Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – The Virginia Beach shooter killed 12 and put at least 4 others in hospital being operated on for their injuries. He shot up the municipal offices where he had been a utilities engineer until being fired recently.
He had a long gun but appears to have done most of his damage with a .45 caliber semi-automatic hand gun for which he had stockpiled magazines.
The gun lobby and the Republican Party have made it so that just being an innocent civilian in the United States exposes us to the sort of dangers soldiers face in war, of being sniped at or attacked with semi-automatic weapons.
After a far right wing, pro-Trump white nationalist gunman in New Zealand shot to death 50 persons at mosques on March 15 using semi-automatic weapons, the New Zealand legislature under the leadership of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern banned most of them.
The law does allow semi-automatic .22 caliber hand guns that have magazines with 5 bullets but no more. It outlaws .45 caliber guns and outlaws those with capacious magazines, and also outlaws attachments that can expand the number of rounds a magazine is capable of feeding into the gun.
In other words, the kind of semi-automatic pistol used by the Virginia Beach shooter is now illegal in New Zealand.
Wikipedia informs us that “caliber is the specified nominal internal diameter of the gun barrel bore regardless of how or where the bore is measured and whether or not the finished bore matches that specification. … For example, a ‘.45 caliber’ firearm has a barrel diameter of roughly 0.45 inches (11 mm).”
A higher caliber barrel allows a gun to fire larger and more destructive bullets.
A gun is semi-automatic when a magazine can be attached to it that feeds another bullet into the barrel chamber after the previous one was fired.
A semi-automatic gun is not a machine gun, where the shooter presses the trigger continuously and it keeps firing.
The shooter of a semi-automatic has to keep pulling the trigger to fire. However, the magazine for a Glock 21, e.g., can hold as many as 13 bullets in the magazine that are continuously fed into the gun. Attachments allow magazines to hold 30 bullets. Magazines are easy and quick to eject and replace.
The gun lobby attempts to imply that since semi-automatic weapons are not fully automatic, they aren’t somehow very, very dangerous. Of course they are.
A revolver typically has 6 bullets in the chambers of a cylinder. After those six, the shooter has to reload one by one and would become vulnerable at that point to being rushed.
There is not any reason for most Americans to have a military-style Glock, a weapon initially developed for the Austrian army in the early 1980s. People who want a hand gun for legitimate purposes could fulfill them with a revolver or with a small caliber semi-automatic with a low-capacity magazine, of the sort New Zealand now allows to farmers who need to kill small animals.
The US gun industry is a $28 billion a year business.
In comparison, the whole US film industry has only $42 billion in annual revenues.
Most congressmen can be bought for a few thousand dollars, and the corrupt American political system allows them to be so bought. That is the difference between New Zealand and the US. New Zealand’s political system may have its problems, but most politicians who behaved there as they do in the US would go to jail for taking bribes. As Taito Phillip Field.