Free Markets, Free People

Assault Weapons ban


Feinstein’s assault weapons ban will not be in final Senate bill

Emily Miller, writing in the Washington Times, reports:

Gun control efforts on the nation level lost a major battle when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told a bereft Sen. Dianne Feinstein Monday that her so-called assault weapon ban bill was getting pulled from the gun package coming to the floor next month. Her legislation, which passed the SenateJudiciary Committee last week by a straight party line vote, is the only one of the four gun-related bills that passed out of committee that Mr. Reid axed.

Mrs. Feinstein insists she will not be ignored. The California Democrat plans to bring two amendments up during the gun votes — to ban firearms that have one cosmetic feature that makes them resembles military weapon and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Mr. Reid said Tuesday that “her amendment, using the most optimistic numbers, has less than 40 votes — that’s not 60.”

However, Mr. Reid’s calculation was really less about vote counting and more about keeping the majority in the upper chamber.

“The Democrats know that Feinstein’s ‘assault weapon’ ban is suicide at the polls for them come 2014,” Alan Gottlieb, the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation told me Tuesday. “It is so extreme that even the Democratic leadership in the Senate doesn’t want it as part of their package.”

So ‘whoohoo’, huh?  Yeah, sort of, but Miller entitles her piece “RIP national assault weapons ban”.  RIP?  Hardly.  If you think Democrats, or at least Feinstein, are going to quit on this, you’re wrong.  Just consider how long they pushed for government mandated health care.  The fact that they couldn’t muster 40 votes in the Senate is, to those who would take your guns, another temporary setback.  Despite the fact that studies have shown no positive link a decline in gun violence and the last assault weapon’s ban, they’ll continue to try.  Trust me on that.  This isn’t about safety, it’s about controlt:

Mrs. Feinstein insists she will not be ignored. The California Democrat plans to bring two amendments up during the gun votes — to ban firearms that have one cosmetic feature that makes them resembles military weapon and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

Right now Democratic Senators are reading the electoral tea leaves and know that such a vote, at least for those in states where their seat isn’t safe, is electoral poison.  As soon as they see or feel that the electorate’s opinion has shifted, they’ll gladly vote for such a ban.  The lack of votes isn’t about principle, it’s about keeping their jobs.

“The Democrats know that Feinstein’s ‘assault weapon’ ban is suicide at the polls for them come 2014,” Alan Gottlieb, the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation told me Tuesday. “It is so extreme that even the Democratic leadership in the Senate doesn’t want it as part of their package.”

Mr. Obama does, of course. And so they’ll continue to try.  And they’ll use the incremental approach instead.

And there’s something else to consider here – the politics of the Reid move.  He’s taken the step of removing the most controversial parts of the gun control attempt.  But there’s still more for the Senate to consider.  And Reid is trying to use his removal of the “extreme” parts to demand a corresponding move (i.e. “compromise”) from the GOP in support of what’s left.

The background check bill is the most contentious of those three, and lawmakers are still working behind the scenes to find a compromise that can garner 60 votes in the chamber.

Sen. Joe Manchin III, a West Virginia Democrat who has been trying to work out a compromise, said Tuesday he was optimistic on that front.

“I’m still working very hard, and hopefully reasonable people will look at reasonable proposals and something will happen,” he said.

And what would that compromise bring?

Currently, all sales by licensed firearms dealers must go through background checks, but transactions between private individuals do not. Lawmakers are looking for a way to extend checks to almost all transactions without also creating a record-keeping system that gun rights supporters fear could turn into a gun registry.

How could it not turn into a defacto“gun registry”?

And who wants to bet that some GOP Senators end up supporting it?

~McQ


Worst. Pro-Assault. Weapon. Ban. Argument. Ever.

Interested in seeing one of the dumbest attempts to counter an argument against reinstituting the “assault gun” ban?

It’s, well, pretty pathetic, and, coming out of Media Matters, shouldn’t really surprise you.

First the graphic that started it all:

Okay, you’re in the ballpark now.

The Media Matters person (Timothy Johnson) says:

The image was created by a blogger who used it to argue in favor of the ban, writing that “If you can buy the gun on the top, but can’t buy the bottom gun, who cares? You still have a gun.” McArdle responded that “if it makes no difference, than why have the law?” and argued that “‘assault weapon’ is a largely cosmetic rather than functional description.”

