Assault Rifles Are Just Regular Guns

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Senator Dianne Feinstein is on the warpath again. Her target, once again, is certain guns, and their owners. She is not, as many politicians are, taking advantage of a bad situation (the school shooting on Friday): this is one of her lifelong major legislative efforts. She wrote the first Assault Weapons Ban and wants to bring it back, and has said so often over the years. She said it before this shooting, and is saying it again.

I do not doubt her honest zeal. I doubt her intelligence, knowledge, and ability to reason.

There is no correlation between the ban of the manufacture of these guns, and gun violence. None. Zero. And there's multiple reasons for that, but the most important one is that her law doesn't actually take away, or prevent the manufacture of, any dangerous weapons used in any crimes.

These weapons are called "assault weapons," but literally, they are just normal civilian rifles. Feinstein said on NewsHour, "I don't see how Americans can want, you know, a situation where a 20-year-old gets a gun from his mother, kills his mother, goes into a school, shoots his way through the glass, goes in and puts three to 11 bullets in 6-year-olds, 20 of them."

She continues: "... small children have a basic right to go to a school and feel safe. And these guns, because they kill large numbers of people very quickly, they aren't used for hunting, they aren't hunting weapons. You don't need them for defense. They are military-style weapons. And they don't belong in the streets of our cities or our towns."

Feinstein is, of course, being incredibly stupid and dishonest here. Of course no one "wants" that, but it is dishonest to imply that if I oppose banning those weapons then, therefore, I want that. And it is stupid or dishonest -- hard to tell which -- to imply that her proposed ban of certain firearms would do anything to prevent this. Even if it were true that these are not hunting weapons -- which is absolutely and uneuivocally false, as they are used very widely as hunting weapons -- the simple fact is that almost any hunting rifle could have been used to precisely the same effect as the one used in the school shooting.

It is completely indefensible to say the type of rifle had anything significant to do with this. Logic and reason and fact disallow that conclusion.

Whether or not it is a hunting weapon is pretty irrelevant, of course. Whether she thinks I "need" it for home defense is irrelevant. If I think I need it, that is all that is sufficient in a free society. I do not need to justify my personal decisions to anyone, least of all the government, in a free society. But again, she is completely wrong. I see hunters walking down the streets near my house with AR-15s. I was talking to a guy last night who uses one -- also chambered in .223, the same as used in the Connecticut shooting -- for hunting. They are excellent, versatile, accurate, efficient, economical, and reliable guns that are every bit as good for hunting as most hunting rifles, so much so that major manufacturers like Remington now make hunting rifles built on the AR-15 platform.

Now granted, the R-15 doesn't fall into the previous legal description of an assault rifle, because it doesn't have a folding stock or bayonet mount or flash suppressor or grenade launcher. It does have a pistol grip, but it needs two of those five features, and is legal under the Ban if it has only one. But here's the thing: Adam Lanza didn't use a flash suppressor or bayonet mount or grenade launcher or folding stock to kill all those people. And this R-15, which would likely remain legal under the proposed ban, could have done precisely the same amount of damage as the AR-15 he used.

So Feinstein is pushing a restriction on guns that literally does nothing to stop crime. And the stats bear this out: we have great numbers on what happened before the law, during the law, and after the law expired, and there's no data supporting the ban, as one would expect if they actually understood how it worked.

The AWB is not an affront to most gun owners because it disallows us from having guns that can do certain amounts of damage, but because it unreasonably disallows us the choice, putting up useless restrictions while preventing not a single death.

Moms and dads and politicians ignorantly shout to the sky that we need to ban these guns, but no one has put up an even remotely reasonable proposal that would have prevented this, or any other, shooting death.

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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 19, 2012 8:04 AM.

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