Rolling Stone is a high quality rag, for sure. Earlier this week, they told us how to beat the NRA. Now Kristen Gwynne is out to make sure the populace knows just how dangerous guns can be. Five guns to be specific. So—inquiring minds want to know—what are the five most dangerous guns in America?
Let’s begin with Gwynne’s premise. “Contrary to what those who defend the right to own high-powered assault rifles believe, not all guns are created equal.”
As the Editor-in-Chief of GunsAmerica, I take issue with anyone who claims all guns are created equal. But I’ll let that slide. Gwynne was about to tell us about the most dangerous guns.
“Using firearm trace data from the ATF, as well as FBI homicide records, we determined the types of guns most often recovered from crime scenes and/or used in murders.”
Wait. Firearms types? It’s bush-league pshyc-out stuff. The title clearly said The Five Most Dangerous Guns.
“Popular among handgun-owners, pistols are defined by their built-in barrel and short stock.” This is some good information. Pistols have built in barrels and short stocks. Pistols are popular with handgun-owners. I’ll let Gwynne in on a well-kept secret that she completely missed; pistols are even more popular with pistol owners.
Before you question the integrity of Gwynne’s investigative approach, consider this. She spent at least enough time on Wikipedia to procure this gem: “One of the most popular pistols is the Glock, a short-recoil operated, semi-automatic pistol produced by Glock Ges.m.b.H. in Deutsch-Wagram, Austria. Glocks comprise 65 percent of the market share of handguns for United States law enforcement agencies and are also frequently used by international law-enforcement.”
I’m not implying that GLOCKs are responsible for murders. It was Gwynne that chose to juxtapose the data on homicide and the popularity of GLOCKs with law enforcement.
In case you’ve never seen a gun, Gwynne offers an explanation of intricate firearms nomenclature. “Revolvers,” Gwynne notes, “named for their rotating chambered cylinder, placed second in the ATF’s ranking of guns found at crime scenes….”
Don’t get confused by the rotation of a simple cylinder, firearms noobs. Stick with Gwynne. She knows her guns. “Some grenade launchers, shotguns, and rifles also have rotating barrels[sic], but the term “revolver” is generally used to describe handguns.”
I’ve been dying to get my hands on a rifle with rotating barrels.
“Pulling the trigger of a rifle fires one projectile at the intended target, as opposed to the shotgun’s ability to spray. According to FBI latest publicly available homicide records, in 2012 rifles were used to murder more than 320 people.”
More than 320 people? How many more? By God, the number could be astronomical? Is it millions? Tens of millions?
Whew. Fists killed 678. Blunt objects killed 518. No doubt those blunt objects were the short stocks on Gwynne’s pistols. Many, if not all, of those 678 people beaten to death were beaten by fists that were holding guns. That’s how dangerous these things are.
Sorry. I was so swayed by the insight of the Rolling Stone piece that I got off track. I’m back now. And I’m still learning. Look what Gwynne has to say about the origin of long guns.
“Rifles were created to improve the accuracy of smoothbore muskets, for which the musket ball was often an [sic] bad fit due to manufacturing complications. Accurate and easy-to-aim, rifles are now the most common hunting weapon.”
Musket ball manufacturing complications? Note to Rolling Stone: that would make a great band name.
Gwynne looses me with her technical understanding of shotguns. After offering up more on how a shotgun sprays, she notes, “the explosive that creates the energy to fire the gun occurs in the fixed shell of a shotgun rather than the metallic cartridge of a rifle.” The fixed shell. It must have been broke and she done fixed it, as they say in the parlance of the South.
So there we have it. Pistols, revolvers, rifles, and shotguns. Did she miss anything? The title promises five, so she has to fill it out. Is there a fifth type? Yes.
#5 The derringer
One of the most deadly machines known to man, the derringer remains a popular way to carry two deadly rounds hidden beneath the crinoline of your hoopskirt.
Rolling Stone. Time well spent.
Is there a light at the end of Gwynne’s tunnel of exhaustively investigated hoplophobia? Maybe. After spending so much time on Wikipedia, I think Gwynne might be coming around. The article’s conclusion is almost an apology for the very real fact that “high-capacity-magazine assault weapons” are not as evil as some would like to portray.
“While high-capacity-magazine assault weapons have bee [sic] linked to large numnber [sic] of mass shootings over the past 30 years, varying definitions of ‘assault’ rifles make comprehensive information difficult to access. We do know, however, that assault weapons — loosely categorized as semi-automatic, rapid-fire weapons designed for combat use — are used in a small minority of homicides and other gun crimes.”
We can’t know how deadly these guns are because we can’t access any comprehensive information. It is just too difficult. The varying definitions form an impenetrable wall. I’ve tried to figure out what a high-capacity-magazine assault weapon is, and it is futile. Yet criminology professors, writing in the journal “Homicide Studies,” determined that “assault weapons” were present in only 24.6% of these shootings. It is understandable that Gwynne wouldn’t have access to such information, though. I had to click on two whole links to access an actual academic study published in a peer-reviewed journal. That is a stark number of clicks.
What did Gwynne miss?
Let’s help Gwynne keep up this level of investigative journalism. What would you suggest? I can see several glaring gaps in this list. I mean why stop at five types of guns? She’s completely ignored the dangers of Punt Guns. There’s no mention whatsoever of Starter Pistols. Despite the long trail of bloody corpses, Gwynne’s given a pass to Nerf.