The article in your January issue regarding the Second Amendment Sanctuary Movement included several misleading statements comparing hunting rifles with rifles, such as most AR-15s, that would be banned under a proposed Virginia law.
Before going further, I should state that I own a 30.06 hunting rifle, a 50-caliber muzzleloader for hunting, a 12-gauge shotgun, and a couple of 22-caliber rifles. I hunt and I am certainly not anti-gun.
The caption under the picture of three AR-15s and a bolt-action hunting rifle states that the hunting rifle can deal two or three times the damage of the AR-15s but would not be banned because it is a bolt-action instead of semi-automatic. That is both incorrect and misleading. The reason that the hunting rifle would not be banned is because it holds only four bullets, not because it is bolt-action rather than semi-automatic. The proposed legislation bans only weapons with a capacity in excess of 10 rounds.
While it may be true that a single shot from the hunting rifle would do more damage than a single shot from the AR-15 because the bullet in the hunting rifle is larger, the hunting rifle holds only four bullets, while an AR-15 with a detachable magazine can hold 30. It only takes one shot to kill. Which would you rather face, a bad guy who had to stop and reload after four shots, or one who could continue shooting for 30 rounds?
The article lists the features targeted by the proposed ban, such as folding or telescoping stock, pistol grip, thumbhole stock, flash suppressor, or magazine capacity greater than ten rounds and then states that these are the same features favored by hunters. That is simply wrong. Hunting rifles hold four or five bullets, and I don’t know of any hunters who use a pistol grip, flash suppressor, or any of the other features listed.
Sawed-off shotguns have been illegal for over 50 years because they are designed to kill people in confined spaces. Guns used to hunt migratory birds (such as ducks and geese) are limited to a maximum of threeshots. Again, this restriction has been in place over 50 years. Those restrictions did not mean that the feds were coming to take my gun away and did not create the mass hysteria we see today. The currently proposed restrictions don’t either.
Editor’s Note: SB16 proposed a ban on semi-automatic weapons with certain features such as large magazines, but did not address bolt-action weapons. Under SB16, no bolt-action rifle would be banned regardless of magazine size.