Give a Gun for Christmas (While You Still Can)

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In Seattle Democrats' latest assault on the Constitution, several state legislators are attempting to ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons and force current owners to submit to background checks.

Why? Because "there's no place to have sales of military assault rifles or weapons in this state." Why? Because, according to Ralph Fascitelli, the board president of Washington Ceasefire, "These are weapons of war. They can kill, shoot 200 bullets a minute."

All types of guns are weapons of war. All guns can kill. And no, these guns cannot shoot 200 bullets a minute, not with accuracy, and not at a sustained rate before they break down.

(I want someone to explain why the board president of a gun control group doesn't know much about guns. You'd think being informed would be a prerequisite for a position like that.)

So really, why? Rep. Ross Hunter and Senators Adam Kline and Jeanne Kohl-Welles are proposing to ban semi-automatics "designed for military use" (which would be determined, no doubt, by subjecting the gun designers to Vulcan mind melds) that are "capable of rapid fire" (which is likely a synonym for either "automatic," or "semi-automatic") and "can hold more than 10 rounds," motivated in part by the slaying in October of Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton, with a .223 semi-automatic rifle.

The "10 rounds" thing is a dumb ploy: it's meant simply to exclude hunting rifles, which are ballistically equivalent to "military" rifles (the .223 round that killed Brenton is used for hunting, and "military" rifles don't shoot the round differently, of course). And the difference in number of rounds isn't significant: no one can point to shooting incidents where the shooter used more than a few rounds, or didn't have time to swap magazines. They include this simply because they know they will lose the bill if hunters oppose it.

Of course, Brenton could have been killed with a rifle not covered under this ban: witnesses heard eight to 10 shots. But facts don't matter when people are dying!

Now, the text of the bill isn't up, but this would probably ban the sale of some hunting rifles, and certainly would ban the sale most semi-automatic handguns, because most of them can accept clips of more than 10 rounds, and were designed with military use in mind (for example, the classic 1911 was designed explicitly for use in war, and you could easily make the argument that all semi-automatic weapons were designed for military use, given that they all use concepts designed for military weapons).

My favorite quote in all this is from Kohl-Welles: "Did the framers of our Constitution ever envision something like a semi-automatic weapon?" Actually, yes, they almost surely did.

While the first repeating rifle as we know it today didn't come along for 100 years, it was not for lack of trying: the problems of reloading quickly were well-considered by The Framers, and many people of the time wondered what it would take to be able to just pull the trigger multiple times without having to reload. (Indeed, in 1780, Bartolomeo Girandoni developed his first repeater, an air rifle.) And there can be no doubt whatsoever that if they could have had such practical weapons, they would have loved for the citizens to have them, that they might be used against the British.

Maybe Kohl-Welles and her colleagues can join Fascitelli in taking a gun education class.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on December 22, 2009 9:47 AM.

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