Government & Politics

A Chance to Defeat the 'Assault Weapon' Deception

The Supreme Court could decide a critical Second Amendment case.

Paul Albaugh · Feb. 9, 2016

Despite Barack Obama and the Left’s continued assault on the Second Amendment, gun rights advocates (a.k.a. those who cling to their guns) received some welcome news. And it’s the kind of news that is certain to put many Democrats and those who hate the freedom to defend all other freedoms into panic mode.

We previously noted that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state of Maryland’s “assault weapons” ban, which had in effect prohibited some semiautomatic rifles and so-called high-capacity (read: standard-capacity) magazines. Following a 2-1 decision, the Appeals Court sent the case back to the U.S. District Court with instructions to apply “strict scrutiny.”

If the U.S. District Court follows those instructions, then it will almost certainly have to delve into the meaning of the term “assault weapon” and what constitutes a firearm being in “common use,” per previous Supreme Court rulings. This is what has anti-gun groups in a state of fear: that the truth about assault weapons may be exposed.

For starters, the term “assault weapon” is often confused with the term “assault rifle.” Prior to 1989, the term “assault weapon” was unheard of, but anti-gun publicists started using the term to expand the category of “assault rifles.” For the most part, they succeeded in lying to the American public in order to scare them. Who would need an “assault weapon,” after all?

An assault rifle is a firearm that has the capability of firing fully automatic, or in other words by holding the trigger, it will continue to fire. Machine guns and the military’s M4A1 carbine (which can fire a three-round “burst”) fall into this category and are severely limited for being sold to the public — as in next to no one owns them. So-called “assault weapons” are not fully automatic; they are semiautomatic. That means only one round can be fired each time the trigger is pulled. The AR-15, pistols, revolvers and most hunting and sport rifles fall into this category, and all are popular among the public.

Following more than a decade of deceiving the American public that “assault weapons” were the same as assault rifles, the first Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) was introduced in Congress in 1993. But in order to ban these, legislators had to define them and they came up with “semi-automatic firearms that shared too many cosmetic features with their fully automatic counterparts.” The perception that a firearm was fully automatic was the key.

(One of the more infamously funny episodes in explaining these cosmetic features was Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s (D-NY) claim that a barrel shroud is the “shoulder thing that goes up.”)

On Sept. 13, 1994, the federal ban went into effect. Fortunately, Republicans in Congress forced the inclusion of a sunset provision for the ban to expire, and, 10 years later, a Republican Congress declined to renew the ban.

In 2011, there were 8,583 murders by criminals using guns, yet FBI data for that year shows that 323 murders were committed with rifles of any kind. Nearly 500 murders were committed with hammers and clubs, while another 1,700 were committed with knives. Yet the gun-hating Left would have us believe that semiautomatic rifles should be banned. Their logic is outright incomprehensible, though the emotional appeal has deceived many Americans into believing that those evil black rifles must be taken away.

The question that leftist gun grabbers refuse to answer is what part of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” is not understood? They don’t ever answer this question because, for them, it’s not about your rights, it’s about the government’s control.

So we can rejoice that in Maryland, there was a legal victory for Rule of Law and Liberty. In part that’s because the victory creates an appeals court split, which could ensure the Supreme Court takes on the issue. Therefore, this year’s election is all the more important, as we determine who will choose the justices to fill any vacancies. Should the High Court decide to hear the case and reach a decision, it will most likely be a narrow one — though we certainly hope it will be in favor of the truth and ultimately Liberty.

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