Liberals Gunning for “Assault” Weapons


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Desertdog
August 9, 2004, 06:01 PM
townhall.com

Liberals Gunning for “Assault” Weapons
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/GuestColumns/printBeale20040808.shtml

Stephen Beale


August 8, 2004


The renewal of the assault weapons ban – instituted in 1994 and set to expire this fall – is the cause du jour for liberals. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, New York Times, Oregonian, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Washington Post—to name just a few—have all sounded the call to arms.

Most editorials tug at the heartstrings while pulling wool over the eyes of their readers. The July 17 New York Times editorial, for example, makes a classic populist appeal: “Few Americans favor a return to the day when military-style assault weapons like AK-47s, Uzis and Tec-9 pistols could be manufactured and sold, making them readily available for use by gangs and drug traffickers.” The Los Angeles Times has been even more alarmist, calling these guns “weapons of mass destruction.”

Not to be outdone, The Million Mom March gun control group gathered last week in Boston on one of the streets where Paul Revere once made his famous ride. “The assault weapons are coming, the assault weapons are coming,” cried a man on horseback.

Meanwhile, in his celebrated commencement speech for the Democratic convention last week, Bill Clinton joined the chorus: “[O]ur policy was to put more police on the street and to take assault weapons off the street. And it gave you eight years of declining crime and eight years of declining violence. Their policy is the reverse. They’re taking police off the streets while they put assault weapons back on the street.”

The liberal case for an extension of the assault weapons ban is undermined by one small but significant detail: the term “assault” as used in the law is a something of a misnomer. Technically, assault weapons are machine guns that can be fired either automatically (multiple shots per pull of the trigger) or semi-automatically (a single shot per trigger pull). Federal law already regulates these weapons.

The so-called “assault” weapons that are targeted in the 1994 law, however, are semi-automatic handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The ban would therefore affect nearly 50 percent of all gun owners since many of the guns in question are “mechanically indistinguishable” from traditional hunting rifles, according to Gun Owners of America. Likewise, The Wall Street Journal has reported that 20-30 million hunting rifles are covered by the ban. Thus, the claim circulated by liberals that only criminals use these banned weapons is blatantly false.

But why would the average, law-abiding citizen ever need a semi-automatic rifle?

Tragically, the past decade is rife with instances when citizens needed more than just a simple handgun to defend themselves because the government had failed in its fundamental mission to uphold law and order.

The Los Angeles riots were just such a case. On April 29, 1992, the streets of downtown Los Angeles erupted in a riot as African-Americans enraged by the verdict in the Rodney King case went on a rampage in Korea Town. The carnage left 55 people dead, 2300 injured, and one billion dollars in property damage.

As one can imagine, in such a situation “assault” weapons would come in handy. As Senator Orrin Hatch observed in a recent Senate speech, the “Korean-American merchants would agree that when one is facing mob violence and the police are unable to respond, one may need a gun that shoots more than just six bullets or has a menacing appearance.”

The Los Angeles riots unfortunately are not an exception. The southernmost parts of states like California and Arizona have become a no man’s land as the trade in persons and illegal substances flows freely across the border—unhindered by an overstretched border patrol. Frequent clashes between Americans living near the border and illegal immigrants have escalated to the point that citizens are forming militias for their own protection.

And American history provides us with yet another example of when military-style weapons were necessary for self-defense. Lest we forget, the battles at Lexington and Concord were sparked by British attempts to seize weapons owned by the colonists. In this case, government itself was the aggressor. Those days may seem long gone, but it is important to remember that the capacity for self-defense was critical to the Framers’ conception of the good citizen.

In the age of big cities and big government, the republican citizen who is dependent on no one for his sustenance and self-defense may be a fading ideal, yet the harsh realities of modern America make respect for the right to bear arms more essential than ever.

Stephen Beale is editor of The Brown Spectator and the Director of the Foundation for Intellectual Diversity.

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R.H. Lee
August 9, 2004, 06:07 PM
Molon Labe, lefties. :fire:

Standing Wolf
August 9, 2004, 09:52 PM
The leftist extremists are just snivelling and whining. They know they're no chance to renew the so-called "assault weapons" ban now.

They'll pull out all the stops in January, 2005, after our elected misrepresentatives feel safe from us.

VaniB.
August 10, 2004, 12:03 AM
The leftist extremists are just snivelling and whining. They know they're no chance to renew the so-called "assault weapons" ban now.

You got the "now" part right. By your stuff quick in Sept, Oct. The joy of this AWB sunset will be short lived.
I'm greatful just to have this one last opportunity just by the luck of the draw. The luck being that George W. just squeeked into the presidency, and the timing that the ban just happens to expire a few weeks before the election.

Ewok
August 10, 2004, 02:42 AM
I have a lot of liberal friends, and none of them ever mention the AWB. They're all excited about throwing Bush out in Nov., but they couldn't care less about AWB sunsetting. Of course, maybe they understand that it won't make a bit of difference -- at least not directly -- in California, but I doubt that they know that much about it.

nhhillbilly
August 10, 2004, 09:47 AM
An assault weapon is any weapon being used to attack me. I don't care if it is a stick, knife, handgun or rifle. It is how the item is being used not the item. I cover many more fatel motor vehicle crashs then murder scene's. But what get the liberals panties twisted. :banghead:

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