Firearms a Complete Unknown to Scribe at Rolling Stone

Posted on July 18, 2014

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We don’t expect reporters – even those who write for national, well-established magazines like Rolling Stone – to be experts on firearms. We would at least hope, however, that they would be experts on reporting. In the case of Kristen Gwynne and her editors, however, we can only scratch our heads and wonder if they are as new to journalism as they are to the firearm issue.

Antigun journalism for sure has its own conventions, and ignorance is a defining characteristic. But Gwynne manages to break new ground even in this regard. Her article, The Five Most Dangerous Guns in America promises to reveal to readers “the guns most often recovered from crime scenes and/or used in murders,” based on examinations of “trace data from the ATF, as well as FBI homicide records.”

Gun control advocates have long sought to portray certain firearms as more “deadly” or “dangerous” than others, and therefore more urgently in need of banning. Their efforts have focused on such things as concealability, rates of fire, magazine capacity, similarity to military arms, melting points and detectability of major components, calibers, how the firearm is gripped, how it is aimed, its ability to accept accessories, how it reacts to being dropped on a hard surface, and even its color scheme. Guns have been faulted for being too accurate, too inaccurate, too inexpensive, to user-friendly, too easy to carry, too easy to make, too easy to load, too quiet, and even too appealing to kids. We were interested, therefore, to see if Gwynne would be able to add to this list or to come up with some other defining characteristic of the guns chosen by criminals.

After exhaustively combing through the data, Gwynne finally determined that the five most dangerous firearms in America are (in descending order of dangerousness):

1. Pistols;

2. Revolvers;

3. Rifles;

4. Shotguns; and

5. Derringers.

In other words, the defining characteristic of a crime gun is that it falls within one of the major categories of firearms.

Based on these startling findings, we can thank Gwynne for at least two things.

First, she has created an endlessly amusing new internet meme where people reveal the five most dangerous types of something in categories that end up capturing every member of the larger group. The five most dangerous oceans, shockingly, are the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian, the Arctic, and the Antarctic. Meanwhile, the five most dangerous positions to play in basketball include center, point guard, shooting guard, power forward, and small forward. And the lists go on, including the five most dangerous whole numbers between one and five.

Second, she has found a creative way to reiterate a point that we often make ourselves, which is that it doesn’t matter what type of features, operating system, or capacity a firearm has. What matters is who is holding it and why.

That’s why, we can say with some confidence that the five firearms mostly commonly used by Americans in lawful self-defense and to exercise their Second Amendment rights include (in no particular order):

1. Pistols;

2. Revolvers;

3. Rifles;

4. Shotguns; and

5. Derringers.

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