More than seven years ago, Iraq War hero Benjamin M. Wassell became the first person to be criminally prosecuted under New York State's SAFE Act, a controversial gun control law that has been applauded by advocates for victims of violent crimes but attacked by defenders of the right to bear arms.
State Police arrested Wassell, of Silver Creek, after alleging that he sold two semiautomatic "assault weapons" to an undercover investigator. Wassell, who suffered a brain injury from the explosion of an improvised bomb in Iraq, claimed he was confused by differing information that people gave him about the SAFE Act.
A Ruger AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, center, the same model, though in gray rather than black, used by the shooter in a Texas church massacre two days earlier, sits on display with other rifles on a wall in a gun shop Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Lynnwood, Wash. (Associated Press/Elaine Thompson)
A new bill introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives would require a significant number of state residents own "at least one" AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with the help of a hefty tax break — except it won't ever get off the ground.
How did one man commit the largest mass shooting in modern American history, killing 58 people hundreds of yards away and injuring more than half a thousand in 11 minutes? All it took was the $50,000 or more that he spent to amass more small-arms firepower than a line infantry squad.
I was about 16, helping out with a beach demonstration of operator gadgets at the Navy UDT/SEAL Museum in South Florida, when a SEAL vet gave me and my friends a chance to shoot a full-automatic weapon for the first time: blank rounds from a belt-fed M-60. Each of us stepped up, grunted under the bulk of the machine gun, felt the upward jerk of the muzzle as it burped hot anger toward the surf, and said to ourselves: My God, this rocks.