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Upon occasion, a public official displays such extraordinary stupidity a thorough fisking is required.  Politicians say and do stupid things everyday, everywhere, but some issues, such as gun control, propel politicians to Mariana Trench depths of dumb.  Such is the case with Virginia Democratic delegate Mark Levine, as The Washington Examiner explains:


Pro-Second Amendment groups fighting gun control efforts in Virginia have seized on a video showing the author of a sweeping ban fumbling over defining the “assault weapons” he wants to outlaw.

In the video, Democratic Virginia Del. Mark Levine said the biggest difference between hunting rifles and ‘assault weapons’ is ‘how you hold the gun.

Facts: There is no such thing in actual firearm nomenclature as an “assault weapon.”  D/S/C politicians have adopted that term to mean essentially “any gun we want to ban.”  There is a class of modern military arms known as “assault rifles,” which has these characteristics:

1) Carried/fired by an individual (not a crew-served weapon)

2) Shoulder fired

3) gas-operated

4) magazine-fed

5) selective fire (semiautomatic and burst or fully automatic fire)

6) firing an intermediate cartridge

The AR-15 class rifles so popular and common in America are not selective fire–they’re semiautomatic only–and are therefore not assault rifles.  Firearms are classified by action type.  A semiautomatic firearm remains semiautomatic no matter how one holds it.

Speaking at a public meeting, the author of legislation to ban AR-style guns and large, bullet-holding magazines used in semi-automatic weapons also said shooters could use several fingers to pull the trigger and that deer know the sound of a bullet shot through a ‘silencer’ better than humans.

Facts: No one uses “several fingers” to pull a trigger.  The very design of the trigger guards of common arms makes this difficult or impossible, and there is no advantage in doing it.  There is no such thing as a “silencer.”   Levine is referring to “suppressors,” which are capable of reducing the decibel level of a gunshot sufficiently to prevent permanent hearing loss.  Unlike what the movies fancifully illustrate, they are hearing preservation/safety devices.  A suppressed gunshot still sounds like a gunshot.  They are virtually never used in crime because an effective suppressor doubles the length of a handgun, rendering it all but unconcealable.

There is no known scientific data on the responses of deer to suppressed and unsuppressed gunshots.  Deer tend to startle at any unusual noise, loud or soft.  Suppressors are used so seldom in hunting, Levine’s comment is nonsense.  Suppressors are more common in European hunting, but uncommon in America.  Suppressors used on high-powered rifles succeed primarily in making the location of the report difficult to determine.  They lower decibel levels even less than those used with pistol cartridges, and any supersonic projectile will produce a characteristic “crack” as it breaks the sound barrier.  This cannot be “silenced.”

Asked to define guns he would ban at a meeting last week, he said, ‘Mass shooters don’t like things that go like this,’ posing as if holding a bolt-action rifle.

Explaining why, he said: ‘What that means is, that somebody could hit the rifle butt against their head. Deer don’t do this, elk don’t do this, but humans, trying to save their lives, do this.’

Facts: Who knows what Levine was thinking?  He is right about one thing, however. Deer and Elk tend not to wield firearms.  Human beings “trying to save their lives” also tend not to whack themselves in the heads with rifle butts.

Then, waving his arm Rambo-style in a sweeping fashion, he said: ‘Mass shooters use guns that go like this. … Guns that go like this are wildly inaccurate.

AR-15 Carbine Variant

Facts: Levin is apparently referring to movie machinegun use, which commonly depicts action heroes jerking weapons from side to side in sweeping arcs, an excellent way to miss one’s target, but randomly ventilate the surrounding countryside.  In such cases, it is not the weapon that is inaccurate, but the technique of the shooter.  He is apparently trying to insinuate that AR-15-like rifles are somehow inaccurate.  They are among the most accurate semiautomatic rifles made.

Levine, who had previously said that assault weapons are inaccurate, said that guns with magazines could be precise killers. ‘So if you have 30 bullets in your magazine, you can shoot 30 people just as fast as I can move my finger and kill them all,’ he said.

Facts: An semiautomatic firearm will fire a single shot with each pull of the trigger, so a magazine of any capacity—30 round magazines are standard in AR-15-like rifles—may be emptied as fast as one can pull the trigger in a repetitive fashion.  However, the idea that trigger pulls invariably equal mortal hits on human targets is nonsense.  All firearms must be carefully aimed, and the dynamics of time, distance, etc. are far more determinative of accuracy.

And he said that suppressors, encouraged for use by hunters in Europe, are dangerous.

‘A deer is going to run away no matter what, but it’s a human who may not understand it’s a gunshot when they hear a silencer,’ he said.

Facts: Levine appears to contradict himself regarding the response of deer to gunshots.  He is entirely wrong about the reports of suppressor-equipped firearms, particularly rifles.  All sound like gunshots.  Only handgun cartridges that are light-loaded–that use heavier bullets, and a smaller powder charge–produce the greatest reduction in decibel levels, reducing the report and muzzle flash, and because they are subsonic, eliminating the ‘crack” produced by a projectile breaking the sound barrier, however even these sound like gunshots.

The problem is not entirely that Levine apparently has no knowledge about the very weapons and devices he wishes to ban.  The bigger problem is that people like Levine are immune to fact.  There is no combination of facts, no presentations by genuine experts, that will cause him to recognize and legislate reality.  Suppressors are a public safety good.  He wants to ban them.  Semiautomatic rifles are not machineguns.  He wants to ban them.  Magazine capacity makes no difference in mass shootings.  He wants to ban them anyway.  In this, where firearms are concerned, Levine is not alone.  Most D/S/Cs share his willful blindness, for their goal isn’t public safety, but absolute control over law-abiding people.

We see in Virginia what D/S/Cs intend for us all on a national level.  They know they can never have their way with the public unless the public can be disarmed.  They also know that in order to accomplish this goal, they must control the flow of information.  This is why when they gain power, they always attack the First and Second Amendments.

It will be interesting–even dangerous–to see how far Virginia D/S/Cs are willing to go.