As I was reading Wednesday’s Cedar Rapids Gazette I came across a letter to the editor calling for more gun control in the wake of the Ft. Hood tragedy. Although I occasionally respond to official editorials or columns, I try not use this forum to criticize letters to the editor from private individuals because I think citizens on ALL sides of a debate should feel empowered and encouraged to express their views in the local paper. That is the First Amendment and America at its best.
The letter that caught my eye, however, was written by John Johnson, the former director of the defunded, debunked and now defunct group Iowans for the Prevention of Gun Violence, and was signed as such. Since he is no mere civilian who wandered onto the ideological battlefield of gun control, but a former field-grade officer in the opposing army, I’ll make an exception in Mr. Johnson’s case.
Mr. Johnson writes that the Ft. Hood shootings took place because “(e)asy access to high-capacity, semi-automatic handguns that can be concealed on the person means that any angry individual with a grudge can commit mass murder wherever people gather — even military bases.”
Really? Wherever people gather? How come I never hear of some nut attempting a mass shooting at a gun show or a shooting range or an NRA convention? The fact is that just about any shooting massacre that you can name (Ft. Hood, Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc…) took place in a so-called “gun free zone.” In a sad bit of irony, even our army posts are now mostly “gun free zones.”
The habit of gun control advocates, like Mr. Johnson, of serving up disarmed victims in designated areas actually encourages sociopaths to go on shooting sprees, knowing that they can rack up a lot of kills before armed authorities can arrive. Since Texas has many civilians who carry firearms, if Major Hassan had tried his rampage anywhere besides a “gun free zone,” an armed Texan may well have “killed him back” (to borrow Ron White’s phrase) before he could do so much damage.
Attempting to put the blame for the Ft. Hood shooting on an inanimate object, rather than the nut (or perhaps jihadist) pulling the trigger, Mr. Johnson continues: “One of the weapons used in the Fort Hood shooting was an FN Five-seveN pistol […]. This gun was originally designed for military use, but is also sold on the U.S. civilian gun market. The manufacturer says this gun fires ammunition capable of piercing body armor. Who wears body armor? Law officers. So the FN Five-seveN pistol is for killing cops.” His comments appear to be part of a larger orchestrated effort, since all the major gun control groups recently sent a letter to President Obama asking him to ban the import of the Belgium-made Five-seveN.
The “armor piercing” version of ammunition for the Five-seveN (and for all handguns, for that matter) that Mr. Johnson refers to is already banned in the United States. Your side won that battle long ago, Mr. Johnson! If the laws that the gun control advocates fight so passionately to enact are so ineffectual once implemented that they are unnoticeable and forgotten even by themselves, why do they push for more of the same?
Perhaps Mr. Johnson gets his information from Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center, one of the nation’s leading peddlers of anti-gun propaganda. In a recent Huffington Post article, Sugarmann claims that in a quick Internet search he found two vendors selling “banned” ammunition for the Five-seveN. But the SS192 hollow point ammo that the vendors were selling is listed on the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives website as “not AP.” It wasn’t really “banned” either, the manufacturer merely stopped shipping that particular type to the U.S., replacing it with the newer SS196 ammo.
Far from being the death-spewing monster that Johnson and Sugarmann depict, the Five-seveN fires a rather diminutive 5.7 mm round. Bob Owens at Pajamas Media convincingly makes the case that if Major Hasan had armed himself with a man’s weapon, rather than the media-hyped Five-seveN, the ratio of killed to wounded would have been much worse.
“[A] high-velocity bullet that only weighs 40 grains (as does the legal SS197SR bullet Hasan used) is at a distinct disadvantage when compared to other pistol cartridges,” writes Owens. “Slower, heavier bullets such as those found in the .40 S&W and .45 ACP hollow point cartridges favored by American law enforcement dump most if not all of their energy in the human body. The difference between a wound from a 5.7 bullet and a .45 ACP is not dissimilar to the difference between the wound from an ice pick and the wound from a sledgehammer. The ice pick will penetrate far deeper, but the sledgehammer will cause far more traumatic injuries.” (None of this is to imply that the Five-seveN is less-than-lethal, just that it’s not super-lethal.)
Owens also pointed out one more salient fact. The FN Herstal Five-seveN, that much-vaunted “cop killer” of Johnson and Sugarmann’s imaginations, has never actually killed a cop in the United States. “So far there is just one known shooting of a police officer with this weapon, and that occurred at Fort Hood,” states Owens. “Kim Munley, one of two officers who engaged Hasan, was shot in each leg and her wrist, but was wonderfully alive and able to appear on Oprah a week later.”
I guess gun control activists can’t let little things like facts stand in the way of their agendas.