In response to my article “The Misguided Push for Gun Control After the San Bernardino Terrorist Attack” a comment was left by naksuthin, in which he or she argues that the fact the attackers didn’t use machine guns supports the idea that gun control works. I respectfully disagree, for the reasons discussed below.
The author misses one major and important fact.
Because there is a “BAN” on the purchase of Machine guns (Thanks to The Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA) signed into law by President Reagan), the terrorists were not able to buy Machine Guns.
So they bought the most lethal weapons allowed by law….and then tried to modify them to shoot like “banned” machine guns.
“After the couple acquired the rifles, they subsequently altered them: there was a FAILED ATTEMPT to modify the Smith & Wesson rifle to fire
in fully automatic mode, they made a modification that defeated the California ban on detachable magazines, and they used a detachable high-capacity magazine (California laws limit magazines to a maximum of ten rounds, and the magazine must be fixed by to the rifle and require a tool such as a bullet, pen, or other implement to remove it, thereby creating a delay in the rate at which spent magazines can be replaced.)
Now Imagine what would have happened if machine guns were legal to buy.
The San Bernardino terrorists would have just walked into a gun store BOUGHT TWO BRAND NEW FULLY AUTOMATIC FIRE Machine guns.. …without the need to try to modify it at all.
Many lives were save in San Bernardino killer because the terrorists home made “modification” failed
ALL THANKS TO PRESIDENT REAGAN’S BAN ON THE PURCHASE OF MACHINE GUNS
France regulates gun much more severely than the United States. The Paris attackers were able to acquire and use multiple fully automatic machine guns. The Charlie Hebdo attackers from about a year ago were also able to acquire and use fully automatic machine guns. More information on those acquisitions and uses of machine guns can be found here.
Indeed, in that previous article I discussed many other cases where criminals were able to manufacture fully automatic machine guns, or smuggle them into a variety of countries. Criminals who want machine guns will get them, just as criminals who want drugs will get them.
Although we will never know exactly what went on inside the minds of the San Bernardino terrorists, it seems reasonable to think that they had wanted to obtain a machine gun but ended up deciding to just proceed with the guns they had. There is nothing to suggest they found machine gun acquisition to be an impossibility. Indeed, the evidence shows that they had many bombs that were unused too, which suggests they were not dead set on using every tool to the fullest extent possible, and were instead satisfied to commit the mass murder they committed.
What would have saved lives in the San Bernardino attack would have been armed citizens who would have returned fire. There have been plenty of situations where armed citizens have stopped terrorists, such as those discussed here. Indeed, there is no functional difference between an armed citizen stopping a robber or a terrorist, so the many cases of armed self defense that do not relate to terrorism are also useful to show how violent attacks can be resolved when the would-be victims are armed for self defense. Sadly, states like California continue to do their best to ensure that only those willing to break the law will have a gun.
I would also note that the National Fireams Act has strictly regulated machine guns for decades before President Regan was in office, but that is a minor point that I won’t spend much time addressing.