Calvin Warner, a student journalist (although not a journalism student) at Oklahoma State University believes than an assault weapon ban is just plain common sense. The young skull full of much asks, “How many more tragedies need to happen before the United States joins the modern world in banning assault weapons?” You know Cal, just because “everybody else” is doing something doesn’t make it a good idea. Didn’t your mother ever ask you, “If everybody was jumping off a cliff, would you jump too?” . . .
What does Cal consider an “assault weapon”? He’s happy to spell it out for us.
There is no reason anyone needs to be able to own a rapid-fire weapon capable of killing dozens of people. Weapons for self-defense and for hunting are one thing, but weapons made for the battlefield have no place in people’s homes.
I never said he’d give us a precise definition (which is a big part of the problem with all these proposed “assault weapon” bans). Indeed, like so many others, his definition is vague enough to cover virtually all modern metallic cartridge weapons. I also wonder if he includes cops in “anyone” because an awful lot of PDs across the country stock “battlefield” weapons in their armories now. To say nothing of the fact that just about any weapon ever built has been used on the battlefield at least a time or two.
And as for not needing such weapons for self-defense, tell that to the inhabitants of L.A.’s Koreatown or post-Katrina New Orleans, or to homeowners facing 3 or 4 home invaders, or to anyone living in one of the rapidly increasing number of cities where budget problems have forced police to cut back on crime response.
The Second Amendment was written in a time before semi-automatics. Banning assault weapons is a common-sense way to curb gun violence in America, and I don’t think anyone will feel that their rights are being seriously trampled on.
First of all Cal, you don’t get to choose how I feel about my natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional rights. Second, by your very phrasing you acknowledge that such a ban would be an infringement upon something which the Constitution (you know, the highest law of the land?) states shall not be infringed. Third, even if I accepted the validity of your social utility argument, it just isn’t true. As Emily Miller points out in her July 23rd column in The Washington Times:
The most recent FBI figures show just 358 of the 8,775 murders by firearm in 2010 involved rifles of any type. By comparison, 745 people were beaten to death with only hands that year, but no one has called for outlawing fists.
Fourth, your “semi-autos didn’t exist back then” argument is as silly as it is spurious. Automobiles, telephones, Reform Judaism, Mormonism, computers, the Internet . . . none of them existed “back then” but no one seriously suggests that they’re not covered by the Bill of Rights. In fact the inclusion of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 (the copyright and patent clause) in the Constitution shows that the Founders did anticipate there would be innovation and invention in the US and sought to encourage it.
And fifth, attempting to implement a gun ban would hardly be conducive to reducing “gun violence.” You see Cal, there are a bunch of us out here who might be called the ‘cold dead hands’ types. What you may not realize is that this isn’t just bumper-sticker hyperbole. There are people who actually feel that way. We use this statement to convey our willingness to die in defense of our civil rights.
The flip side is that it implies a willingness to kill for those rights as well. This is a topic David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh have both touched on fairly often. Since the vast majority of liberals and statists don’t have principles they’d be willing to die for, they are unable to conceive that there are men and women who do hold their principles that dear. This is one reason Mike gives for his essays and fiction, an attempt to warn people like you who ignorantly believe we are as craven as you are.
Let’s treat this as a philosophical mathematical exercise, shall we? According to a Gallup poll taken last October (2011), 47% of households report having a gun in their home (or on their property). Taking a S.W.A.G., let’s say 47% of the population between 20 and 65 are gun owners. According to Wikipedia, our population in 2012 is about 314,188,000 with 27.3% of that number under 20 and 12.8% over 65 leaving us with 59.9% of 314 million or about 188 million of an age to bear arms. 47% of that number is 55.46 million.
It’s generally accepted that between three and five percent of the population fought on the rebel side of the American Revolution (although some sources put it as high as 40%); so if we go with the low end and say that 3% of that gun-owning 55-odd million would be willing to take part in a new American Civil War. This leaves us with 1.66 million cold dead hands types.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010 there were 794,300 LEOs on the job. Hmmm, 794 divided by 1660 . . . carry the nine . . . 0.47 cops per CDH type. This assumes, of course, that every cop would be willing to violate the Second, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights of U.S. citizens and judging by the growth of the Oath Keepers, I don’t see that happening.
After the Dunblane massacre in the United Kingdom in 1996, the British government quickly responded with the Firearms Act of 1997, banning most small arms weapons throughout the country.
Actually it was after the Hungerford massacre (August of 1987, 16 dead, 15 wounded) that the first Firearms Act (of 1988) was passed in order to prevent future massacres. Next came the Monkseaton shootings in April of 1989 (not called a massacre because only 1 person died (but 14 were wounded)). Then there was the Dunblane massacre (March 1996, 17 dead, 15 wounded) leading to the banning of handguns, in order to prevent future massacres. Then came the Cumbria massacre (June of 2010, 12 dead, 11 injured). Do we see a pattern here, Cal?
So given that the UK has the highest violent crime rate in the EU, I’m not sure I’d use them as a shining example of successful gun control.
How will our government respond to the Aurora, Colo., massacre in July? Reports indicate that the gunman bought his ammunition anonymously online. Surely we can at least agree that it should be illegal to anonymously purchase machine gun ammunition over the Internet without having to pass any kind of background check.
First of all, if he bought it anonymously how do we know that he bought it at all? In fact there’s nothing at all anonymous about online ammo orders; even if you use an anonymous “gift card” the ammo still has to be shipped somewhere and it has to be signed for by someone over 18 (or 21 for handgun ammo).
Second, whyinthehell should anyone have to pass a background check in order to buy ammo? It’s bad enough that we have to pass a background check and show a photo ID (which requirement the DoJ says is racially discriminatory, at least when it comes to voting) to get a gun. But having already jumped through those hoops, why should we have to do the same in order to get ammo?
Third: what exactly is “machine gun ammunition”? Given that Cal’s talking about the Aurora shooting, he must mean .223 which is used in some full auto rifles, but also is used in the AR-15, one of the most popular (if not the most popular) rifles in America.
But Cal waits until the very end of his piece to reveal his true agenda:
As long as it is still legal for people with an intent to kill to obtain assault weapons and ammunition, all we can do as citizens is hope our town isn’t the next Aurora.
So what Cal really wants is a Bureau of Pre-Crime to prevent murders from happening. Sorry Cal, that’s not going to happen; the best we can hope for is that people wise up and stop going into “gun free zones” like the Aurora theater, the Sikh Temple, Fort Hood, Luby’s cafeteria, the San Ysidro McDonald’s, Stockton, Binghamton, Columbine, VA Tech, Red Lake . . . pretty much location of every single mass casualty shooting but one (Tucson) in the last 60 years.