This past weekend, I curiously followed the various March for Our Lives events across the country to develop a general understanding of the types of policies these marchers were really advocating for. Unsurprisingly, I noticed a couple recurring themes. Most of the protesters’ interviews, signs, and posts either lacked any specific ideas or knowledge of the changes they’re seemingly fighting for. In fact, some of them consisted of blatantly false information altogether.

In the spirit of keeping the gun control discussion truly open and honest, I have compiled a list of these myths and presented necessary facts and statistics to reinforce arguments to the contrary:

Myth #1: Military-grade weapons are easily obtainable

The federal regulation for machine-guns actually began with the National Firearms Act of 1934. The regulation imposed various taxes on the making and transferring of these types of weaponry as well as a registration a requirement. The deliberate intention was to discourage the buying and selling of NFA firearms. This law was amended twice thereafter, most recently in 1986 which banned the future transfer of fully automatic weapons to American civilians entirely. Today, this legislation is still in effect with very few exceptions for a select number of collectors, but only upon paying a hefty fee and passing additional extensive background checks.

Myth #2: A woman’s uterus is more regulated than firearms

Abortions are still protected by federal law, with different states imposing different regulations. It should also be noted that the United States is among only seven countries in the world that allow elective abortions after 20 weeks, in the company of China and North Korea. Moreover, a woman has complete rights over her own uterus in every scenario that does not involve another human life growing inside. If abortion is the only argument for government regulating a woman’s uterus, it’s not an effective comparison anyway; the Bill of Rights outlines an individual’s right to bear arms. The right to abort an unborn child is not found anywhere in the Constitution.

Myth #3: Banning “assault weapons” will end mass shootings

The assault weapons ban enacted in 1994 and expired in 2004 showed no statistical impact on reducing violence in the ten-year period. The infamous Columbine shooting that took place in 1999, and while the assault weapons ban was still in place, was carried out with a gun classified as an “assault weapon.” Moreover, the overwhelming majority of all gun-related violent crimes, including mass shootings, are committed using handguns.

Myth #4: It is easier to obtain a gun than a driver’s license

Their justification for this is that drivers must pass a test before obtaining a license, while purchasing a firearm from an FFL dealer for home defense does not require one. However, it does require the individual to be at least 18 years of age. but in most cases 21. In addition, the purchaser must pass a federal background check. In order to concealed carry in public, one must obtain a permit. Concealed carry permits vary from state to state. They almost always involve passing a necessary training course and more background checks. Regardless, a citizen’s right to own a firearm is protected under the Constitution; there does not exist any such right to drive.

Myth #5: The Second Amendment was only meant for military and police

Despite the popular misconception, the word “militia” contained in the Second Amendment clause does not allude to military, police, or any entity controlled by the government. In revolutionary times, a militia referred to the entire American people capable of bearing arms. The revolution was fought and won by a rag-tag citizen army. This clause was intentionally worded to ensure an army of the people would always be possible in the event of another government becoming tyrannical.

Myth #6: “Gun free zones” are safer than public areas that permit concealed carry

Over 98 percent of mass shootings since 1950 have been in “gun free zones.”

Myth #7: The United States has the highest mass shooting rate in the world

The U.S. ranks number 11 in mass shootings and 28 in gun-murder rate.

Myth #8: The NRA is racist

Actually, the racism is rooted in the entire history of gun control, not the NRA.

Myth #9: The NRA is responsible for mass shootings

No mass shooting has ever been committed by a known member of the NRA. The National Rifle Association is also the oldest and biggest coalition in the world which advocates for firearm safety, education, and training. The NRA does not sell firearms. It’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, especially with reference to the inalienable right of the individual American citizen guaranteed by such Constitution to acquire, possess, collect, exhibit, transport, carry, transfer ownership of, and enjoy the right to use arms.

Myth #10: It’s 2018, civilians don’t need guns anymore

In Federalist 46, James Madison, primary author of our Constitution, warns about the ever-present threat of a government tyranny. He argues that an armed citizenry serves not only to combat a tyrannical government, but to discourage any such government from attempting to instigate tyranny. The moment a people abandons any fear of overreach is the same moment it can, and likely will, happen. Governments are comprised of humans. We are an inherently flawed species. The Second Amendment will stand the test of time to keep these flawed representatives in check. It will continue to protect individuals from all threats, both foreign and domestic.

I applaud the bravery of everyone speaking out on all sides. However, entering the public political conversation opens one up to fair criticism of ideas. Everyone has a right to be heard, but using nasty, provocative language or being ill-informed only hurt the cause to find common ground and create effective change.

Jennifer S