The dominance of semiautomatic pistols has greatly increased the firepower in civilian hands. Not only are semiautomatic pistols capable of rapid fire, they utilize high-capacity ammunition magazines and can be quickly reloaded. The combination of these features makes semiautomatic pistols efficient killing machines.
A clear majority -- two thirds -- of Americans don't have guns in their homes. Almost four out of five Americans don't personally own a gun. And as the gun-owning population continues to age and die off, fewer Americans are taking their place. These numbers terrify the NRA and their "corporate partners" in the gun industry but should offer hope for the majority of Americans.
The gun industry knew this new breed of assault pistol could trigger restrictions on specific types of ammunition that are considered armor-piercing when used in a handgun, but it moved ahead anyway, driven by the need to create new, militarized market categories in the face of declining household gun ownership. Now they are attempting to rewrite history.
You know that something's up in the gun business when Rush Limbaugh starts talking about gun control. And what he was talking about this past week was the decision by the ATF to create a new standard for exempting certain kinds of so-called 'armor-piercing' bullets from the ban that Congress placed on such ammo in 1986.
Much will be said in the coming days about how successful advocates have been in achieving their goals since 12/14. And make no mistake: Given the opposition we face, we cannot expect to win overnight. The NRA, a trade association for the gun industry masquerading as a shooting sports foundation, has worked for decades to block any policy that could negatively affect the industry's bottom line. They've taken tens of millions of dollars in donations from gun companies that care more about increased profits than protecting public safety. But over the long term, it's important to know that the NRA represents an industry on the decline. Newtown and other recent mass shootings have greatly increased public awareness of gun violence, helping spur a growing grassroots movement in favor of action that shows no sign of slowing down.