Columbia Mall shooting: Dubious claims from the anti-gun lobby

DeMarco makes false connection with Maryland's new gun law

January 27, 2014|By Mark Newgent

Vinny DeMarco, a progressive lobbyist for sin taxes and gun control issued this disingenuous and misleading statement on the tragic shooting at the Mall in Columbia this past weekend. 

Marylanders To Prevent Gun Violence joins all Marylanders and Americans in holding in our prayers the victims of yesterday's shootings at the Columbia Mall. We also commend the Howard County police and other first responders for the great and heroic work they did yesterday to save lives. Based on what we know, this tragedy could have been much worse. The shooter bought the shotgun he used at a gun store in Rockville, MD in Decemeber [sic] of 2013. This was after Maryland's new Firearm Saftey [sic] Act of 2013 went into effect on October 1. As a result, the shooter was not able to buy an assault weapon or a magazine that could fire more than 10 bullets at one time. We will never know how many lives were saved because he could not buy an assault weapon such as an AK-47.  We hope this will inspire other states and the federal government to also ban these weapons of mass destruction.

A close read of this statement reveals either one of two things.  Vinny the gun grabber has no idea how the guns he banned actually work, or he is deliberately misleading the public. 

The weapon police say Darion Marcus Aguilar used to murder Brianna Benlolo and Tyler Johnson was a Mossburg 12-gauge pistol grip shotgun, loaded with shot.  Shot is not a bullet, as DeMarco would have you believe.  Shot, as opposed to bullets, are small balls or pellets blasted in a wide range.  Reporting from the Washington Post indicates that Aquilar used shot ammunition because one of the five people injured in was hit by stray buckshot.

 DeMarco is conflating the two types of ammunition.  Shotguns don’t use magazines to hold ammunition.  That’s like saying football is played with a hockey puck.

Furthermore, his use of the terms “AK-47” and “assault weapon” are meant to put the image of a fully automatic machine gun in the mind of the reader. 

Of course, fully automatic machine guns or assault rifles have been banned in the United States since the 1934 National Firearms Act. 

Vinny is correct that the semi-automatic variant of AK-47 was banned by the Firearm Safety Act of 2013.  However, the term semi-automatic means one trigger pull, one shot. 

Even if state law did not ban the semi-automatic AK-47, it wouldn’t be able to “fire more than 10 bullets at one time,” as DeMarco would have you believe, because a semi-automatic can only fire one shot at a time, not 10. 

DeMarco also leaves out the fact that Maryland’s gun law wouldn’t have stopped Aguilar from bringing crude, improvised explosive devices to the mall.

The fact of the matter is that the Maryland Firearms Safety Act did not save a single life that tragic Saturday morning. 

--Mark Newgent has contributed commentary to The Washington Examiner and National Review Online, and he is an frequent guest on WBAL Radio. His posts appear here regularly via Red Maryland, which has strived to be the premier blog and radio network of conservative and Republican politics and ideas in the free state since 2007.

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