The unspeakable tragedy in Newton Connecticut has pushed the issue of gun control back into the national spotlight. Because of the sheer atrociousness of this crime, the issue seems to have some traction this time. There has always been a contingent of politicians and activists who have called for ever more gun control, but now it seems that some of the public is beginning to agree.
Since so-called “assault weapons” have been used in this and several other high-profile shootings, there is an increased call for regulation of this ill-defined class of weapons. Long time gun-hater Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the author of the original 1994-2004 federal “Assault Weapons Ban,” is more than happy to help. When Congress reconvenes in January she will introduce a new assault weapons ban even more stringent than the last.
I won’t take time here to expound upon the ineffectiveness of the old assault weapons ban. Many others have already done so. (Fox News: Assault-weapons ban no guarantee mass shootings would decrease; LA Times: The Big Lie of the Assault Weapons Ban ) I won’t spend time once again debating the old saw that “You don’t need an assault weapon to hunt ducks.” (Second Amendment- Purpose) In this post I’ll focus on another why Feinstein’s gun ban should be opposed.
Feinstein’s new ban would ensnare many otherwise law-abiding gun owners. The new ban affects many weapons not affected by the original ban. According to the NRA-ILA this would include the trusty old M1 Carbine, a model of the Ruger Mini-14, and ALL models of the AR-15. These weapons (as well as many others) could no longer be manufactured, sold, transported, or imported. Ones already in private possession would have to be registered with the federal government under the National Firearms Act and their owners would have to be photographed and fingerprinted and pay a $200 tax. (Never mind that BATF doesn’t have the staff to process the sudden influx of countless millions of these applications.)
Picture some old guy who’s had an M1 Carbine in the back of his closet since 1955. If the bill passes, he may very well be unaware that his old carbine has magically transformed into a schoolyard-spraying death hose that has to be registered with the federal government and that he is now in violation of federal law.
When most people picture an “assault weapon” they picture a semi-automatic rifle like an AK-47 or AR-15. However the ban extends to shotguns and pistols as well, so many other gun owners may find themselves caught similarly unaware.
These don’t appear to be the deranged killers that we want to put in jail, but will require the time and resources of our already overburdened police and courts all the same. Feinstein’s new gun ban would potentially make criminals out of millions of peaceable American gun owners and still not prevent some future mass shooting. Maybe that’s the plan.