California Governor Gavin Newsom described commonly owned civilian semiautomatic rifles in sharp terms Monday, after one was used in a mass shooting in Gilroy, California.
Governor Newsom said that the semi-auto rifle was a “G** damn weapon of mass destruction.”
Santino Legan, 19, used a WASR10 semiautomatic rifle to kill 4 and wound 12 at a garlic food festival in northern California. The WASR10 is a “sporterized” AK-47 style rifle, a rough equivalent to the AK of an AR-15 to the military M16 rifle. Like the AR, it only has semi-auto fire capability, separating it from a true military-style assault rifle such as the AK-47 or M16.
The WASR10 is designated as an assault rifle under California law and banned, insofar as it includes a pistol grip and 30-round magazine. However, the shooter simply traveled to Nevada to buy a WASR from a Nevada gun shop, revealing the state’s laws to be simply ineffective when it comes to stopping malevolent and criminal individuals from buying rifles.
Speaking to reporters at a Santa Clara hospital, Newsom said that “you can’t put borders up, speaking of borders, to a neighboring state where you can buy this damn stuff legally. How in the hell is that possible? I have no problem with the 2nd Amendment, you have a right to bear arms but not weapons of goddamned mass destruction.”
Referring to a civilian rifle as a ‘weapon of mass destruction’ is dramatic at best, and dishonest at worst. Newsom seemed totally oblivious to the reality that the weapon used in the shooting was already illegal under California law, instead choosing to blame the federal government for failing to ban such firearms nationally.
2020 Was a Record Year for Gun Sales
Americans will not abandon their gun rights.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation reported that 2020 was a record-setting year with over 21 million background checks conducted on gun sales.
In a press release that was published on January 4, 2020, Mark Oliva, the director of public affairs, stated:
“This record year surpassed 2019’s totals by 60 percent and the previous record of 2016 by 34 percent. NSSF estimates that more than 8.4 million people legally purchased a firearm for the first time in 2020.
This occurred under the most challenging of circumstances. Law-abiding Americans demanded to exercise their right to lawfully purchase, keep and bear arms. Some governors, mayors and even Members of Congress actively stood in the way of that and didn’t relent until faced with court action. At the same time, workers in these firearm and ammunition factories, distributors, retailers and ranges made adjustments to keep their workforce safe and protected from infection while keeping pace with the demand of the American public. That’s a testament to the determination of the American worker that makes our freedoms possible.”
The overload of the National Instant Check System (NICS) shows how serious Americans are about defending themselves in times of unrest.
Oliva recognizes that Americans will still be buying firearms in large quantities.
“Retail shelves are still sparse, telling us there is still a strong demand and that elevated levels of firearm sales could continue for some time,” Oliva noted.
On top of 2020 being a record year for firearm sales, December 2020 turned out to be the busiest month in NICS history. According to Cam Edwards of Bearing Arms, 3,937,066 background checks were processed in December. According to estimates adjusted by the NSSF, roughly 1,906,916 firearms were sold in December. This represented a 22.7% increase compared to December 2019.
While there’s a lot to be anxious about, one thing remains clear: Americans still want to stay armed. The Left can deny this reality all they want, but any overzealous effort to regulate the right to bear arms will be met with fierce resistance.
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