Debunking Myths About Assault Weapons

Myth #1: Assault Weapons Are Protected by the Second Amendment


In 2008, District of Columbia v. Heller affirmed:

“the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

Six US Courts of Appeal Reject Second Amendment Protection for Assault Weapons Using DC v. Heller

First Circuit

Worman v. Healey
Decided 04/05/2018 and 04/26/2019

“In fact, when asked directly, not one of the plaintiffs or their six experts could identify even a single example of the use of an assault weapon for home self-defense, nor could they identify even a single example of a self-defense episode in which ten or more shots were fired.”

Fourth Circuit

Kolbe v. Hogan
Decided 02/21/2017

Petition for certiorari denied by Supreme Court on 11/27/2017.  Writ of certiorari is a document which a losing party files with the Supreme Court to review the decision of a lower court. It includes a list of the facts of the case, the legal questions presented for review, and arguments as to why the court should grant the writ.

Seventh Circuit

Friedman v. City of
Highland Park, Illinois

Decided 04/27/2015

DC Circuit

Heller v. District of Columbia
Decided 10/04/2011

Myth #2: Assault Weapons are Not Weapons of War


Today’s Assault Weapons Retain the Military Features and Capabilities of the Standard Issue M16, Except for Slightly Dimished Rapid-Firing Capabilities

Developed for the military and field tested in Vietnam in 1962, reports indicated that “the very high-velocity AR-15 projectiles” had caused:

•  Amputations of limbs

•  Massive body wounds

•  Decapitations

Source: Kolbe v. Hogan

Who Needs Fully Automatic?

With a little practice, one can fire hundreds of bullets in minutes with a semi-automatic rifle, and reload very quickly as well.

Experts Agree: Semi-Auto Firing is More Accurate and Lethal

The average assault weapon is easily converted into a fully automatic weapon, however most “battle-seasoned veterans – including special operators – agree that semi-auto fire is highly effective.”

Myth #3: It’s Really a Mental Health Issue


Less than 1% of all yearly gun-related homicides are mass shootings by people with serious mental illness.

Detailed case analyses reveal that individuals who commit mass shootings often:

•  Feel aggrieved
•  Are extremely angry
•  Have nurtured fantasies of violent revenge

Such individuals function (perhaps marginally) in society and do not typically seek out mental health treatment.

Thus, in most cases, it cannot fairly be said that a perpetrator “fell through the cracks” of the mental health system. Rather, these individuals typically plan their actions well outside the awareness of mental health professionals.

“The risk factors for a mass shooting are shared by a lot of people who aren’t going to do it. If you paint the picture of a young, isolated, delusional young man ― that probably describes thousands of other young men. Even if we had a perfect mental health care system, that is not going to solve our gun violence problem.”
Dr. Jeffrey Swanson, Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine
Source: Myth vs Fact – Violence and Mental Health

Stopping a Person Who is Determined to Kill is Difficult

Curtailing the Ability of That Person to Get an Assault Weapon is Easier and Will Save More Lives


Louis Klarevas, PhD, Department of Global Affairs at the University of Massachusetts–Boston
Source: Rampage Nation – Securing America From Mass Shootings

Assault Weapons Turn Killers into Killing Machines

Thousands of people have been killed, even more thousands seriously wounded. The psychological damage to the victims, and their family and friends, certainly numbers in the tens of thousands.

When we pass a ban on Assault Weapons we will be helping to reduce the chance that Rhode Islanders will be the next to suffer a mass shooting.