the cold equations

Tyrannical Virginia Gun Law Kept DC Shooter From Buying AR-15

You commit a mass shooting with the guns you have, not the guns you wantAs everyone knows, restrictions on firearms sales are tyrannical and don’t do any good anyway — if someone can’t buy a gun, they’ll buy a knife and kill with it anyway, right? Just look at the case of Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis, who was unable to purchase the AR-15 he wanted last week because Virginia law “prohibits the sale of such weapons to out-of-state buyers.” Instead, he bought “a law-enforcement-style shotgun — an 870 Remington pump-action” — which he used in his deadly rampage Monday. So gun restrictions never work, unless maybe you consider the number of people Alexis could have killed with a semiautomatic rifle with a high-capacity magazine.

Yr Wonkette has no doubt that the National Rifle Association will respond to this news by calling for an end to Virginia’s tyrannical restriction on the rights of would-be mass killers. After all, just because someone’s not from Virginia, that’s no reason to deny them the same God-given right to spray lead at a high rate of fire.

According to the New York Times, Alexis

perched himself above an atrium where he fired down on people who had been eating breakfast, officials said, adding that he used shotgun shells that had roughly a dozen large ball-bearing-like shots in them, increasing their lethal nature.

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“When he discharged, the pieces of lead would spread the farther they went,” the one official said. “It is similar to weapons used in bird shooting but on a more serious scale. These were not bullets but many small pieces of lead flying through the air.”

It’s probably worth noting that Alexis had to pump the shotgun each time he fired, and that the Remington has a standard seven-round magazine. An AR-15, on the other hand, fires a round with each pull of the trigger, with a rate of fire much faster than a shotgun’s, and typical magazines hold 20 to 30 rounds, although higher-capacity magazines — 60 to 100 rounds — are also popular. In the Newtown massacre, Adam Lanza managed to fire 155 rounds in under five minutes.

There’s no way to say definitively that Alexis would have killed more people with an AR-15 he wanted than with the shotgun he had to settle for, but it seems likely at the very least.

So yes, Virginia, through the dumb luck of restricting who could buy a semiautomatic rifle, it’s probable that a few more people walked away alive Monday.

Now let’s return to our regularly scheduled discussion of how gun control never works.

[NYT / MSNBC]

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About the author

Doktor Zoom lives in Boise, Idaho. He acquired his pseudonym after being differently punctual to too many meetings. He is not a medical doctor, although he has a real PhD (in Rhetoric and Composition).

View all articles by Doktor Zoom

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