|Josh Moore holds his totally not-an assault rifle|
Shawn Moore, an NRA-certified firearms trainer and licensed hunter, recently stirred up some controversy when he gave his son, Josh, a .22 calibre rimfire rifle for his birthday and posted the photo on Facebook.
Someone who saw the photo called their local child welfare service office, who in turn sent an official to investigate, which left Shawn Moore ripping mad. Moore called an attorney to help set the record straight.
"Just because it has a sexy look to it does not make (the gun) an assault firearm," said Evan Nappen, Moore's attorney. "
We have heard this argument, relentlessly from the NRA and their ilk in the weeks after Newtown. How dare anybody attack a poor, defenseless rifle, based on how the thing looks?
Sorry, but a semi-automatic rifle with a pistol grip is an assault rifle, no matter how you look at it. Here's why.
This is the the 9mm High Point-carbine semi-automatic that Eric Harris used to commit his assault at Columbine High School on April 20th, 1999. It looks very nondescript. It doesn't have the same, military-style look as an AR-15, or Josh Moore's .22 Calibre rimfire. But it does have a pistol grip.
This is Dave Sanders, a teacher and softball coach at Columbine High School.
In the security video tape of the massacre, he is seen running up the stairs, towards the classrooms, rather than outside the school. After directing hundreds of students in the cafeteria to safety, Sanders ran towards the classrooms, most likely to help warn others.
Eric saw Dave Sanders running towards the classrooms. With one hand firmly on the rifle's pistol grip, Eric was was able to quickly aim and fire not once, not twice, but three times at Dave Sanders.
The first two shots hit Sanders in the back; the third ripped through his neck and exited his face. He stumbled into a nearby classroom, where students saw their teacher vomit his own blood and teeth. Terrified to venture into the hallway, the students admitted whatever first aid they could, while another wrote on a whiteboard: ONE BLEEDING TO DEATH In hopes to get professional medical help.
But the professional help never came--not in time. By the time medical help did arrive, it was too late. Dave Sanders was dead.
One bled to death. Because the rifle had a pistol grip, Harris was ready to accurately aim and fire repeatedly in a matter of seconds. Harris' sawed of shotgun, or Dylan Klebold's Tec-9 handgun, would have been unlikely to deliver three fatal wounds at long range.
It's not cosmetic. It's a feature. To a soldier in an army, a pistol grip has a benefit. Sadly, it has a benefit to a homicidal maniac as well.
So let's not give whiny critics of gun safety an inch in this regard. Not now, not ever. A pistol grip is not about how it looks, but what it does.