During the February 21 CNN Town Hall, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) indicated that the he wants to ban over 200 different rifles in response to last week’s Florida school shooting.
The Florida school shooter, Nikolas Cruz, used an AR-15, so Nelson wants to ban semiautomatic Kalashnikov’s too.
Nelson stood during the town hall and said:
The bill that I have co-sponsored defines very specifically “assault rifle.” It lists 200 different “assault rifles.” It lists, for example, the Kalashnikov AK-47 that, did you know, is manufactured in [Florida]. Did you know that the state of Florida, the Governor’s office, gave financial incentives for them to come into the state and manufacture?
I’ll tell you another [gun] that is listed in that list of over 200 rifles. It is the Sig Sauer MCX. That is the one that Omar Mateen, despite the fact that he had been on the terrorist watch list and was off, went into a gun shop and purchased that high powered “assault rifle.” And on that list it also includes the AR-15. And did you know, that the state of Florida, the Governor’s office, gave financial incentives for the Colt company to come to [Florida] to manufacture AR-15s.
Notice Nelson’s quiet admission that Omar Mateen was not on a terrorist watch list when he bought his rifle at a gun shop. In other words, Mateen legally purchased his rifle, but Nelson is trying to build momentum for terror watch list gun control instead of admitting that background checks are impotent to stop determined attackers.
Breitbart News reported that Sen. Nelson took time on February 15 and 16 to claim the AR-15 is “not for hunting” but for killing. Because of this, he intimated that AR-15 does not enjoy Second Amendment protections.
But ATF Associate Deputy Director Ronald Turk says the AR-15 is “now the standard for hunting activities.” In fact, Turk says the use of AR-15s for hunting is so widespread that the ATF should revisit previous studies on the gun and amend them.
On January 20, 2017, the Washington Post published a “White Paper” wherein Turk wrote:
The use of AR-15s, AK-style, and similar rifles now commonly referred to as “modern sporting rifles” has increased exponentially in sport shooting. These firearm types are now standard for hunting activities. ATF could re-examine its 20-year-old study to bring it up to date with the sport shooting landscape of today, which is vastly different than it was years ago.
Nelson seeks to ban over 200 rifles due to the criminal misuse of one rifle, an AR-15, on February 14. Along the way he makes claims about the AR-15 that are demonstrably false.