Why can’t gun controllers get basic firearms facts right?

It has been a weekend.

I will talk some on NRAAM later, but overall that was just a fun show to look at the things that we already know about thanks to the internet. The protestors were protesting protestilly, Beto beto’d, too. It was all rather incoherent and angry.

I understand that. Incoherent and angry is a natural emotive state after tragedy and trauma. But the fact that is the natural state cannot be used as an excuse to make atrocious policy decisions. I am not saying this as a pro-gun person, I am saying it as someone looking at the deeper logics of building security policy. Guns aren’t magically the answer here. Guns are also not the root of the problem. Guns can, and need to in various ways, be part of the solutions while they will also continue to be part of the threat.

Policies failed in Uvalde. People failed. The guns that have been around for a century had very little to do with it, other than being the most convenient method of injury.

But here we are blaming the method of injury and ineffectually screaming about the rules governing certain versions of the method of injury, or who should and shouldn’t be allowed to purchase the method of injury. The serious discussions about the human failure points and the realities of physical security are drowned out. Holding Uvalde’s Law Enforcement decision maker accountable for holding off on entering the classroom or holding the staff accountable for propping the external door open and giving the shooter unhindered access inside the school building.

But no, we get posts like this.

If you look at the video above an off quoted physician who was interviewed here, the transcripts miss the part that I have highlighted at 2:37…

The part where she states that AR-15 rifle rounds travel at 3 times the speed of light. Now, admittedly, this could be an honest gaff and she meant sound, which is true roughly at 3,000 fps. But look at the NPR post now. Decapitation by an AR-15. Like this is either factual or a useful piece of information. If AR’s could decapitate there’d be a lot more headless corpses in the middle east.

Joe Biden was quoted this weekend stating 9mm (the little pistol round that the FBI blamed for how long the North Hollywood shootout took to resolve) would pull people’s lungs out of there bodies. Why are we exaggerating damage? Isn’t the actual lethality of these guns enough to report accurately on their own?

When satire is more realistic than reality…

Answer: Nope. In context firearms aren’t that dangerous. That doesn’t make them not dangerous, but in scale they have their place right about where motor vehicles are. The difference being firearms deaths are overwhelming deliberate, homicide or suicide. Deaths related to alcohol, vehicles, etc. tend to be consequential or accidental instead of deliberate. I say consequential because poor habits like distracted driving or intoxicated driving are deliberate choices but their intent isn’t to cause harm, that is simply the result. I’m reserving accidental for more genuinely unintended circumstances where a stack of poor behaviors and patterns were not present.

These quotes from ‘authority’ are merely the latest examples, of an absurdly incalculable number, that these “experts” aren’t experts in this field, and shouldn’t be relied on to be.

The Doctor, Dr. Comilla Sasson, later went into how these weren’t ‘normal bullet wounds’ she had been treating. I want to put her into contact with literally any battlefield trauma surgeon, medic, or Corpsman. Because yes they are. Handgun wounds are just more common domestically so she would overwhelmingly be treating those in an ER and not a middle caliber rifle wound.

Good policy requires facts.

My first question in the event wasn’t how did the shooter get the gun(s). That honestly doesn’t matter. It usually turns out there are no disqualifying convictions or adjudicated mental flags in their background, so there is no legal way to deny someone without a history to base that upon. Pre-crime isn’t a thing. What we fail to ratio properly when something like this happens is just how many similar incidents there are where ‘red flag’ behaviors are present, but they those people end up doing nothing wrong. They were just venting their spleens in a dumb manner. Being angry is not a crime.

Are we suggesting going to mass conviction of massive groups, instead of guilty individuals, in the off chance we might catch a killer? That is an absurdly dangerous logic stream. I’ve done the math. There is a way to do it. It is horrific. The math does check out though. Meanwhile, gun controllers math never checks out. It all relies on the perfect compliance of all involved. If we had that we wouldn’t need the policy in the first place. Utopia fallacy.

But let’s go back to Dr, Sasson’s comment. Even given the difference in injury capacity between a handgun round and a rifle round, there is a notable one, when you put those differences into the context of an unopposed shooter those physical differences in individual injury power mean almost nothing. An unopposed shooter with a lever action .22lr is potentially as lethal, in scale, as one with an AR. An unopposed armed individual with any variation on a modern firearm is a problem. An unopposed armed individual with any weapon or improvised method of injury is a problem.


The environment determines the casualty count more than the weapon. How close are how many people to the killer when the killing starts and when are they first effectively opposed? Killer with a handgun, killer with a shotgun, killer with an AR-15 or similar rifle, all will be primarily limited by their environment first. Killer with a car, killer with a bomb, killer with arson, same limitations. The target environment sets their risk ratio.

So why are we still okay with listening to fools tell us to fire two blasts in the air, or that 9mm blows the lungs out of somebody, or a newscast showing a 12 gauge shotgun shooting a watermelon to demonstrate what an AR-15 does? Rather, why are anti-gunners okay with it? When in a similar circumstance where they would be under the gun, proverbially, for misinformed claptrap shaping policy, they would be just as livid about the nonsense?

We see them change their tune every event. We see them target the thing they might be able to get this time. And we know from all the nations of the world it will never be enough until the ban is total. We also know from around the world that won’t dent the murder rate, assaults, or anything else by much since social factors guide those and not weapon access.

Why the lies?

I think the answer is manyfold.

