Lawrence O'Donnell Hammertime

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell Doesn’t Know How Guns Work

Lawrence O’Donnell thinks muzzle velocity matters when it comes to stopping school shooters armed with AR-15s.

All the hammering has gone to his head.

In a segment on his show, The Last Word, O’Donnell rebuffed President Trump’s suggestion to provide firearms training to school teachers, dismissing it as “fantasy,” adding that the velocity of a bullet fired from an AR-15 would outmatch any bullet fired from a handgun.

“A bullet fired from an AR-15 travels 3x faster than one from a handgun,” read the MSNBC tweet promoting his segment. “And yet the president and the NRA think giving teachers guns will stop a school shooter.”

While anyone who’s fired a gun (or even anyone who has a rudimentary grasp of arithmetic) knows that the velocity hardly matters in close proximity, O’Donnell—and others who regurgitated his suggestion as a talking point—think that equipping an AR-15 confers them with special, superhuman advantages against handguns.

To break it down, a fully-functional AR-15 fires at 2,500ft/s, while bullets from a handgun travel at 1,300ft/s. The time differential between the bullets hitting their intended target is so small as to be insignificant—it’s a small fraction of a second, and too small to matter unless you’re aiming at long-distance targets hundreds of yards away.

The only real difference that a high-velocity firearm might have compared to a handgun is that the impact can cause more damage. That said, carrying an AR-15 won’t make a shooter invincible against anyone with a gun trained on him—no matter how outclassed it might be in the velocity department.  

Stick to berating your production staff, Larry.

Chet Cannon on Twitter

Hi, @Lawrence. I think I may tweet this to you once a week. Is that cool? https://t.co/KfD3zocDld

 

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