Wednesday, July 25, 2012

O'Reilly Gets It Wrong On Gun Control

Just this week conservative editorialist Bill O'Reilly spoke on the gun issue, prompted by the shooting in Aurora Colorado. He laid out such gems as “Anyone who sells a heavy weapon or ammo should be compelled to report the sale to the FBI. It’s a felony if you don’t. That’s what we should have in the U.S.A. and it just makes sense in this age of terrorism. Right now some gun dealers do background checks but nobody reports the sale of heavy weapons like AK-47′s to the feds. That’s insane.” Well, Mr O, you are already required to do exactly that when the store performs a background check on you and you are forced to fill out FF 4473 which addresses criminal history and citizenship status.

O'Reilly further shamed himself by stating “Terrorists could just move in here, buy bazookas and the FBI doesn’t know about it. Here is how crazy this is. If you take a flight lesson, the feds get a heads up. But you can buy a machine gun and they don’t know.” Well, not so Mr O, machine guns and bazookas are class III weapons and also termed destructive devices, which require a special permit to own which can take anywhere from several months to over a year to acquire. Additionally it has been illegal for gun manufacturers to sell new machine guns on the civilian market in the U.S. since the 1980's. The only machine guns a civilian can buy are existing models, even then the cost of the weapon and transfer of the tax stamp often run in excess of ten thousand dollars.

O'Reilly even suggested that every purchase of large quantities of ammunition or high capacity magazines should be investigated by the FBI. You really want that sort of intrusiveness and expansion of government Bill? Millions of rounds of ammo are sold every year in the U.S. and many serious shooting enthusiasts think very little of buying several boxes of ammo if their preferred brand is on sale. Illustrating that point, my friend D. just bought several hundred rounds of Hornady A-MAX ammo because he was able to get a good price by  bulk buying. I don't get to shoot as much as I like, but there was a time I thought very little of going to the range and burning through a hundred rounds or more in an afternoon to keep my skills sharp.

The point? with all that ammo being sold, and so many people buying what an outsider to the hobby would call large quantities of it, you would need to hire on thousands of more agents to investigate all the purchases. With this economy does that sound like a winning plan? So Mr O, please enlighten us on how you would make these new restrictions you seem such a fan of actually work. Or you could actually learn a little bit about firearms, their enthusiasts, and responsible gun owners and our culture.

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