Firstly, Emotion > Reason. The emotive response feels the most empowering because it is raw and makes it feel like you can solve the issue. It absolutely sucks to reason this security question out, with the safety of our kids on the line, and come to the realization over and over again that there is a hard limit to what we can do. There is a hard limit and some hard consequences to certain pathways. That is all compounded by the fact that some of the solutions are unpopular and will be ignored because of it, that other solutions are merely window dressing, and that still others are already theoretically in place but are subject to the failings of human error, and still more are entirely unworkable for the mere logistics and risks involved.

That last one would be any manner of “effective” gun ban, so pretty much all of them with no grandfathering. A full prohibition on private firearms ownership, or at least on repeating firearms. The consequences of this would be catastrophic. If even .01% of gun owners resisted violently we are talking an estimated 10,000+ deliberate violent encounters that will cause casualties. If each of those caused one death, on either law enforcement’s side or because of law enforcement, it would increase the homicide rate by over 50%. If even 1% of gun owners went quiet about their collections and kept them, we’re talking about 1,000,000 occurrences and, given averages, about 8,000,000 firearms.

And we have gun controllers who would absolutely, unhesitatingly say, “Go ahead. Kill them.” Because they only see an enemy in their emotive state, not other people. They are doing the very thing they accuse others of and making a subhuman distinction, whether it is ‘Republican’ or ‘Gun Owner’ or ‘Trump Voter’ or whatever. They have segmented a subhuman class that it is okay, because of their personal beliefs about the beliefs they ascribe to the subhuman class, to oppress, ignore, or even condemn to death.

Classic humans, our loudest and angriest are usually the most tribal while claiming not to be.

Ultimately we have no indication that ban and confiscatory activities would have anywhere near a 99% peaceful efficacy rate. We also know they would not be effective, these events are already exceptions. We are the third most populous nation on the planet yet it keeps being pointed out that if we were the UK or Germany then we’d be the UK or Germany, like those societies didn’t evolve the way they did with a very bloody century prior and represent smaller societies incomparable to our large multi layered and multi-geographical one.

You realize that California, with its political and societal choices, would rank as the 37th largest country in the world on its own. Between Ukraine and Iraq just above and Afghanistan and Poland just below. Five vastly different territories with vastly different societal mixes and social problems.

Back to Dr. Sasson.

“Those are the wounds where you think – gosh – this isn’t a regular bullet wound,” Dr. Sasson said. 

Dr. Sasson has never (or rarely) encountered a rifle wound before in the ER. That is good. That means it is rare that a major ER hadn’t seen it. It needs to stay rare.

Go to any combat trauma surgeon treating people coming out of war zones and a rifle wound could be comparatively mild. IEDs are far more horrific and accounted for more casualties. I pray we don’t get to a point where those injuries start showing up.

I’m not commenting any of this to mean that a gunshot wounded child isn’t a horrific situation, it is to keep in scale that injuries don’t need to be politicized and aggrandized above their scope. Injuries need to be treated. Likelihood of injury needs to be decreased in logical ways and with logical means. A ban is not logical, it is emotive window dressing with no chance of efficacy and a high chance of further problems.

Preventative doesn’t mean prevented.

We like to use the term preventive medicine, but that is a misnomer in many ways. It isn’t preventive, it is mitigatory. We lower the chances of an occurrence through best practices, habits, and behaviors. With all that though, nonsmokers and people without another serious chemical exposure still get lung cancer. Lower rates of it, sure. We know the mitigatory practices work well, but they aren’t perfect. We also don’t have perfect ways to prevent broken bones, lacerations, amputations, concussions, heat injuries, allergies, or the common cold. It is all mitigatory.

We seem to think otherwise when it comes to evil actions however, that if we just ban enough things we can stop the evil actions of a free willed individual from being effective. We also seem to think we can do so without crushing human rights and making no errors on the part of the state, but only in this discussion. We could have the discussion tomorrow about the negative effects of drug laws on minorities, but switch drug to gun and all of sudden the same negative impacts are for their own good.

We can’t prevent mass shootings, or other variations of mass casualty violence, we can mitigate their efficacy in spaces we can exert environmental control over. I cannot prevent someone from driving a bomb loaded truck up to a building (and neither could the government when McVay attacked allegedly in retaliation for Waco and Ruby ridge) but I can put some steps in place to make that more difficult give people less reasons to do so.

That, at the end of the day, is all we can effectively do. We can make it more difficult to successfully access a space and we can work to make society more harmonious.

We’ve been atrociously bad at the second one and it matters the most. Two eighteen year old kids felt the need to mass kill their way to solution in their lives. Do we honestly think that our social environment didn’t shape that? That us being at each other’s throats politically, that rewarding negative behaviors, dishonestly addressing social topics, and teaching kids over and over that doing the right thing has no reward but doing the wrong thing with intent might get overlooked if it is too inconvenient a behavior to correct wouldn’t screw with kids heads? Are we satisfied with the stressful environment we are raising children into for no other valid reasons than shallow political clout?

We, honestly and objectively, are living in the best time in human history. With every flaw, every problem, and every tragedy we have and will face in our lifetimes, it is still better than we have ever been. We need to stop letting that slip away simply because we can here about bad events in near real time. We need to stop deluding ourselves into thinking we can solve, in absolute terms, everything. We need to stop letting politicians run and win on those impossible promises.

Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. editor@gatdaily.com A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.