Modern day journalists have this obsession that borders on compulsion to balance any comment that could be be remotely considered “pro-gun” with one from a gun prohibitionist.
Thus, it isn’t surprising that David Trinko of the Lima (Ohio) News reached out to Ladd Everitt in an article entitled “Few mechanical differences found between AR-15s, hunting rifles.” The article noted that there were few differences between an AR-15 and the Ruger Mini-14 given that both use the same .223 Remington cartridge, both are semi-automatic, and both have detachable magazines.
As most readers of this blog would agree, the major difference between the AR-15 and Ruger Mini-14 is in the action. The former uses a direct gas impingement system while the latter uses a gas operated piston. The rest of the differences are just cosmetic. Not so says Everitt.
Those additional features are really at the heart of the debate about gun violence in America, says Ladd Everitt, director of communications for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence in Washington.
“They’ll tell you these features are pieces of plastic and are merely scary-looking. They’re just cosmetic,” Everitt said. “That’s just nonsense.”
The article goes on to note that Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 would ban firearms with more than one of the following features: folding or telescopic stock, pistol grip, bayonet mount, flash suppressor, or grenade launcher. The article mistakenly says S. 150 hasn’t gotten out of committee yet. It has and is supported by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic) because “those additional features on AR-15s” concern them.
“The world’s not affected by scary looks. It’s specific features and
what they do,” Everitt said. “Pistol grips, the specific purpose is to
keep level and steady during repeated fire. A flash suppressor is to
disguise sniper fire at night. A barrel shroud keeps your hand safe
while firing round after round so it doesn’t heat up and burn your
While Everitt is correct that the barrel shroud does provide a heat shield, the rest of his statement is full of nonsense. Pistol grips in a variety of shapes and sizes have been on bolt action rifles for many a year. Look at this page of McMillan stocks – every one has a pistol grip and each one is intended for a bolt action rifle. The main purpose of a flash suppressor is to keep the shooter from being blinded at night by the flash – not to disguise “sniper fire”.
Finally, Everitt gets around to discussing semi-auto versus full auto and magazine size.
The speed someone can repeatedly fire a semi-automatic rifle makes it just as dangerous as a fully automatic weapon, Everitt said.
“It’s a nonsense argument that you can’t hold down the trigger so it’s safe,” he said. “You can fire as quickly when you repeatedly press the trigger. It’s highly insulting to those who are victims of gun violence.”
Instead, much of the debate centers on how many rounds should be allowed in a magazine for a semi-automatic weapon. The 1994 law only allowed 10 rounds per magazine. Feinstein’s proposal also used the number 10.
“No one in the world needs more than 10 rounds at a time unless you’re hunting humans,” Everitt said.
Let’s be clear about one thing. All firearms used improperly are dangerous. It doesn’t matter if you have a single shot Cricket or an AR-15 with a standard capacity magazine as either could be used to kill or injure. That said, if I am protecting my loved ones from a pack of home invaders, I’d prefer to have the AR-15 with multiple standard capacity magazines. More and more, home invasions involve multiple invaders. Furthermore, tests of the 5.56 round show less over-penetration than with most pistol calibers.
There are experts and then there are propagandists who like to portray themselves as experts. The first are useful and the second are useless. Ladd Everitt is in the second category.