Given the recent events in the US I decided to purchase this essay. I'm a big fan of Stephen King, admire his practical way of looking at things and I am aligned to him politically. I wanted to see what he had to say about this intractable problem of mass shootings in the USA.
I'm not exactly sure when he wrote this essay but he must be shaking his head right about now. I don't think any of the common sense legislation he proposes in this essay has gotten anywhere NEAR being passed into law. For the record he thinks there should be universal background checks, a limit on handgun magazine capacity (ten rounds) and a ban on assault weapons. Doesn't seem all that extreme to the casual observer, but as we know gun ownership issues in America are extremely fraught and at the time of writing (after TWO back-to-back mass shootings in Atlanta and Colorado) it seems its a Geordian knot that will never be untied.
That said, there are some issues of fact in this essay that kind of bothered me. The article is about guns, it's even called 'Guns', but Mr King makes two errors that are a puzzle, given that he's a gun-owner himself. Allow me to correct them here, purely for the sake of accuracy.
1. He refers to semi-automatics throughout and infers that these are somehow capable of more than one shot at a time. This is probably the most common error made by anyone writing about firearms, which seems to include MOST journalists. For the record, the civilian versions of AR-15 style semi-automatic rifles are NOT, repeat NOT, capable of firing more than one round at a time. You have to pull the trigger each time to fire a round. The military version that these rifles are based on, have the option of selecting a firing rate. You can fire either a single shot, a 3-round burst (burst mode) or go fully automatic. But this is NOT the case with the civilian versions of these rifles, unless they have been illegally modified, which is not that simple to do.
This applies equally to handguns. A semi-automatic pistol is capable of firing only one round at a time, albeit very rapidly. A single action pistol (think of a classic cowboy six-gun like a Colt Peacemaker) has to be cocked each time. A modern-day revolver is typically a double action pistol. You don't have to cock it, you can just pull the trigger until the cylinder is empty. It's called 'double action' because of the long pull involved, as opposed to the short trigger pull of a single action or semi-auto pistol, when it is cocked. It's complicated but its an important distinction to make.
2. He refers to Adam Lanza as having carried and presumably used a Glock 10 during his rampage at Sandy Hook. There is no such thing as a Glock 10 or .10. I am assuming he was thinking it was a Glock 10mm, which refers to the caliber of the pistol. At the time of writing there are two Glock 10mm pistols: the Glock 20 and the compact version, the Glock 31. Glock's first pistol was the Glock 17, named for its 17-round capacity magazine. Since then each new version of the Glock platform goes up one. If I'm not mistaken the latest from them is the Glock 48, a 10-round single-stack 9mm.