It is hard to believe that Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC commentator) had the temerity to criticize the President for suggesting that teachers trained to use handguns could prevent school mass murders. Why is that, ask you? It’s hard to believe his temerity, answer I, because he doesn’t appear to know the first thing about guns, physics, or arithmetic!
In his diatribe he says that a concealed handgun would have been ineffective against a person armed with an AR 15. Why did he believe that, ask you? Because, answer I, according to Mr. O’Donnell, the bullet from an AR 15 travels at 3200 feet per second and “that’s three times faster than the speed of a bullet leaving the barrel of a 9mm handgun.” (You are permitted at this point to shake your head and say “Whaaaatttt?”)
It is true that muzzle velocity is related to barrel length. The shorter the barrel, the slower the muzzle velocity. The muzzle velocity of a 9mm handgun is 1247 feet per second – not “three times slower” than the AR 15, but I’ll allow that arithmetic miscalculation on Mr. O’Donnell’s part. However, assuming a likely shooting distance of 30 feet the 9mm bullet would reach its target in 2 one hundredths of a second. In the mind of Lawrence O’Donnell the slightly more than one hundredth of a second faster traverse time for the bullet from an AR 15 makes the handgun “ineffective.”
He goes on to say that an “AR 15 with a high-capacity magazine can fire maybe 90 or 100 bullets in a minute.” However “a concealable handgun can fire maybe 15 bullets in a minute.” Again, he is off by an astounding margin.
Let’s check Mr. O’Donnell’s notion that a handgun can fire “maybe 15 bullets in a minute.” As it turns out the Federal Bureau of Investigation tested this. The FBI study showed that a novice can fire three shots in less than a second, and a trained shooter can double that. That means an experienced hand gunner can fire off a 20-round magazine in 3.3 seconds. Reloading takes under two seconds. So that calculates to well over 200 rounds per minute. While it is true that modern semiautomatic weapons can discharge a round and load the next bullet into the chamber faster than even the nimblest of fingers can pull the trigger, the assailant with a semiautomatic rifle STILL MUST PULL THE TRIGGER FOR EACH DISCHARGE – just like a semiautomatic handgun.
The next important question Mr. O’Donnell should have researched is “how many rounds does it take to disable an armed person when using a 9mm handgun?” It turns out, Mr. O’Donnell, that this also has been studied. The author went over police reports on shootings and gathered the following information on the 9mm Luger handgun (the 9mm handgun is the weapon most commonly used to shoot an assailant):
- # of people shot – 456
# of hits – 1121
% of hits that were fatal – 24%
Average number of rounds until incapacitation – 2.45
% of people who were not incapacitated – 13%
One-shot-stop % – 34%
Accuracy (head and torso hits) – 74%
% actually incapacitated by one shot (torso or head hit) – 47%
So the average number of rounds needed to incapacitate a shooter was 2.45 rounds. A trained hand gunner can fire 6 rounds per second. Mr. O’Donnell, I realize you are arithmetically challenged, so I’ll help you. It is arithmetically possible to incapacitate or kill an armed assailant with an AR 15 in less than one second.
When one considers how many 9mm bullets are likely needed to disable or kill a person holding an AR 15 semiautomatic rifle (interestingly, the .22 short or long handgun has the lowest number of rounds required to disable an assailant), the muzzle velocity of a 9mm bullet, the number of rounds a trained shooter can fire in 3.3 seconds, well… Mr. O’Donnell’s argument about “handguns” versus “AR 15s” is idiotic.
Mr. O’Donnell should have read my post on this issue.
As well, the President wants trained individuals to confront a school shooter. These trained individuals would be confronting a kid with a gun, not James Bond. MSNBC needs better commentators that at least do their homework and can do simple arithmetic.
Please feel free to listen to this idiot yourself if you think I’m making this up: