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Even though firearms are an integral part of day-to-day life for many people around the world, only a small percentage of the world’s population is truly familiar with their attributes, operation, and capabilities. In fact, there are five firearms myths that still exist in people’s minds today despite evidence to the contrary!
Firearms were invented by the Chinese in the 13th century A.D. as primitive cannons and matchlock rifles. They have since progressed from muzzle loading, black powder, firearms to far more sophisticated breech loading, metallic cartridge, and firearms that employ smokeless powder as a propellant. Although firearms were originally developed as weapons of war, civilians were quick to realize the significant advantages that such a tool provided them over the bow and arrow. Thus, firearms have become an integral part of world culture. The lack of knowledge has given rise to many firearms myths that many people still believe.
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The number of people who possess a concealed carry permit has more than doubled since 2007 from 4.5 million to 11.1 million, and yet, the number of murders and violent crimes in the U.S. has dropped significantly in the 25 states with the greatest number of concealed carry permits issued. In fact, according to the “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States” report issued by the Crime Prevention Research Center, the percentage of the U.S. adult population with concealed carry permits has risen by 130 % while, at the same time, the U.S. has experienced a 22 % drop in the overall violent crime rate.
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The F.B.I. published a study in 2014 that stated that there was a 16 % rise in mass shootings during the period ranging from 2000-2013, and events in recent years such as the mass shootings at Columbine, Virginia Tech and, Las Vegas have furthered this misconception. However, the F.B.I. was forced to refute their own study when it was revealed that it had been based on “flimsy criteria used in discerning what was or was not a mass shooting” because the exact opposite is actually true. In fact, mass shootings actually account for only a very small percentage of the total number of crimes committed with a firearm in the U.S. and thus, the number of mass shootings in the U.S. has not risen for over 40 years. On the other hand, the overall rate of violent crimes in the U.S. has actually dropped significantly during that same period as firearms sales have achieved record highs.
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Advocates of gun control would like for American’s to believe that banning private ownership of high capacity magazines will either prevent or drastically decrease the number of mass shootings in the U.S. However, as stated above, mass shootings only account for a very small percentage of the number of violent crimes committed with a firearm in the U.S. In addition, in the case of psychotic individuals who commit mass murders, such as the shooters at Columbine, Virginia Tech and, Las Vegas, investigation has determined that each of these individuals meticulously planned their attacks and consequently, the shooter at Columbine High School carried 13 ten round magazines while the shooter at Virginia Tech carried 17 of them.
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This is simply not true, because anyone who wishes to purchase a firearm from a federally licensed firearms dealer is required to first pass an intensive background check performed by the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Consequently, the only way for a convicted criminal to obtain a firearm is to either illegally purchase it from a non-licensed individual or to steal it. In fact, according to a study released by the Department of Justice, criminals obtain 78.8 % of their firearms from friends or family members and 39.2 % from illegal street purchases, not from licensed gun show dealers.
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Because polymer handgun frames are less dense than steel frames, it is true that handguns with polymer frames do appear to be less opaque when viewed with an airport security scanner than handguns with metal frames do. However, they are indeed visible to, and recognizable by security personnel because they can be seen and they still display the characteristic handgun outline. Besides, all polymer-framed handguns incorporate metal parts, such as barrels and slides and thus, it is simply not possible for polymer-framed handguns to escape detection at airports despite their polymer frames.
Five firearms myths listed above are indeed myths that actually have nothing to do with reality because they can easily be refuted by the application of logic combined with a bit of research. Thus, like all firearms myths, they are engendered by misconceptions perpetuated by the media, as well as by lack of knowledge among individuals who do not own firearms and who are unfamiliar with their attributes, operation, and capabilities.