But Johnson says there are vast differences which mean that, hey, they’re just not the same.  The bottom one, per Johnson, is much more lethal.  And he’s got the reasons why:

In fact, the lower pictured weapon, a Mossberg 500 Tactical Persuader, has a number of features that increase its lethality compared to the top pictured shotgun. Contrary to what the graphic suggests, the only difference between the two weapons is not just the pistol grip featured on the Tactical Persuader. The Tactical Persuader also has an adjustable stock that can be removed from the firearm completely, which allows the gun length to be shortened for increased concealability. Furthermore, when combined with a pistol grip, the firearm can be more easily maneuvered, allowing the shooter to fire from the hip and more easily use the weapon from vehicles and in other close quarters situations.

An almost identical configuration was sought out by Suleman Talovic, a teenager who used a Mossberg-derivative pistol grip shotgun during a rampage that killed five and wounded four at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 12, 2007. A recent report issued by the John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research found that firearms with assault weapon features are disproportionally used in mass shootings and that when used result in higher numbers of casualties.

OK?  You get my point about silly?

A “pistol grip” doesn’t “increase lethality” unless you beat someone over the head with it (by the way, I can make a pistol grip on the other using a saw in about 5 minutes, or, just buy one aftermarket and install it on the top gun).  Pistol grips are non-lethal “features”, not lethal weapons.

Secondly, being able to conceal something doesn’t make it more lethal either.  It simply means you can hide it better.  How hiding something better becomes “lethal” will have to be answered by Mr. Johnson who seems not to know what “lethal” actually means.

In fact the blogger is correct – they are exactly the same gun where it counts.  And to be lethal, you must still load them, point each of them at someone and pull the trigger.   One doesn’t shoot more rounds than the other, one doesn’t use a “bigger” round than the other, one won’t shoot faster than the other.   They are each 12ga 6 round pump shotguns.  Period.

Finally, correlation is not causation (i.e. the gun made him do it where he might not have had he had the top shotgun available instead) and the fact that someone on a rampage chose a shotgun with a pistol grip over a rifle stock doesn’t make the one with the pistol grip more lethal (I do wish this guy would look up “lethal”).

Additionally the fact that one might be able to be used in “close quarters” better than the other again doesn’t make it more lethal.  It simply provides a perceived advantage over the other that may or may not, in fact, play out.  If, however, it is something anyone would want, it is easily done to the top gun with a minimum of effort or cost.

Then, I assume, thinking he has just nailed it by pointing out the “lethality” of the pistol grip, he throws this up from some activist group that is just about as silly as the rest of his stuff:

All assault weapons–military and civilian alike–incorporate specific features that were designed for laying down a high volume of fire over a wide killing zone. This is sometimes known as “hosing down” an area. Civilian assault weapons feature the specific military design features that make spray-firing easy and distinguish assault weapons from traditional sporting firearms.

Civilian “assault weapons” or those which look like them are “semi-automatic” by law.  Military assault weapons usually have the option of automatic fire.  It is on the automatic selection that a large volume of fire is going to be projected (and, unless you know what you’re doing, very ineffectively).  Civilian guns don’t have that option.  They’re not the same freakin’ thing regardless of how they look!

Consequently they’re not going to be doing any “spray firing” or “hosing down” of an area in semi-auto mode.  Can a semi-auto put out a decent amount of fire?  Yes, especially if it has a large capacity magazine.  But those two shotguns in question are pump action and only hold 6 rounds each.

Shotgun A will fire no faster or slower than shotgun B in the picture above.  If A can do it, so can B and the reverse is also true.  And whatever they do will involve shoot, pump, shoot, pump, shoot, pump etc.  The bottom shotgun doesn’t go “boom, boom, boom, boom, boom”.  It does exactly what the top one does – “boom, pump, boom …” (I wanted it to make it easy for Johnson to understand).

So, in sum, the blogger is correct, but even more correct is Megan McArdle.   What’s the point?  They’re pump action shotguns that are, except cosmetically, exactly the same (and each can be modified in any number of ways from their stock appearance).  What again is the point of the law?

Uh, control, that’s what.

~McQ


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