If they were smart they wouldn’t be supporting gun control
The Daily Beast: Did the Assault-Weapons Ban Kill Gun Control?
Banning the sale of assault weapons was a bad idea from the start. These guns may be scary looking, but they are rarely used in criminal activity. While involved in a handful of high-profile mass shootings, including in Newtown, Connecticut, and Aurora, Colorado, these weapons aren’t a significant contributor to gun violence overall. Only a fraction of gun-related homicides every year are attributed to rifles of any kind; assault rifles make up a fraction of a fraction. And anyone looking to do maximum damage, like a deranged mass killer, can easily find other guns just as deadly. So even if the assault-weapons ban were enacted, it would not have a major impact on America’s daily death toll from guns.
Of course, we’ve known this since even before the last ban. Here is how a Washington Post Editorial explained it back on Sept., 15, 1994:
“No one should have any illusions about what was accomplished (by the ban). Assault weapons play a part in only a small percentage of crime. The provision is mainly symbolic; its virtue will be if it turns out to be, as hoped, a stepping stone to broader gun control.”
The simple fact of the matter is, gun control advocates didn’t care then and don’t care now.
Assault weapons are often misunderstood. Although many people mistakenly believe that these guns have automatic fire, that’s wrong. They aren’t machine guns, which are already heavily restricted and illegal to sell in most cases. The weapons primarily covered by Feinstein’s proposal, largely variants of the AR-15, fire only one round for each pull of the trigger.
Not mentioned in the article is that this is not a mistake:
“In a September 1988 report on “assault weapons” that he prepared for the Education Fund to End Handgun Violence, gun control advocate Josh Sugarmann candidly observed: “The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these guns.””
This is an act of intentional deception.
One reason these guns are misunderstood is that there’s no set definition of “assault weapon.”
In other words, it’s a term invented for political purposes that means whatever the gun control advocate wants it to mean at that particular moment. Or as Bruce H. Kobayashi and Joseph E. Olson put it:
“Prior to 1989, the term “assault weapon” did not exist in the lexicon of firearms. It is a political term, developed by anti-gun publicists to expand the category of “assault rifles” so as to allow an attack on as many additional firearms as possible on the basis of undefined “evil” appearance.”
The guns targeted by Feinstein’s proposal were mainly semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines and one or more military-style characteristics, like a pistol grip or a folding butt stock. This wasn’t the same definition used by the prior federal law enacted in the Clinton years. That ban required two or more military-style features. One thing the two laws would have had in common, though, is the ability to be easily skirted by gun manufacturers. Just as with the old ban, gun makers would just make the exact same guns, only without the military characteristics. And sell them by the millions.
President Obama gun control plan from January 16th referred to this process:
“That ban was an important step, but manufacturers were able to circumvent the prohibition with cosmetic modifications to their weapons.”
They removed the cosmetic features which the law banned. That’s not circumventing the law. That is complying with the law.
That’s what many gun-control advocates failed to realize about the assault-weapons ban: the same gun, with the same rate of fire, the same bullets, and the same detachable magazine, would be perfectly lawful. It’s as if the problem with “assault weapons” wasn’t their lethality but their pistol grips.
Refering back to Bruce H. Kobayashi and Joseph E. Olson again: “The key elements of this definition are looks or style (“cosmetically similar”), the absence of a rational difference from “good” guns (“functionally identical”), and the availability of non-functional accessories (“detachable box magazine” etc.).” Since determinations of similar appearances or style vary from person to person, the political nature of the concept and its ambiguity were exposed early.”
There was one certain impact of proposing to ban the sale of assault weapons: it was guaranteed to stir gun-rights proponents to action. Ever since Obama was elected, they’ve been claiming that he wanted to ban guns. Gun-control advocates mocked this claim—then proposed to ban a gun. Not only that, the gun they were trying to ban happened to be the most popular rifle in America. It’s one thing to ban machine guns, which few law-abiding people ever wanted or used. It’s another thing entirely to ban a gun that millions of American gun enthusiasts love to shoot.
The Obama camp has been talking about bringing back the Assault Weapon Ban for years. AG Eric Holder even mentioned the administration’s desire to bring back the AWB in testimony before Congress! I know politicians lie a lot but how does believing what Holder says about his own boss make me a conspiracy nut?
Ironically, the people who may be saddest to see Feinstein’s proposal go down are the gun-rights hardliners. They knew all along that the ban was riddled with loopholes, was easy to evade, and had little potential to impact crime.
And you know this because the “gun-rights hardliners” have actually been telling everyone that “the ban was riddled with loopholes, was easy to evade, and had little potential to impact crime,” this entire time, unlike gun-control hardliners who have actively tried to suppress this information.
That’s in part why they wanted to focus on this proposal, rather than on background checks…
Which will be easy for criminals to evade and have little potential impact on crime. Open secret: criminals get most of their guns by stealing them or from straw purchasers. Background checks affect neither of these things. Also, both of those things are already illegal.
“Yet it’s harder for them to make a persuasive public case against background checks…”
Take a look at what the proposed law will actually do and tell me with a straight face this is about preventing another Newtown. Also, there was that little thing you might have heard about where the Obama DOJ says the success of universal background checks would depend in part on “requiring gun registration.”
… or magazine restrictions, which, in allowing people to have 10 rounds plus readily available, already-loaded replacement magazines, didn’t interfere with self-defense.
As this sheriff was kind of enough to demonstrate, you have that that backwards. Because criminals in general, and mass shooters in particular, are the aggressors, they can prepare as many firearms and magazines in advance as they want for their destructive purposes. The thirteen 10 round magazines for the Hi-Point 995 used at Columbine and the nineteen 10 and 15 round magazines used at Virginia Tech are the most immediate historical examples. In contrast, the lawful citizen engaged in self-defense is limited to what they have readily at hand. People who carry handguns for self defense often dispense with the inconvenience of carrying spare magazines or carry only one.