South Carolina Carry, Inc. is aware that Beto O’Rourke kicked off his SC campaign tour in Rock Hill this morning. Several topics were addressed, including climate change, immigration, and gun control. Mr. O’Rourke readily admitted to consulting with representatives from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, but he has not reached out for information from gun groups, such as South Carolina Carry, Inc.
During his speech this morning, Mr. O’Rourke stated, "...we campaigned on this, that weapons, designed, engineered and sold to the United States military for the express purpose of killing people as effectively, efficiently, and in as great a number as possible, should not be sold any longer.”
This comment has no basis in fact. The AR-15 platform rifle has never been issued to the US military or any other military in the world. The AR-15 rifle does have legitimate uses, such as hunting, self-defense, and sport. The fact is, the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle is the most popular semi-automatic rifle in the country. They are legal and used for hunting in more than two-thirds of the country, particularly in hunting coyotes or hogs which travel in packs and often require multiple rapid follow-up shots. These firearms are used in sanctioned shooting events all around the country, from the Camp Perry Nationals to regional, state, and local multi-gun competitions.
In a recent request for proposal, the Department of Homeland Security specifically stated: "the AR-15 with 30-round magazines is uniquely well suited for personal self-defense." Just last summer, the DOJ openly & publicly admitted that the AR15 style platform is NOT an "assault weapon". Use of the terms "assault weapon", "military style", and other similar inflammatory language has been carefully selected by gun control groups, certain politicians, and the media to further their agenda. While we, as an organization, agree there needs to be a serious conversation about violent crime with firearms, we strongly feel that that conversation must be rooted in objective fact and truth. Unfortunately, Mr. O’Rourke comments today bear no resemblance to the truth. We urge Mr. O’Rourke to continue to educate himself on the facts surrounding this issue, including speaking with pro-Second Amendment groups as well as owners of AR-15s.
According to the 2017 FBI Uniform Crime Report, the most recent year with statistics for the full year, rifles of any type were documented to have been used in homicides 405 times. The AR-15 is a subset of that. Contrast that number with the use of personal weapons (hands, feet, fists, etc.) 696 times, blunt objects (clubs, hammers, bats, etc.) 467 times, and knives 1,591 times, and you can see they have been unfairly demonized.
Going back as far as 1989, the executive director of a major gun control group publicly bragged in an interview that it was his intention to take advantage of the public's confusion between an actual fully automatic machine gun and a semi-automatic firearm that looks similar in order to drum up support for a ban. This deceptive marketing practice continues to this day.