There is no such thing as an assault weapon

From an article by Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner that, sadly, I happen to agree with:

Finally, Obama’s policy prescriptions are grounded in what’s politically popular rather than what would effectively address the problem of gun violence. Obama repeatedly called for a ban on “military-style assault weapons.” This is not actual class of weapons — this is a rhetorical device to make some rifles sound scary.

Scariness is what “assault weapons” talk is all about. The 1994 “assault weapons ban” didn’t have a real definition of assault weapon. The law listed a bunch of guns that would be illegal and then laid out some criteria for what could make a gun be an “assault weapon.” The qualifications were mostly cosmetic: A rifle could become illegal if you added a flash suppressor; it could become legal if you removed a bayonet.

And restricting rifle ownership has very little bearing on curbing murders. According to FBI data, rifles are responsible for less than 3 percent of all U.S. murders for which the murder is weapon is known. You are five times more likely to be killed by a knife or a blade than by a rifle. Handguns, the data show, are used in a vast majority of gun murders. But handguns don’t look as scary as the AR-15.

Many on today’s Left flatter themselves as being more “reality-based” than the Right. Liberals care more about science, data and the empirically proven, you’ll hear from MSNBC or the New Republic.

But Obama’s arguments for gun control aren’t based on data or logic. They are based on aspersions, emotion and popular fears. In other words, it’s politics as usual.

I’m all for common-sense solutions to gun violence – such as mandatory background checks, though I doubt they’ll do all that much good – but an assault weapons ban isn’t one.

UPDATE

The current gun control debate has put me in bed with many conservative Republicans, there’s no denying that, but I’m surprised at myself for going this far: from an article by Ann Coulter on Townhall.com that I can’t help but agree with, and that is actually well worth reading in its entirety:

It has been reported that Lanza’s mother, his first victim, was trying to have him involuntarily committed to a mental institution, triggering his rage. If true — and the media seem remarkably uninterested in finding out if it is true — Mrs. Lanza would have had to undergo a long and grueling process, unlikely to succeed.

As The New York Times’ Joe Nocera recently wrote: “Connecticut’s laws are so restrictive in terms of the proof required to get someone committed that Adam Lanza’s mother would probably not have been able to get him help even if she had tried.”

Taking guns away from single women who live alone and other law-abiding citizens without mental illnesses will do nothing about the Chos, Loughners, Holmeses or Lanzas. Such people have to be separated from civil society, for the public’s sake as well as their own. But this is nearly impossible because the ACLU has decided that being psychotic is a civil right.

Consequently, whenever a psychopath with a million gigantic warning signs commits a shocking murder, the knee-jerk reaction is to place yet more controls on guns. By now, guns are the most heavily regulated product in America.

It hasn’t worked.

Even if it could work — and it can’t — there are still subway tracks, machetes, fists and bombs. The most deadly massacre at a school in U.S. history was at an elementary school in Michigan in 1927. It was committed with a bomb. By a mentally disturbed man.

How about trying something new for once?

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2 comments
  1. Persto said:

    I agree. Sadly, on this issue, my comrades are just flat-out wrong. It is usually Republicans who appeal to rhetoric, but on the issue of gun control most of their arguments have been surprisingly logical and evidence-based. Gun crime in America is a complex problem with no easy solution, and my compatriots are refusing to acknowledge the complexities in order to score political points. It is shameful.

    What is most upsetting is they are wasting the rare political consensus on this issue. The assault weapons ban is the easy and politically prudent way out, but it gets us no closer to solving the problem of gun crime. The Democrats have a perfect opportunity to have an uncommon, meaningful, and useful discussion with Republicans about gun crime in America. But the assault weapons ban just pisses that away.

  2. Big Chairs said:

    Yep! That’s what I have been saying too. I am yet to hear a good idea from the government on what would actually work.

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