'Weapons of War' and Other Leftist Fairy Tales
The truth about "assault weapons."
In the wake of the mass murder at a homosexual nightclub in Orlando this past weekend, the anti-gun Left quite predictably renewed the clamor for more gun control laws generally, and specifically an outright ban on “military-style assault weapons.” They of course have largely worn out this grossly inaccurate term, so they’re beginning to move on in their demagoguery to “weapons of war.” (Conservatives who concede these terms do the cause a disservice.) This is all part of the agenda to scare the public into ceding rights and submitting to centralized control.
Speaking of inaccurate terms, The Washington Post wrote a lengthy article about the evil AR-15 used in Orlando, before having to admit it did not identify the gun in question correctly. Of course, the WaPo is hardly the only media outlet to get it wrong. The jihadi used a Sig Sauer MCX carbine, which is an entirely different gun.
There is a profound amount of ignorance and demagoguery surrounding these weapons, so let’s start by establishing what an “assault weapon” is and is not. According to the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Intelligence Agency book “Small Arms Identification and Operation Guide,” “assault rifles” are “short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachine gun and rifle cartridges.” Selective fire means you can choose between semi- (one round fired per trigger pull), and full-auto (continuous fire as long as the trigger is depressed).
(The Truth About Assault Weapons is an outstanding resource for further information.)
Contrary to the hysterical claims of the anti-gun crowd, full-auto weapons have been highly regulated since 1934, and effectively prohibited since 1986. To obtain a full-auto-capable weapon, one must pay a heavy federal tax and go through an FBI background check, including fingerprinting each finger on both hands. In fact, even for standard, non-“assault” weapons purchases, one must go through background checks and fill out a stack of paperwork in order to comply with the roughly 20,000 federal, state and municipal gun laws currently on the books in the U.S. Anyone who claims you can walk into a pawn shop or a gun store, throw down some cash, and walk out with a new gun 10 minutes later is either misinformed or deceitful.
In 1994, Senator Dianne Feinstein and her merry band of gun-grabbers in the Democrat Party pushed through a so-called “assault” weapons ban, which sought to ban military-STYLE weapons. Get that? The ban was on cosmetics, not functionality, which is why you could have two weapons that had nearly identical specifications and shot the same round, and have one be legal and one be banned simply based on appearance. The Feinstein ban turned out to be an utter and complete failure in terms of reducing crime.
In 2014, even the liberal New York Times acknowledged the complete ineffectiveness of the 1994 ban, lamenting, “[I]n the 10 years since the previous ban lapsed, even gun control advocates acknowledge a larger truth: The law that barred the sale of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 made little difference. It turns out that big, scary military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do. In 2012, only 322 people were murdered with any kind of rifle, F.B.I. data shows.”
The reality is that 99.9999% of gun owners in America will never use their weapons to commit a crime — just the opposite, actually, in that these firearms will be used to stop crime. There are an estimated 300 million guns in the hands of roughly 90 million gun owners in America so, to parrot an Internet meme, logic dictates that if gun owners were as violent as anti-gunners claim, there would be no more anti-gunners.
The Washington Post this week promoted another popular leftist narrative; namely, that the Founding Fathers only had muskets when they drafted the Second Amendment, so they could not possibly have imagined, much less intended to protect, the right of average citizens to own semiautomatic weapons. If that is the case, then we suppose that the First Amendment, which was drafted in an age where quill pens and parchment were the primary mode of communication, does not protect any speech today transmitted through broadcast or digital media — such as the Post’s article. It is a nonsensical argument.
As usual, the Left is hyper-focused on the exact wrong issue. They want to ban or severely curtail private gun ownership in America, despite the fact that a tiny fraction of the gun-owning populace will ever use them for nefarious purposes.
As the NYT article referenced earlier went on to say, “Annually, 5,000 to 6,000 black men are murdered with guns. Black men amount to only 6 percent of the population. Yet of the 30 Americans on average shot to death each day, half are black males.” The follow-up to this is that, in the deaths of these black males, another black male is the perpetrator of the crime the vast majority of the time. So would we be better off just banning black Americans from owning guns? That would probably appeal to Democrats who, as Justice Thomas detailed in his concurring opinion in the McDonald v. Chicago case, passed gun control laws as a means of disarming black Americans, leaving them defenseless against attacks by groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. Little surprise, then, that such a large percentage of gun deaths today occur in the very same major cities run by liberal Democrats for decades.
But maybe leftists could simply take the same advice on guns that they give us on abortion: If you don’t want one, don’t get one, but leave everyone else free to choose.
On the other hand, the much preferred response, especially in a republic such as ours, where we should pride ourselves on being informed and involved citizens, would be to acknowledge that the right to keep and bear arms is a right granted by God (not government), and protected by the Constitution, which “shall not be infringed.” If we truly prefer a reduction in violent crime (rather than having a political narrative to use as a bludgeon), we will acknowledge that the problem is not guns, but the darker side of human nature.