muzzle velocity than traditional rifles. But defenders say that most AR-15s are chambered for .223 or 5.56 ammunition, low-caliber rounds that are less deadly than those used in many handguns. And they cite statistics indicating that unlike handguns or shotguns, rifles of any type account for only a fraction of homicides in the United States — of 12,664 murder victims last year, 323 were killed with rifles, according to the F.B.I.’s Uniform Crime Report."

    Further, our focus on assault rifles, as everyone should recall, is because of the tragedies at Sandy Hook elementary school and Aurora, to name just a few of the recent mass shootings. The public was outraged by the shooting of 20 small children with an assault type rifle, designed to kill as many people as possible with the most amount of damage possible. One little boy's lower face was shot off. That image is too powerful in the mind of most ordinary people. There is a reason there was a focus on those types of weapons. They are used often in mass shootings and the shooters know what they are doing.

    There is no really good ror rational eason for citizen shooters to have these kind of guns. Just because you have them doesn't mean it's a good idea. You want them, that we know. But you can hunt with many other types of guns. Self defense does not require one.

    1. I wrote to a friend who is a gun owner and familiar with the Minnesota assault weapons bill that was proposed in the legislature. Here are his comments.

      " 1) H.R. 241 probably did snag guns that are available with (or without) SAMSAW features from the factory, depending on the options the buyer requests. That was demonstrated by Prof. Olson & his buddies at the House hearing where they easily changed such a rifle (Ruger, I think) from SAMSAW to sporter, and back again with very little time and effort.
      That said, there a far better weapons to teach young folks shooting skills & gun safety than the semi-auto examples - even the sporter variety of same.

      2.a) As a group, I would say that SAMSAWS are used far less in hunting than the traditional sporting variety as a group. In effect, for every one SAMSAW in the hunting fields there's probably seven (or some such figure) of traditional sporters in those same fields. But, given the fact that commercially available, mass-produced guns legally suitable for hunting come in such a numerous variety of make & model, it could be that the AR-15 is the single most popular rifle in hunting use in Minnesota. There are likely hundreds of make/model combos of legal hunting guns. So if, say, 2% of all MN hunters use an AR-15, that could actually be the highest percentage of use for a single make/model (even though ARs defy single make/model definition - it's a peculiar feature of gun manufacturing). If so, then the next most popular rifle in the fields may be the M1894 Winchester with perhaps 1.4% use, or something like that. It's the principle that's important; with many, many, many hunting gun options from which to choose, the "most popular" option needs to be only marginally more so than the rest of the options in the pack.

      2.b) Another important point is this idea of "the power of a given weapon relative to other weapons". Here' Strawser's remark; "It's also less powerful [the AR-15] than many other hunting rifles - which makes it a very odd focus for a bill that is trying to reduce gun violence." He knows that the AR-15's smaller, less powerful cartridge actually makes it a better choice for a mass shooter than another similar weapon with a more powerful one. That's because the best choice for a combat weapon/cartridge combo (and mass murder is a form of combat!) is one that delivers enough damage to the target with the least recoil and muzzle flash. Every person who chooses weapon/ammo combos for police and military are keenly aware of this.

      3) The AR's rate of fire is the same as any semi-auto rifle (of similar weapon-to-projectile weight ratio, caliber and kinetic projectile energy). He's basically correct here. And any difference between the AR's fire rate and that of other semi-auto guns is nil.

      4) Something appears to be amiss regarding the 2011 homicide figures for long guns that he cites. It could be that there were a total of 48 homicide events with long guns, but the total number of deaths from them was some higher figure. The 48 homicides/year figure does not correlate at all with a well established stat that says about 62%-to-65% of all gun homicides/deaths (not sure which) are by handgun. That necessarily says that 35%-to-38% occur with some sort of long gun. Such a percentage requires way more deaths per year than 48. "