Interesting, in light of his previous statement, Ive never seen this type of event in the 33 years Ive been down here. So which is it? What exactly does running into guns at a much higher rate mean, guns possessed by whom? The chief should release all relevant data to the public, for he needs to do some explaining.
The term assault rifle was coined by the military to describe rifles of intermediate caliber that could fire single shots or fully automatic (i.e. a machine gun) at the flip of a switch, like the M-16. Machine guns are restricted by the National Firearms Act of 1934, and are extremely difficult for a private citizen to own, so theyre presumably not what Citty meant.
Machine guns are rare, but semiautomatic guns, which fire one shot at a time, have been popular with the public for a century. While their appearance has changed, their basic operation has not, and they have not acquired some magical destructive power in the last two decades.
Whats changed is groups like the Violence Policy Center, losing support for banning handguns, created a new bogeyman by applying the term assault weapon to various semiautomatic guns based on vague, ever-shifting criteria. Features like folding stocks and bayonet lugs suddenly gave semiautomatic guns a mysterious bullet-spraying ability, but this failed to endear them to criminals, as various FBI studies showed the newly defined assault weapons to be used in less than 1 percent of violent crimes, before, during and after the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.
The term assault rifle has become meaningless. It was used to describe the AR-15 Hector Escalante used to attack Officer Lawson, as well as the AR-15 Officer Lawson had in her cruiser, but couldnt reach. Yes, Katie Lawson actually had more firepower at her disposal than her attacker. She was nearly killed not because she was outgunned, but because she was suddenly ambushed at close range in the darkness. And Escalante nearly got himself killed by Lawsons quick response with her sidearm that drove him off before he finished shooting.
Chief Citty expressed dismay about being unable to trace the rifle from its legal sale at a Tulsa gun store to Escalantes hands. Considering that both the suspect and the rifle, covered with the suspects fingerprints, are in custody, its not clear what Citty hopes to accomplish.
I dont quite understand why we dont require some form of title like we do when we purchase a vehicle for somebody. It would benefit law enforcement tremendously when the guns are stolen or used illegally, Chief Citty opined. How, exactly? After all, no one ever fakes license forms, and no ones identity is ever stolen. And a family that conspires to murder a police officer over a drunken-driving beef would naturally comply with bureaucratic paperwork.
Chief Cittys statements were loudly cheered by City Councilmen Sam Bowman and Pete White, which may explain his actions. The vast majority of firearm owners never committed a crime, and never will. Imposing restriction after restriction on them wont hinder a criminal at all. Indeed, focusing on the former suggests youre not serious about the latter.
Smith, a Yukon resident, is associate editor for Oklahoma Rifle Association's Sharpshooter magazine.