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The truth of the matter is that there is no such thing as an “assault weapon.” The term was coined by a gun-control zealot in the 1980s, and it refers to any firearm that looks like a military gun that the media, politicians and improperly educated people would like to ban.

Assault weapons, no matter how dishonestly or loudly any politician tries to claim otherwise, are not more powerful than deer rifles; they bear roughly half the power. They do not have more range than a deer rifle; they have roughly half the range. They do not have more firepower; they put far fewer projectiles in the air than even a common shotgun.

People in positions of power loudly and aggressively are trying to sell their lies.

The misuse and misinterpretation of study findings has become a common tactic of anti-gun politicians because they know that the 1994 ban had no real impact on crime. In one of the frequent moments of candor that make his allies cringe, Vice President Joe Biden admitted as much in an online forum Jan. 24, saying, “It is true that the vast majority of gun deaths in America are not a consequence of the use of an assault weapon” and that a ban “is not an answer to all the problems.”

Nonetheless, Biden claimed the ban is a “rational limitation” because in his opinion, people concerned about self-defense should just use double-barrel shotguns, anyway.

In announcing the bill, Sen. Diane Feinstein misrepresented the effectiveness of past semi-auto bans. For example, she claimed that Maryland’s “assault pistol” ban had reduced crime. But in Maryland, the murder trend after the state passed its ban on so-called “assault pistols” was far worse than in the rest of the country.

Similarly, in California, during the first five years after passage of the state’s 1989 “assault weapon” ban, the state’s murder rate increased 26 percent, compared to an 11 percent increase in the rest of the country. During the first five years after California expanded the ban starting in 2000, the state’s murder rate increased 10 percent, compared to a 6 percent decrease in the rest of country.

According to the FBI’s annual crime statistics, the number of murders committed annually with hammers and clubs far outnumbers the number of murders committed with a rifle.

For example, in 2011, there was 323 murders committed with a rifle but 496 murders committed with hammers and clubs. Another interesting fact: According to the FBI, nearly twice as many people are killed by hands and fists each year than are killed by murderers who use rifles.

The bottom line: A rifle ban is as illogical as it is unconstitutional. We face far greater danger from individuals armed with carpenters’ tools and a caveman’s stick.

Mass murders are tragic and, fortunately, rare. There is no data to support the notion that reinstating an AWB will prevent further tragedies. In fact, two of the largest mass murders in US history, the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center towers and Pentagon, and the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing did not even involve firearms.

Sadly, there is precious little we can do to prevent these types of attacks. There are people in this country who somehow think passing another law banning guns would protect us from someone like this. The only people that a gun ban law would impact are law-abiding citizens, which will only serve to cripple the ability to protect ourselves.

You will notice that most multiple-victim shootings occur in “gun-free zones” — even within states that have concealed-carry laws: public schools, churches, Sikh temples, post offices, movie theaters, malls. Guns were banned in all these places. Mass killers may be crazy, but they’re not stupid.

We need more productive discussion on things like enhancing school security and improving our mental health system. Look into the violence our children are easily exposed to with our pop culture. We need to enforce the existing laws already on the books.

Hans Svane, Waldorf