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"Assault Weapons" Ban Would Not Have Stopped Santa Fe Mass Shooting

Updated on May 22, 2018

The national campaign to ban high-capacity magazine, semi-automatic rifles, loosely known as "assault weapons," took pause in the mass shooting in Santa Fe, Texas last Friday, when a gunman killed 10 people and wounded 10 more using weapons considered ordinary and useful for hunting and basic self-defense.

The shooting bolstered arguments by Second Amendment advocates who say that banning assault-style rifles would do little to solve the problem of mass shootings.

Weapons commonly known as military-style "assault weapons" are weapons which fire as fast as the shooter can pull the trigger, for as long as there are rounds in the magazine. The Santa Fe shooter used a Remington 870 sporting shotgun, commonly used to hunt birds, deer, and for shooting skeet, and a .38 revolver.

Houston KPRC 2 reported:

"In the Santa Fe High School shooting, restrictions on bump stocks, assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and more strident background checks would not have affected suspect Dimitrios Pagourtzis' ability to obtain weapons. According to police, he came to school Friday morning with a shotgun and pistol that had been legally purchased by his father."

The Washington Post ran a piece titled: "'You can do this with anything': Santa Fe shooting suspect’s choice of guns complicates debate over assault rifles." In the piece the observation was made:

"Friday’s shooting at Santa Fe High School, which left 10 dead, was carried out with a pistol and a shotgun — firearms that even gun-control advocates generally regard as utilitarian."

The article noted that the suspect in Santa Fe, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, did "double digit" damage.

In the Post column The Fix, Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, said to the reporter:

“When used at closer ranges, the average bird-hunting shotgun is actually more deadly than the much-vilified AR-15...Banning AR-15s will do nothing to stop disturbed and deranged shooters.”

Absent were the images of menacing looking, matte-black rifles with air-cooled barrel radiators and handgrips, looking nothing like the familiar deer rifle.

While gun control advocates argue that such weapons are designed specifically as "weapons of war," those on the other side of the cultural divide argue that, in the vast rural counties across America where police are not always minutes away, families are in fact left to their own devices in cases of home intrusions. Police or sheriffs' response times in such counties might be a half hour, hour, or more, in jurisdictions were one or two officers cover hundreds of square miles.

Parkland High School gun control activist David Hogg, known for his campaign to ban, outright, magazines holding more than ten rounds and semi-automatic rifles which do not require frequent reload, took to Twitter in the aftermath of the Texas shooting. His message, however, was different. Now Hogg said that the media should stop publishing the names of shooters. Mr. Hogg tweeted:

I don’t know the shooters name and don’t want to. If you agree, anytime you see a post with their name or face from news organizations post #NoNotoriety with one of the victim's names. We make these sick people known worldwide for their horrifying acts, let’s stop that.

— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) May 20, 2018

Mr. Hogg made no mention of his campaign against assault rifles.


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