Despite no single definition of what a so-called “assault weapon” is, our elected representatives are wasting no time trying to ban whatever an “assault weapon” is. Of course the ambiguity of what is and isn’t an “assault weapon” is one of it’s biggest advantages. By leaving the definition open to endless interpretation and addition, it can evolve to include just about every firearm, which is the intended purpose. What is just another legal firearm today is tomorrow’s illegal deadly and too dangerous in the hands of civilians “assault weapon”. What a wonderful time to be an anti-gun zealot!
As a little bit of history, the original assault weapon ban came to us from the great (gun hating) State of California. Enacted in 1989, it banned over 50 specific brands and models of rifles, pistols, and shotguns. This list is now referred to as Category One assault weapons. Category Two and Three followed, and the latest version is now the Bullet Button Assault Weapons. Each iteration of the law added more and more firearms to the banned list. Californians who owned them prior to their cut off dates could keep them as long as they were registered. Registration came with significant restrictions including not being able to sell them or pass them down to descendants.
Since then, other states and the federal government have passed assault weapons bans. The federal ban passed in 1994 sunsetted in 2004 and was not renewed. The same cannot be said for the state laws.
What is now considered an “assault weapon” varies by state. When banning individual makes and models wasn’t effective, a “features” test was added to the laws. This typically spells out innocuous ‘evil features’ such as a pistol grip, adjustable buttstock, flash suppressor or even a bayonet lug (because drive by bayonetting is apparently a concern). However this too is becoming ineffective in the eyes of the gun controllers and we now find assault weapon laws being written to include ALL semi-automatic rifles, pistols and shotguns of all calibers.
Even the new Federal Assault Weapon Ban of 2019 introduced by California’s senior Senator, the author of the original Federal Assault Weapon Ban, includes some upgrades to include more firearms. Specifically, it:
· Bans firearms containing a detachable magazine and one or more “military characteristics”.
· Bans stocks that are “otherwise foldable or adjustable in a manner that operates to reduce the length, size or any other dimension, or otherwise enhances the concealability of a firearm.”
· Bans assault pistols that weigh 50 or more ounces when unloaded.
· Bans assault pistol stabilizing braces that transform assault pistols into assault rifles by allowing the shooter to shoulder the weapon and fire more accurately.
· Bans Thordsen-type grips and stocks that are designed to evade a ban on assault weapons.
Of the notable inclusions are so-called “assault pistols”, a definition that now encompasses some large regular pistols and considering a pistol stabilizing brace as something that turns an “assault pistol” into an assault rifle — which is a completely different class of firearm. By calling out Thordsen-type grips and stocks, it’s clear than even firearms converted or originally designed to be free of all evil features — featureless rifles — they too will be considered an “assault weapon”.
If you can call any part of having your Second Amendment rights slowly but surely infringed amusing, it’s the logic applied to these laws.
Assault weapons are always referred to as being “high-powered” when in reality they are considered intermediate.
Assault weapons are not useful for hunting despite being “high-powered” and actually being used widely for smaller game.
Assault weapons are called “weapons of war” when no army in the world fields a semi-automatic version of these rifles.
Assault weapons are not suitable for home defense when in reality the size, configurability, ease of use and intermediate cartridge size makes them ideal, something millions of Americans have already discovered.
One politician in making the point that there is no need for “assault weapons” pointed out that many other rifles can do the exact same thing as an “assault weapon”.
Then of course there is the inconvenient truth that more homicides are committed in this country by knives or cutting instruments OR personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) OR blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.) than ALL rifles — a category which includes the most widely used definitions of “assault weapon”.
Law-abiding Americans use firearms of all shapes, sizes and configurations every day to defend themselves and their families at a rate of three to one over the felonious use of firearms.
It’s time to stop this moronic assault on our Second Amendment rights.
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