Semi-Automatic Mechanisms — The New Assault Weapons, Updated
With the possibility of a new administration that has promised to ban the manufacture and sale of so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines”, let’s take another look at what a new ban will likely include. While the most commonly mentioned target is the AR-15 & AK-47 pattern rifles — using the completely inaccurate and scary terminology of “weapons of war”, gun control legislation from around the country provides ample evidence that the scope will be much wider. Firearms with so-called “evil features” are commonly included. Now add the latest trend to include the “semi-automatic mechanism” and you can ban many more commonly owned firearms. And you thought they just wanted your scary black rifles.
Politically defined terms like so-called “assault weapons” have many problems. Among them is the definition tends to evolve over time. It can mean one thing today and grow to include much more tomorrow. These terms also tend to be geographically specific. An “assault weapon” in one state — or even city — isn’t an “assault weapon” in another. Each jurisdiction gets to pick and choose what they think an “assault weapon” is. The new thing is to call for a complete civilian ban on all semi-automatics.
One of the latest attempts to massively expand the type of firearms law-abiding citizens are restricted from started in Massachusetts. In the wake of the shooting in a gun free zone in Virginia Beach, VA, an unknown group of naysayers came out with the revelation that the .45 caliber handguns used in that shooting shares the same deadly feature as the dreaded AR-15 — the semi-automatic mechanism. Now, “the most severe gun-related problem facing our society is the proliferation of guns containing a semiautomatic mechanism.”
Their organization “is working to achieve legislation that will ban the semiautomatic mechanism in any gun sold or owned in Massachusetts. These are weapons that were designed for military and law enforcement purposes only and not for the general public. Revolvers, lever-action, pump-action, and bolt-action guns cover the full spectrum of civilian needs, whether they are hunting, personal protection, or home protection. The semiautomatic mechanism for guns has no place in civilian hands.”
Sadly, this absolutely absurd idea was quickly adopted by gun control extremist legislators in numerous states and is now either proposed legislation or has been added onto their list of “assault weapons”.
Of course, the first successful semi-automatic firearm was designed by Ferdinand Ritter von Mannlicher in 1885. The iconic Model 1911 pistol has been in service from — you guessed it — 1911, that’s 109 years old! There’s nothing horribly sinister or deadly about the mechanism, it simply ejects the fired cartridge and loads the next one to be fired the NEXT time the trigger is pulled. The capacity of the magazine determines how many times you can pull the trigger before the firearm is empty. Massachusetts, being one of the nanny gun control states, says that number is 10. Of course, a standard 1911 magazine is only eight.
If it’s not a magazine capacity thing, is it the shooting speed the antis don’t like? Of course not. Semi-automatics don’t fire any faster than revolvers. In fact, the world’s fastest shooter used a revolver to put eight rounds on target in one second. And no, there is no such thing as “fully semi-automatic”, the ludicrous phrase coined by an anti-gun former Army officer in the employ of CNN.
Why the new fixation on all things semi-automatic? It’s merely an attempt to put more firearms on the banned list and get them taken out of the hands of law-abiding civilian owners. The tactic has been used for years in the states that have some sort of “assault weapon” definition. What started as a specific list of firearms “too deadly for civilian use” has been systematically expanded to include firearms with purely cosmetic “evil features” such as pistol grips, adjustable stocks, threaded barrels and flash hiders or the ability to utilize a “high-capacity” magazine. The State of Washington now defines ALL semi-automatic rifles as semi-automatic assault rifles. Massachusetts went so far as to outlaw the mechanism used in AR-15’s and AK-47’s and bans any firearm that has interchangeable parts, such as the extractor or extractor assembly, with the AR-15 or AK-47.
How many firearms in the United States are semi-automatic? Depending on how you slice the data, you’d be looking at roughly 150 million of the estimated 400 million civilian owned firearms in this country.
Would an all-out ban on semi-automatic firearms survive a Constitutional challenge, especially in light of the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller decision and the “in common use at the time” test? No, of course not. But that’s ONLY with the current makeup of the United States Supreme Court. An expanded Supreme Court packed with far-left activist justices (you know, to “reduce the influence of politics”), would undoubtedly interpret this differently or reverse Heller all together.
Will a new ban make all these “semi-automatic assault weapons” just go away? Of course not, that will take time. Using a combination of registration through the NFA (National Firearms Act) and mandatory buybacks for those who can’t afford the $200 per firearm and $200 per magazine NFA fee. Of course, NFA firearms are currently fully transferable, so this will need to be changed to the same design as California’s registered “assault weapons”, which cannot be transferred or inherited.
“Assault weapons” are not just about AR-15 or AK-47’s, or “high-capacity” magazines. It’s about all the commonly owned, and in the vast, Vast, VAST majority of situations in our country, lawfully used firearms. “Assault weapons” is a bottomless pit that will be used to dump an ever-increasing number of banned firearms until the number you can legally own is zero.
Do you want to keep the lawfully owned and legally used firearms you have today? Do you want your children and grandchildren to have access to the same modern and effective firearms you have today?
This is why the Georgia Senate runoffs and the independence of the United States Supreme Court are so important.
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