By the standards of today’s anti-gun zealots, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) seems at first glance to be aiming rather low with H.R. 1263, which seeks to add to the National Firearms Act any “semiautomatic rifle or shotgun that has the capacity to accept a detachable [magazine].”
Oh, don’t get us wrong. No reasonable, freedom-loving person would try to impose such a preposterous, constitutionally-suspect burden on such a large swath of America’s firearm owners.
But unless you’re actually proposing to ban and confiscate guns, and maybe even to nuke resisters, you’re hardly at the vanguard of contemporary Democrat firearm prohibitionists.
Only last year, Deutch himself was co-sponsoring legislation to ban America’s most popular centerfire rifles.
And even now, he’s trying to ban and encourage the surrender of the types of magazines that are standard equipment on the firearms Americans commonly use to protect themselves and their homes.
So what gives? Is Ted going soft on his hatred for firearms?
As usual, the devil is in the details.
We all know by now that anti-gun Democrats want to ban AR-15s and other highly popular and extremely common semiautomatic rifles, which is why they generically refer to them as “assault weapons.”
Anti-gunners in fact compete with each other in trying to find the most comically hyperbolic terms to describe these ubiquitous firearms peacefully possessed by millions of law-abiding Americans.
Deutch himself prefers to call them “weapons of war made for the sole business of killing people.”
Heck, “award-winning journalist and … author” Nina Burleigh even tried to one up all gun controllers by tweeting, “Almost every single person I’ve ever heard of with an AR-15 has been a mass murderer.”
But if anti-gun Democrats are so proud of wanting to ban “assault weapons,” why would one of them settle for the lesser step of regulating them under the NFA, in which case they’d still be legal but subject to a $200 tax, federal registration, a de facto waiting period of many months, and reams of red tape?
While the H.R. 1263 takes a lesser step than an outright ban, it also substantially expands the types of firearms affected by the bill. Usually “assault weapons” are legislatively defined as a semiautomatic rifle or shotgun with one or more “military style features” – things like pistol grips, flash hiders, collapsible stocks, etc. – that any serious person understands do not fundamentally change the ballistics, performance, or capacity of gun.
Deutch’s latest bill avoids this by drawing a much brighter line at all semiautomatic rifles and shotguns fed by a detachable magazine.
This is much more sweeping in scope than any “assault weapon” ban currently pending in Congress.
It would include not just centerfire rifles like the AR-15 and AK variants but even the sorts of rimfire .22 and .17 rimfire rifles used for target shooting or hunting small game like rabbits or squirrels or for teaching the fundamentals of marksmanship to Scouts and summer campers. There are tens of millions of these rifles currently in law-abiding hands.
It’s enlightening to see that anti-gun members of Congress, who claim to be focused on reducing “gun violence,” are more concerned with rimfire rifles used for plinking and small game than focusing on why so few criminals who try to buy a gun are actually prosecuted. Perhaps Congressman Deutch has a special affinity for squirrels, rabbits, and woodchucks.
This article originally appeared at nraila.org and is reprinted here with permission.