Why Not Renew the “Assault Weapons” Ban? Well, I’ll Tell You…
[EDIT: Since this article was published, the Democratic party has officially added support of the assault weapon ban renewal to their party platform and Senator Feinstein has vowed to introduce it again in the upcoming session, hoping the Newtown massacre will help it push through. This bill WILL be debated and voted on, and I hope you can learn something about it here.]
It is a running joke in gun-interest circles that Obama is the “gun salesman of the year”. From the moment he won the Democratic nomination, gun sales in the US surged dramatically. If the joke were more honest, he might be called “gun salesman of the decade”. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the economic impact of the firearm industry grew more than 50% (from $19 billion to $31 billion) between 2008 and 2011 In 2010, a record was set for the number of background checks filed for firearm purchases. That record was broken again in 2011.
- In the early 20th century, before guns lost social acceptability and marksmanship was publicly encouraged, people with enough space were known to practice in their back yards. No one wants to annoy their neighbor with fussilades of afternoon gunfire, so the Maxim Silencer found success being marketed as a relatively inoffensive and civilized way to increase shooting proficiency.
As it turns out, even the most vociferous and high-ranking gun control advocates didn’t actually know what was being legislated. After the Virginia Tech massacre, Democratic House representative Carolyn McCarthy went on MSNBC to explain why she had introduced legislation even more extensive than the elapsed Federal Assault Weapons Ban. After some discussion, Tucker Carlson picked a banned feature from the list – a barrel shroud – and asked her to explain what it was and why it should be regulated.
When the ban expired in 2004, everyone was anxious to study the results. Had it reduced crime?
- “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.”
– Washington Post editorial, September 15, 1994
If gun control advocates want to actually have meaningful discussion and debate about the “assault weapon” and “high capacity” ban, they MUST address these questions:
- Why ban cosmetic features?
- Why ban guns used in a mere 2% of crime?
- Why base gun control legislation on rare and statistically insignificant mass shootings to begin with?
- Why ban magazines that have been consistently sized since their invention?
- How would banning these magazines have saved lives, given that all a shooter needs is multiple magazines and 3 seconds of time (i.e. Cho)?
- How will a ban on either these weapons or magazines reduce crime, since there are many millions of them legal and available anyway, especially since production has ramped up after the ban’s expiration?