Reverend Jesse Jackson stated during a recent interview that rifles like the Aurora movie theater shooter possessed could be used to shoot down an airplane. Jackson, an apparent gun control supporter, estimated that semi-automatic weapons pose a threat to homeland security.
While pontificating about gun control, Reverend Jackson had this to say during the Fox News interview:
“These semi-automatic weapons, these assault weapons, can only kill people, and in fact, they are threats to national security. The young man who did the killing in Aurora, Colorado, with the arsenal he had, he was right near the airport, right near the runways in Denver. He could shoot down airplanes, so this is a matter of homeland security as well.”
The Blaze contacted multiple firearms experts to determine if Jesse Jackson had a valid point about semi-automatic weapons posing a homeland security threat. Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer Jason Hanson had this to say about the likelihood of a semi-automatic rifle shooting down a plane:
“I just read the Jesse Jackson quote and quite frankly it’s laughable. It’s clear Rev. Jackson doesn’t know the first thing about rifles and guns in general. It’s like me making a comment about quilting, something I know absolutely nothing about. With the type of rifle that James Holmes had it would be impossible to shoot down a plane. Okay, nothing is impossible, but it would be as likely as aliens knocking on my front door tomorrow. I’ve never heard of a rifle shooting down a civilian plane outside of a war zone either.”
Chris Gahr, a former US Marine who worked in aircraft investigation weighed the technical, logistical, and environmental aspects involved with a rifle shooting down an airplane. Gahr came to the same conclusion as Hanson, noting that the idea of a semi-automatic rifle shooting down an airplane “defies common sense.”
Michael Knox, a forensic science and criminology consultant from Florida, also deemed the possibility of shooting down an airplane with small arms “extremely remote.” Knox noted that an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle is not any more capable of shooting an airplane out of the sky than the common hunting rifle.
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