Written by Right Side News
On Jan. 24, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced S. 150, her long-anticipated bill to ban "assault weapons" and "large" magazines. Contrary to media claims that Feinstein wants to "reinstate" the 1994 ban, the bill will go much further toward her stated long-term goal of gun confiscation, imposing a host of absurdly broad definitions and onerous restrictions:
Though not requiring registration of currently owned firearms under the National Firearms Act (as Feinstein threatened in December), the new bill would go far beyond the failed 1994 semi-auto ban by requiring background checks on the private transfer of any "grandfathered" firearm.
Finally, unlike the 1994 ban, the new bill will not include an automatic "sunset" clause, so it would remain in effect unless repealed.
In announcing the bill, Feinstein misrepresented the effectiveness of past semi-auto bans. For example, she claimed that Maryland's "assault pistol" ban had reduced crime. But in Maryland, the murder trend after the state passed its ban on so-called "assault pistols" was far worse than in the rest of the country. Similarly, in California, during the first five years after passage of the state's 1989 "assault weapon" ban, the state's murder rate increased 26 percent, compared to an 11 percent increase in the rest of the country. During the first five years after California expanded the ban starting in 2000, the state's murder rate increased 10 percent, compared to a six percent decrease in the rest of country.
Feinstein also misrepresented the findings of a congressionally mandated study completed by Jeffrey Roth and Christopher Koper for the Urban Institute.
In the handouts provided by her office, Feinstein claimed the report said "Assault weapons are disproportionately involved in murders with multiple victims, multiple wounds per victim, and police officers as victims." But here's whatthe report really found:
"Some of our own analyses added evidence that assault weapons are disproportionately involved in murders with multiple victims, multiple wounds per victim, and police officers as victims" (emphasis added), but "We were unable to detect any reduction to date in two types of gun murders that are thought to be closely associated with assault weapons, those with multiple victims in a single incident and those producing multiple bullet wounds per victim. We did find a reduction in killings of police officers since mid-1995. However, the available data are partial and preliminary, and the trends may have been influenced by law enforcement agency policies regarding bullet-proof vests."
The misuse and misinterpretation of study findings has become a common tactic of anti-gun politicians because they know that the 1994 ban had no real impact on crime. In one of the frequent moments of candor that make his allies cringe, Vice-President Biden admitted as much in an online forum Jan. 24, saying, "[I]t is true that the vast majority of gun deaths in America are not a consequence of the use of an assault weapon" and that a ban "is not an answer to all the problems." Nonetheless, Biden claimed the ban is a "rational limitation" because in his opinion, people concerned about self-defense should just use double-barreled shotguns anyway.
Despite advice like this, Americans have voted with their pocketbooks, buying about 50 million semi-automatic firearms--including nearly 4 million AR-15 rifles--since 1991. And, since the Supreme Court said in District of Columbia v. Heller that a handgun ban was unconstitutional in part because "handguns are the most popular weaponchosen by Americans for self-defense in the home," popular rifles should be just as firmly protected.
To find contact information for your elected officials, use the "Write Your Reps" feature at www.NRAILA.org. You can reach your member of Congress by phone at 202-224-3121. Click here for tips on effective communication with your lawmakers, and don't forget to visit www.GunBanFacts.com for the truth about semi-auto bans..