Following the mass-shooting in Colorado, there was a public outcry against assault rifles, culminating in a widely-distributed internet post by Seinfeld actor, Jason Alexander, arguing against private ownership of “assault style weapons.”
The topic of reinstating the assault weapons ban was vigorously debated by both sides (myself included). I’d like to think both sides had generally well-intentioned motives.
This week, we’ve had another shooting in Wisconsin, this time at a Sikh temple. The shooter did not use an “assault style weapon.” He used a handgun, which - in a span of a few hours - has supplanted the assault rifle as the deadliest threat to Americans.
Believe whatever you want about guns. I genuinely don’t care and will not try to sway your opinion one way or the other. But the absurdly childish, knee-jerk reaction to every gun-related news story should make it plainly evident why the NRA lobbies.
SIXTEEN DAYS AGO, gun control advocate du jour, Jason Alexander, while decrying “assault style weapons” (not an actual category of gun), referred to them this way:
They are not the same as handguns to help homeowners protect themselves from intruders.
The most popular treatise on gun control this year - published 16 days ago - justifies private ownership of handguns. The focus was on banning “assault style weapons.”
Semiautomatic handguns are the weapon of choice for mass murderers because they are light and easy to conceal, and adaptable to using high-capacity magazines, experts say. This allows the shooter to fire the maximum number of bullets in a short period of time, said Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit group that advocates to reduce gun violence.
That’s not the opinion of “an expert.” That’s the opinion of a self-identified lobbyist. His argument is absurd. 16 days ago, we were all told that it was “assault style weapons” which allowed a “shooter to fire the maximum number of bullets in a short period of time.” Now it’s handguns? I didn’t think there had been that many technical advances in handgun design over the past 16 days.
With the series of mass murders in recent years, it is time for a serious discussion about assault weapons. The federal ban expired in 2004 and those types of weapons do not endanger the rights of hunters. Common sense dictates that assault weapons which can fire hundreds of rounds in a short period of time are dangerous and require legislative action. How many more times do these types of heinous crimes have to happen before we wake up and place some restrictions on assault guns? I would like to see candidates Romney and Obama show some leadership on this important issue.
Do we even know what the issue is anymore?
Which is it…Assault rifles, or handguns? Obviously, it’s both. Obviously, it’s “all guns.” They use the same exact argument for two different cases about two wildly different types of guns. In the span of 16 days.
This is why the NRA has a lobby. Not because they want more gun violence, but because…”what the fuck?” Get it together, anti-gun activists!
More from the article by the ultra-mainstream Reuters:
Other recent attacks have also used semiautomatic handguns with high-capacity magazines.
James Holmes, the man accused of killing 12 people in a shooting spree last month at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, used one .40-caliber Glock handgun and had another one in his car.
So now the culprit in the James Holmes attack was, retroactively, his handgun? Not the “assault style weapon” everyone was so upset about a few days ago?
The common thread binding the mass attacks together is that they all used semiautomatic handguns with high-capacity magazines, Sugarmann said.
The common thread is that these killings were carried out by lunatics. Semiautomatic handguns are carried by every single law enforcement officer in this country. Their primary use is, incontrovertibly, not “mass killing.” This is clearly propaganda, whether you like guns or not. And, what is a “high-capacity magazine” anymore? To my knowledge, a 9mm XD-series takes a 16-round magazine. That’s pretty standard. A revolver shoots 6 rounds. Is that “high-capacity,” too?
In this same article, we are given a lesson on gun control:
The United States had a ban on certain types of assault weapons until 2004, when it was allowed to expire. Since then, U.S. gun laws have become progressively more permissive, especially at the state level.
The semiautomatic handgun which is the focus of this article has nothing to do with the assault weapons ban. The gun used in the Wisconsin shooting (presumably a Springfield XD-series 9mm) - which, again, is the focus of this article - would still have been available under the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.
Wisconsin, where the handgun used in the Sikh temple attack was purchased, has some of the weakest gun laws in the country, according to a scorecard by the Brady Campaign on Gun Violence, which advocates for gun control. Wisconsin gun laws were rated weaker than all but 10 other states.
Another quote from another anti-gun lobbyist. Incidentally, there is no state that bans semiautomatic handguns!
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who signed the concealed carry law, was a speaker at the 2012 annual convention of the National Rifle Association, the main group advocating for gun ownership rights.
Concealed carry laws don’t apply to maniacs murdering people. They never have, and they never will.
I really, genuinely, am okay with people being “anti-gun.” It’s fine. Don’t own a gun. But don’t start demanding legislation to regulate things you don’t own, don’t know anything about, and aren’t even sure are a problem.
I am not a member of the NRA, but I can clearly see why they lobby against gun control laws which - as recent history has shown - are driven more by emotion more than facts.
And good luck banning handguns. Good luck. It won’t happen. If we want to pretend, for today anyway, that handguns are the problem, that’s okay. You can’t ban handguns. People won’t tolerate what is, effectively, a repeal of the 2nd amendment.
I know very very little about the Sikh religion, but I do know that all men are required to be armed. They wear a sword called a kirpan at all times. While a sword may seem antiquated in comparison to a handgun, the principle behind carrying the weapon is the same for most gun owners: to keep the peace.
Only the most delusional people (Larry Sugarmann, et al.) think that banning guns is the answer to anything. The problem with banning guns is that you can’t (for liberal readers, see: “war on drugs”).
Ban assault rifles? Handguns will become the problem (see: “WI Shooting”).
Ban handguns? Regular rifles will become the problem (see: “DC Sniper”).
Ban muskets? Criminals will still have assault rifles.
Clearly, as a society, we are not past the point of requiring some means of self-defense. If that day ever comes, we won’t even need to ban anything.
Until then, at least try to make a case for your position that isn’t so blatantly self-contradictory and manipulative. Because if there’s one thing in this country more prevalent than gun violence, it’s hypocritical soapbox pontificating.
The NRA might be wrong, but the people they are lobbying against are more wrong. That’s just the reality. You want to ban guns? Start by being honest and getting your story straight.