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 tomorrow grow to include much more. 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 trendy thing is to call for a complete civilian ban on all semi-automatics. And you thought they just wanted your scary black rifles.
The latest attempt to massively expand the type of firearms law-abiding citizens can own comes from 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.”
<deep sigh> Really folks?
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 108 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 “full semi-automatic”, the ludicrous phase 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”. 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 100 million of the estimated 300 million, or 1/3, of all 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. A revamped, far left activist Supreme Court could interpret things completely differently or reverse Heller all together.
Does it really make a difference what a little group of unknown anti-gun zealots with no knowledge of firearms says is “the most severe gun-related problem facing our society..”? Sadly, yes. Because once the anti-gun media picks it up and spreads it around the country like it’s the most intelligent public safety idea that ever existed, it becomes mainstream thinking and sooner or later, it winds up in a new law.
Yes, there are lawsuits being filed in every gun control state over the enactment of unconstitutional, do nothing gun control laws, but even in the absolute best of circumstances, it’s a crapshoot. The chances of getting these laws reversed is slim at best and even when they are reversed, new ones are crafted to take their place.
The ONLY way to keep these kinds of unconstitutional laws from being enacted in the first place is to STOP electing anti-gun politicians. Regardless of how attractive their other platform items are, if they can’t support and defend the most basic elements of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, how are you going to trust them to do anything else?
Meanwhile, take your vintage Mannlicher 1885 out for a shoot, while you still can.
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