Debunking Myths About Assault Weapons

Myth: The Second Amendment protects the right to own a military-style assault weapon.

Fact:  Owning an assault weapon IS NOT PROTECTED by the Constitution.

In 2008, District of Columbia v. Heller affirmed:

“the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

DC v. Heller also affirms that The Second Amendment IS CONSISTENT with laws banning:

“Dangerous and unusual weapons” and “firearms most useful in military service”

Six US Courts of Appeal Have Upheld Bans on Assault Weapons Using DC v. Heller

Worman v. Healey ~ First Circuit, Massachusetts, decided 04/05/2018 and 04/26/2019

“In fact, when asked directly, not one of the plaintiffs or their six experts could identify even a single example of the use of an assault weapon for home self-defense, nor could they identify even a single example of a self-defense episode in which ten or more shots were fired.”

Kolbe v. Hogan ~ Fourth Circuit, Maryland, decided 02/21/2017

Petition for certiorari denied by Supreme Court on 11/27/2017.  Writ of certiorari is a document which a losing party files with the Supreme Court to review the decision of a lower court. It includes a list of the facts of the case, the legal questions presented for review, and arguments as to why the court should grant the writ.

Friedman v. City of Highland Park, Illinois ~ Seventh Circuit, decided 04/27/2015

Heller v. District of Columbia ~ DC Circuit, decided 10/04/2011

Today’s Assault Weapons Inflict Battle-Field Injuries

The AR-15 was developed for the military and was field tested in Vietnam in 1962; reports indicated that “the very high-velocity AR-15 projectiles” had caused:

•  Amputation of limbs

•  Massive body wounds

•  Decapitations

Today’s AR-15 and similar military-style rifles retain the same military features and capabilities, except that they do not have fully automatic firing.

Myth: Mass Shootings are About Mental Illness

Fact:  Less than 1% of all yearly gun-related homicides are mass shootings by people with serious mental illness.

Detailed case analyses reveal that individuals who commit mass shootings often:
•  Feel aggrieved
•  Are extremely angry
•  Have nurtured fantasies of violent revenge

Such individuals function (perhaps marginally) in society and do not typically seek out mental health treatment.

Thus, in most cases, it cannot fairly be said that a perpetrator “fell through the cracks” of the mental health system. Rather, these individuals typically plan their actions well outside the awareness of mental health professionals.

Source:  Mass Shootings and Mental Illness, American Psychiatric Association

“The risk factors for a mass shooting are shared by a lot of people who aren’t going to do it. If you paint the picture of a young, isolated, delusional young man ― that probably describes thousands of other young men. Even if we had a perfect mental health care system, that is not going to solve our gun violence problem.”

Dr. Jeffrey Swanson, Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine
Source: Myth vs Fact – Violence and Mental Health

Regulating Military-Style Weapons Makes it Harder to Commit Mass Murder, Gives Victims the Chance to Fight Back or Run, and Protects Police Against Being Out-Gunned

Louis Klarevas, PhD, Department of Global Affairs at the University of Massachusetts–Boston
Source: Rampage Nation – Securing America From Mass Shootings

Assault Weapons Turn Killers into Killing Machines

Thousands of people are killed each year, even more thousands seriously wounded.

The psychological damage to the victims, and their family and friends, numbers in the tens of thousands.

When we pass a ban on Assault Weapons we will be helping to reduce the chance that Rhode Islanders will be the next to suffer a mass shooting.