72 People Killed Resisting Gun Confiscation by National Guard in Boston-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
A group of paramilitary extremists attacked the National Guard while it attempted to confiscate guns in Boston, leaving 72 dead and hundreds injured.
A work of satire that’s more than two decades old is behind this rumor. The story, which appeared in The New American magazine in February 1995, loosely describes fighting between members of the Massachusetts Militia and British troops at Lexington and Concord in the lead up to the American Revolutionary War. But those events are recast as breaking news to emphasize the importance of gun rights.
The original article appears under the question “Could it Happen Again?” The idea is that the a second American Revolutionary War could be caused by the National Guard attempting to confiscate guns. The Second Amendment was a hot topic at the time. President Bill Clinton had just signed the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Safety Act, also known as the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. It restricted military features on weapons and banned high-capacity magazines. The Republican-controlled Congress allowed the assault weapons ban to lapse in 2004.
So, the original New American work of satire on the assault weapons ban ended up outlasting the ban itself. An effective use of satire, it’s been reposted and repurposed many times. The article, which appeared under the headline, “Scores Killed, Hundreds Injured As Paramilitary Extremists Riot,” recasts the chaotic events of April 18-19, 1775, in a modern tone.
BOSTON, April 20 — National guard units seeking to confiscate a cache of recently banned assault weapons were ambushed on April 19th by elements of a para-military extremist faction. Military and law enforcement sources estimate that 72 were killed and more than 200 injured before government forces were compelled to withdraw.
Again, those events describe clashes between American and British soldiers in the Massachusetts towns of Lexington and Concord. Many key elements of the satire mirror actual events. As tensions between American and British forces in Massachusetts reached a boiling point, King George III ordered 700 British soldiers to “seize the colonists’ military stores in Concord,” but a lantern placed in the steep of Christ Church signaled to colonists that an attack was eminent, and Paul Revere set off his famous midnight ride to warn others, the Library of Congress reports. British forces who were met by Americans at Lexington Green were forced to turn back. Forty-nine colonists and 73 British soldiers were killed hundreds were injured. And the American Revolutionary War had begun.