A retired Army veteran and frequent contributor to Fox News has some harsh words for the National Rifle Association. Lt. Col. Ralph Peters is often a go-to voice on conservative matters, but he’s no fan of civilian ownership of rifles like the AR-15. So why is he Peters breaking ranks on firearms?
Like many, Peters seems to have succumb to the shock value associated with incidents like the shooting in Parkland Florida.
Peters wrote a column calling for a ban on the AR-15. As is typical for these sorts of articles, Peters relies heavily on the basic “assault weapons” rhetoric.
Peters reminisces about his family and how oh-so-fond he is of firearms. He even takes care to let his readers know he’s a military man. But…
That’s how these all-too-familiar essays always turn. “I support the Second Amendment, but….”
“But I believe, on moral, practical and constitutional grounds, that no private citizen should own an automatic weapon or a semi-automatic weapon that can easily be modified for automatic effects.”
Keep in mind that every semi-automatic can be modified “for automatic effects.” Some of those modifications aren’t easy for everyone, but easy is a subjective term.
Peters’ own military history should give him a bit more insight into the absurdity of his argument. There’s nothing special about the AR-15. The platform has decent ergonomics, and a history of reliability. Yet there are many guns that are equally lethal, and many that are much more lethal.
Yet none attract the attention of the AR-15.
“These are military weapons,” he claims. “Their purpose is to kill human beings. They’re not used for hunting (unless you want to destroy the animal’s meat). They’re lousy for target shooting. But they’re excellent tools for mass murder.”
How many lies are there in that one paragraph? The AR-15 has a military heritage, of course, but the guns have evolved into excellent weapons for self defense. Lots of hunters rely on the AR platform, especially those who hunt hogs and coyotes. Well made ARs can be great target guns.
As for the “tools for mass murder,” comment…. We’ll give Peters that one. Yet the AR-15 is no more effective than other guns, vehicles, truck bombs, IEDs…. The list of effective tools of mass murder is long.
Rather than letting logic get in the way of a good rant, Peters changes his angle of attack. He moves on to attempt another close reading of the Second Amendment.
Before his readers can quibble with his constitutional scholarship, though, Peters (in the same paragraph, no less) attacks the NRA. “That ‘well regulated militia’ part always gets left out. It’s called the ‘National Guard’ and ‘the Reserves.’ Did any of the recent shooters belong to a ‘well regulated militia’?”
“As a matter of fact,” he continues, “I have not been able to identify a senior NRA executive who’s served in our military or in law enforcement — that’s patriotism for ya.”
The low point is Peters’ rhetorical question: “Does any serious-minded, morally centered reader believe that George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson or any of our other geniuses of freedom intended that a disturbed young man or a disgruntled employee or just a vicious drunk should be guaranteed the right to a personal arsenal of weapons designed for mass murder?”
Those “geniuses of freedom” had something else in mind, for sure. In addition to defining many personal liberties, they codified our right to self defense. Part of this was an obligation to defend the new country from threats both internal and external. But there were other implications.
We all have the right to self defense. We have every right to defend ourselves in the most expedient, most effective way we chose.
When a “a disturbed young man or a disgruntled employee or just a vicious drunk” attacks you or someone you love, you may respond with the absolute best tool available to stop the attack.
Lt. Col. Peters: "I support the Second Amendment… I'm a gun owner. I know guns. My family's a gun family going way back. But these weapons – AR-15 and similar weapons – are not for sporting purposes. You don't take them hunting because they're meant to tear bodies apart." pic.twitter.com/HsQZXnkmXq
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 24, 2018
Stopping the attack…. That brings us to our next point. Peters, in an interview with Fox, spins a defense of the Broward County Deputies who remained outside the building while the 19-year-old inside was shooting up the school. “They’re hearing that semi-automatic fire inside — pop, pop, pop, pop. It’s like going in there with bare hands.”
No. Actually, it isn’t like going in there with bare hands. Ask the teachers and students what it was like going against a murderer with a rifle with just their bare hands. They will tell you, I’m sure, what it was like–those who are still alive.
Shareblue.com, siding with Peters against the AR-15, quotes Heather Sher, a Florida radiologist. Sher treated victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
“The bullets fired by an AR-15 are different; they travel at higher velocity and are far more lethal. The damage they cause is a function of the energy they impart as they pass through the body. A typical AR-15 bullet leaves the barrel traveling almost three times faster than, and imparting more than three times the energy of, a typical 9mm bullet from a handgun. An AR-15 rifle outfitted with a magazine with 50 rounds allows many more lethal bullets to be delivered quickly without reloading.”
Without discounting Sher’s recent experience, the point she makes here are all selling points of the AR-15. In the hands of a madman, the gun is lethal. Yet it is also lethal for self defense.
What happened in the high school is a tragedy. It was also a crime. Every indication suggests that it was preventable. More than one agency dropped the ball. Warning signs were ignored. Security protocols weren’t followed. Peters, though, would like you to think that the violence was attributable to an inanimate object.