Setting the Record Straight on Firearms

Editor, News-Register:

Earlier this spring, there was a column written by Dr. Alan Ruben questioning the credibility of the NRA, and stating that one of their most effective tools is misinformation. Now, I’m not going to get into a debate about gun control with Dr. Ruben; that would be a waste of my time and his. I am just going to point out the hypocrisy of some of the statements he made in his column.

He talks about the NRA as being a serious lobbying group for the gun industry and how much money they receive from members and arms-related industries. Well, duh! You would think that a group that has the word “rifle” in its name would be associated with people and companies for and of that persuasion. Defending our Second Amendment rights is why we pay to be members of the NRA. He also states that several members of the NRA’s board of directors are executives in firearms companies. Now, that’s a real eye-opener. I suppose board members of the AMA (American Medical Association) are made up of truck drivers, coal miners and heavy equipment operators? No, more that half of them are MDs, and they have lobbyists, and they get millions of dollars to lobby our government with. That is what lobbyists do, and it’s legal. No nefarious conspiracy here, folks.

Dr. Ruben talks about the misinformation the NRA puts out. He cited the fact that a nominating committee member, George K. Kollitides, is chief executive officer of the Freedom Group that owns Bushmaster, the company that made the AR-15 military style assault rifle that was used in the Newtown tragedy. Herein lies Dr. Ruben’s misinformation. There was no AR-15 or any other assault type rifle used in Newtown. This was admitted by NBC. Pete Williams, NBC’s chief justice correspondent made the following report: “This continues to be a very complex investigation and there is a lot of contradicting information out there, but we have new information this morning (date of the shooting) from local officers. They say now there were four hand guns inside the school and apparently only hand guns were taken into the school. We know that Adam Lanza had an assault style rifle in the car he drove over there, his mother’s car, but we have been told by officers that he left it in the car.” The correspondent for NBC made it clear over and over again that he had confirmed this information. Now the report that there was an AR-15 in the trunk is in dispute as well. That is what you call misinformation, and it was made by Dr. Ruben.

Dr. Ruben is also misinformed about the ability of civilians to purchase assault rifles. Several months ago he had another rant about gun control in this paper. He stated as a fact that anyone could go into Cabela’s and purchase an assault rifle, not an assault style, but an assault rifle. First of all, Cabela’s does not sell this type of firearm. You cannot just buy a fully automatic rifle over the counter. You have to have a Class III Federal Firearms License to buy or to sell these weapons.

It’s federally regulated, not state. First, you have to find a transferable full auto weapon that you can buy. Then, you need to find a Class III dealer who can do the receiving for you. You’ll fill out your paperwork through that dealer, and it’ll be sent to the BATFE, along with the $200 for your tax stamp. Your application may be rejected at federal, state, or county level. If it goes through, you’ll receive your NFA Class III tax stamp, and will be able to take possession of your firearm. Importation of full auto firearms for civilian purchase ended in 1968, and domestic manufacture of full auto firearms for civilian purchase ended in 1986 (including imported firearms which had the appropriate number of parts replaced with US-made parts to not be considered an imported firearm). Licensed Class III dealers can obtain non-transferable firearms as dealer samples with a law enforcement letterhead approving the transfer, but these cannot be sold to individuals. So, if you’re expecting to get your tax stamp, then go out and pick up the latest AK-47, M-16 etc., in full auto form, sorry to break the news to you, but it’s not going to happen.

This is either more disinformation by Dr. Ruben or just plain ignorance of our gun laws. It’s okay to have a different view about something, everyone does, but don’t accuse them of not being credible or of using misinformation when you do it yourself. What does that make you?

Thomas Wasemann