By Gary Sexton

The anti gun zealots are out in full force once again promising the American people safety and security in exchange for freedom. They are promising that if we give up some of our 2nd amendment rights, they in turn will protect us from those who want to harm us.

But at what cost and what is their definition of “protect”?

The Broward County Sheriff’s Department that was screaming for gun control just moments after the Florida shooting is the same department that remained outside the school when the shooting commenced. They are also the same department that made over 30 prior visits to the shooter's house without any action taken.

The FBI ignored phone calls to their office warning that this guy was going to explode. “I know he’s going to explode,” a woman who knew Mr. Cruz told the FBI, adding that he might resort to slipping “into a school and just shooting the place up.” There was no follow up investigation on the warning.

There is a 67 percent rate of recidivism for violent offenders in the United States, yet the justice system continues to grant paroles to these violent offenders. The anti-gun rhetoric is so dishonest it makes me suspicious of motive. The left’s panacea for violence is always directed at gun owners' rights. They refuse to let nasty little facts about gun violence get in the way. For example, the leading cause of death on school campuses is not guns. It’s not even second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth. The leading cause of death on school campuses is transportation. Thirty-six percent of on-campus school deaths are caused by vehicles — 2,136 vehicle deaths from 1998 until 2015. In that same time frame there were 67 deaths caused by active shooters, or less than four percent.

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) there are 96 Americans per day killed by firearms. That averages out to nearly two per state per day. Sixty-two percent of those fatalities are self-inflicted, however. There are 241 alcohol-related deaths in America everyday, more than twice the number of gun deaths. It would be interesting to see how many gun deaths are alcohol-related.

There are 3,635 murders in America per year by objects other than guns. This includes knives, clubs, blunt objects, etc. According to FBI statistics there are far more homicides committed with utilitarian objects than assault rifles.

For people unfamiliar with firearms it is easy to jump on the anti-assault rifle bandwagon. Here are some facts about assault rifles that the media misreport on a daily basis. For full disclosure I personally  have no affinity for assault rifles. I think they are impractical and ugly and I don’t own one.  I also prefer butter pecan at DJs over any other ice cream . . . but so what. Take the following quiz and see how you do.

True or False

• Assault weapons are automatic weapons.

• Assault weapons use special ammunition to make them more lethal.

• Assault weapons can shoot faster and more powerfully than hunting rifles.

• Assault weapons are illegal to own.

• Unlike hunting rifles, assault weapons “spray” bullets randomly.

• Most killings and mass murders involve assault weapons.

• The AR in AR15 stands for assault rifle.

All of the above statements are 100 percent false. I’m not surprised when I hear MSNBC or CNN making these claims but Fox News is struggling with the facts also.

Fact number one: AR-15s are semi-automatic rifles just like many hunting rifles — only one shot for each trigger pull. It’s illegal for citizens to own automatic weapons unless you have a special license, which is rare.

Fact number two: AR-15s usually employ .223-caliber ammunition. This ammunition is common among hunters, especially coyote hunters. The ammo for these guns is no different than any other gun.

Fact number three: You can’t shoot an AR 15 any faster than a Remington 742 deer rifle. Technically speaking, they are less powerful than most deer rifles.

It is legal to own assault rifles. It was illegal from 1994-2004, but that ban has been lifted.

Assault rifles do not randomly “spray” bullets any more than a Remington 742 “sprays” bullets.

According to the FBI’s crime statistics, more people are killed with knives than are killed with assault rifles.

The AR in AR-15 actually stands for Armalite Rifle, the name of a gun company.

I have no problem with honest discourse on firearms. But when I’m being told I need to give up a constitutional right by using rhetoric and sensational exaggerations and blatant lies for my own protection, I once again pause and wonder about motives. I wonder how many Hollywood elites screaming for more gun control would be willing to control the violence they portray on the screen with these same guns. I wonder how many video game makers are willing to ban guns from their video games. I wonder how many congressmen would be willing to be much more restrictive on alcohol sales in order to reduce the number of alcohol deaths per year. There were over 42,000 opioid overdose deaths last year in the U.S. I wonder how long it will take Congress to act on the epidemic of prescribed opioids that cause way more deaths than assault rifles.

Thomas Jefferson, in his Commonplace book wrote, “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."

Opinions expressed in Guest Viewpoints are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of the Independent Herald. Submit a guest column by emailing newsroom@ihoneida.com. Alternatively, submit a letter to the editor by emailing bgarrett@ihoneida.com.

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