Collins: ‘Let’s hope rational heads prevail’ on gun control

By WND Staff

(Image courtesy Pixabay)

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, on Wednesday said he wants the facts – and rational thought – to be used in work on gun control plans being considered by Congress.

But he doesn’t have high hopes.

His comments came as the committee, run by Democrats, worked on a hearing titled “Protecting America from Assault Weapons.”

The hearing was to hear from several witnesses, including Nan Whaley, the mayor of Dayton, Ohio, the scene of one of several shootings in recent weeks where either a deranged or homicide-minded individual attacked innocent people, with guns.

Collins pointed out the basic understanding of weaponry is sadly lacking among members of Congress.

“One member of this committee has conflated the terms ‘assault rifle’ and ‘assault weapon’ multiple times in dear colleague letters seeking support for a bill banning ‘assault weapons,’ and, as we dive into these conversations, let’s clear up another popular misconception. The ‘A.R.’ in AR-15 does not stand for ‘assault rifle.’ It stands for ArmaLite Rifle model 15. AR-15s are not assault rifles — they’re semi-automatic firearms that function similarly to wooden hunting rifles, where the operator pulls the trigger to fire each shot. The differences between these guns are largely cosmetic,” he schooled other committee members.

“Sadly, certain members are not alone in sowing disinformation when it comes to so-called ‘assault weapons.’ A state senator from California, when speaking about an ‘assault weapon,’ stated, ‘This right here has the ability with a .30-caliber clip to disperse 30 bullets within half a second. Thirty magazine clip in half a second.’ This is either a blatant misrepresentation or an indication of shocking ignorance. Even a fully automatic, military-issued M4 cannot fire at such a rate.”

Collins continued, “Another member of this committee stated, ‘I’ve held an AR-15 in my hand, I wish I hadn’t. It is as heavy as 10 boxes that you might be moving and the bullet that is utilized, a .50 caliber, these kinds of bullets, need to be licensed and do not need to be on the street.” This brief statement somehow manages to make several misrepresentations. An AR-15 weighs between six and seven pounds and fires a .223 round of ammunition. It does not fire .50 caliber ammunition. Anyone who knows anything about firearms knows it’s absurd to suggest that.”

He went on, “I hope we can clear up these misconceptions in today’s hearing. My hopes aren’t high, however, when I hear a Democrat presidential candidate proclaim, ‘Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15.’ Let’s hope rational heads prevail here today.”

Whatever is done in the House to impose additional gun control across the nation likely will have little impact, though.

That’s because the Senate has suggested it will consider legislation only if President Trump indicates he’s supportive.

Collins pointed out that there were 403 murders committed with all rifles, not just “assault weapons,” during 2017, according to the FBI.

“By comparison, knives or other cutting instruments were used in 1,591 murders. Blunt objects such as clubs, hammers and bats were used in 467 murders. Hands and feet were used in 696 murders. In the same year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found speeding killed 9,717 people. I have yet to see any of my colleagues advocate for prohibiting the purchase or possession of a vehicle capable of travelling more than 70 miles per hour,” he said.

He said committee members need to avoid the “rhetoric” that has plagued the topic for years.

“Only when we are equipped with the facts can we mobilize to effectively prevent violent crime — a goal we all share,” he said.

First, true assault rifles “are rapid-fire, magazine-fed rifles designed for military use. They are shoulder-fired weapons that allow the shooter to select between settings: semi-automatic (requiring the operator to pull the trigger for each shot) and fully automatic (allowing the operator to hold the trigger as the gun fires continuously or in three-shot-bursts).”

Those that the media describe now as “assault weapons” typically are routine rifles that have various cosmetic features, such as a pistol grip.

He said lawmakers must understand the weapons, their differences, and what they do before they could effectively work to protect families.

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