kamala harris
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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By now gun owners have become accustomed to a certain measure of ignorance from anti-gun politicians and their lapdogs in the mainstream press on matters of firearms policy. It’s the flamboyant stridency of that ignorance that remains shocking.

Last week, the presidential campaign of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) announced that if elected president the candidate would ban the importation of AR-15-style “assault weapons.” Characterizing the campaign’s proposal, Politico reported,

Harris wants to ban AR-15-style assault weapon imports and suspend all other assault weapon imports until the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can analyze whether they should be permanently banned under U.S. law. Her campaign argues the weapons could be banned because they aren’t “suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.”

At a campaign event in Nashua, N.H. Harris herself told those gathered, “I’m announcing for the first time today here with you to take executive action to ban the import of assault weapons into our country.”

Predictably, Harris’s proposal was trumpeted by an uncritical press.

Apparently unbeknownst to the candidate and her media sycophants, the federal government already prohibits the importation of so-called “assault weapons.”

Under the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Attorney General has a measure of discretion regarding what firearms may be imported into the United States. 18 U.S.C. § 925 states,

(d) The Attorney General shall authorize a firearm or ammunition to be imported or brought into the United States or any possession thereof if the firearm or ammunition–

(3) is of a type that does not fall within the definition of a firearm as defined in section 5845(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and is generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes…

The “generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes” language has become known as the much-maligned “sporting purposes test.”

In 1989, the George Bush administration used the sporting purposes test to prohibit the importation of certain types of commonly-owned semi-automatic rifles. In 1998, under the direction of  President Bill Clinton, ATF used the sporting purposes test to expand the 1989 import ban to encompass a larger category of semi-automatic firearms.

The Clinton import ban included what the bureau termed “large capacity military magazine rifles,” or LCMM rifles. LCMM rifles are those capable of accepting standard capacity magazines; like the AR-15. In an April 1998 document titled “Department of the Treasury Study on the Sporting Suitability of Modified Semiautomatic Assault Rifles,” ATF determined that “LCMM rifles are not generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes and are therefore not importable.” At the time, White House official Jose Cerda told the press, “We are taking the law and bending it as far as we can to capture a whole new class of guns.”

NRA-ILA opposes the sporting purposes test as well as ATF’s application of the test. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as interpreted in District of Columbia v. Heller protects an individual’s right to access firearms in common use for lawful purposes. Self-defense is a lawful purpose, and therefore firearms suitable to that purpose should be available independent of any “sporting” application.

Regarding interpretation of 18 U.S.C. § 925, ATF has adopted a cramped reading of the operative passage. As explained in ATF’s January 2011 “Study on the Importability of Certain Shotguns,” the agency refuses to recognize informal sport shooting such as plinking and practical shooting competitions like 3-gun as falling under the scope of “sporting purposes.”

Moreover, the agency has read the “or readily adaptable” language out of the statute entirely, as evidenced by the popularity of commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms for the traditional sports of target shooting and hunting.

However misguided, for more than 20 years the federal government has prohibited the importation of commonly-owned semi-automatic rifles that Harris would term “AR-15-style assault weapons.”

Harris’s proposal to enact a policy that has already been in place for two decades reveals the candidate’s appalling disregard of the facts. The mainstream media’s complicity in this embarrassing episode reveals their inability or unwillingness to correct even the most egregious statements from their preferred candidates.

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  1. Not knowing that you don’t know is the definition of “Secondary Ignorance”. If you are unable to understand what you don’t know, then meaningful change is impossible. People experiencing secondary ignorance are doomed to be perpetually uninformed as a result. This is why their mindset allows them to describe a barrel shroud as “A shoulder thing that goes up . . .”.

    • Wanna bet she does know? It’s the use of “ban” and “assault rifles” together that matter in her campaign. When her subjects see this, they think “ban them in the USA”. It’s actually the same strategy a lot of politicians use to run and gather followers. People are that ignorant. I’m willing to bet she knows and uses it as a “HOPE” style banner to feed her greed. That way, she can write some bullshit and say “hey, look what I did for you”. Of course there is the possibility that she’s totally unaware as well, but it sounds more like a campaign slogan to me.

    • if it “sounds good”…say it…the people these comments are directed at wouldn’t know the difference anyway…

  2. If it were simply ignorance, we might cut em a little slack. But we all know that’s not the case, fry em!

  3. “When It Comes to Gun Laws, Democrats and the Media Don’t Know Care What They Don’t Know”

    There, fixed it for ya’

  4. FOLLOW THE MONEY…it is American firearms manufacturers that are “selling us the rope to hang from”…
    It is a loosely-guarded secret that domestic firearms manufacturers encouraged the Bush importation ban in order to bolster their own “bottom line”. Not only were complete firearms banned from importation, barrels were banned as well.
    In fact, Bill Ruger weighed in on the “Assault Weapon Ban” and suggested that a ten-round magazine capacity limit be imposed.
    Sometimes, the “enemy” is in our own backyard…

    • Get over it already. Truth is Bill Ruger tried to get them to impose a 10 round magazine limit instead of banning the guns because he figured the magazine ban could be repealed and they’d go right back to making them, but if they banned the guns there wouldn’t be anything to put the 20 or 30 round magazines into. And when it did happen, look what the result was – exactly what Bill Ruger predicted.

    • Whatever Bill Ruger’s reasoning was or wasn’t, he is long deceased and his company has continued to excel in gun design and support of the Second Amendment. That includes standard capacity magazines well beyond ten rounds.

      Any negatives on the Ruger name have long ago been overwhelmed by positives, as far as I am concerned.

  5. Does the media know anything? All reporting is is reading peoples Twitter feeds on camera. When the networks start using CGI anchors to save millions the only people who will notice are the newly unemployed anchors. They’ll all be replaced by Max Headroom without the personality within 10 years.

  6. When it comes to guns (and pretty much everything else), the Demoncrats and the media think we’re stupid.

    • The media and Dems don’t care about you period. They are busy keeping their supporters in check via anything anti-gun that comes to mind be correct or incorrect!

    • Depends what you mean by “we.” Like when Obamacare architect Johnathan Gruber was crowing about how stupid everyone was for accepting Obamacare uncritically. Given that it never had popular support and didn’t get a single GOP vote, who exactly are the idiots Gruber was mocking? Seems like the same applies here.

  7. Not to worry, K. Harris Will NOT, I repeat,,, WILL NOT, be president,,,
    I’m pretty sure that there are some Democrats out there that have & like guns,,, let the jerk politicians talk crap about removing 2-A freedoms & maybe they will turn on the party of NO…!

    • That is what many folks claimed about Trump. Stick to predicting lottery numbers; you will have better luck.

      • On the front page of my local paper today Northern California) (which is unfortunately owned by USA Today) was an article stating that Kamala’s numbers are slipping in her own state that just elected her to the Senate. They took a big hit when she admitted, despite her anti-gun rhetoric, that she owns a revolver for personal protection, which apparently a bunch of liberals believe is an automatic disqualification.

        • there’s just something about her that’s unlikable….a pure politician…very hilliary like…

        • Personally, I think the fact that she’s an insufferable moron should be a disqualifier.

  8. They know, they just don’t care.

    The cities these antgun groups and pols come from refuse to enforce their own laws against the criminal element blaming other states for their out of control violent crime.

    They know their laws Don’t work and have openly admitted it.

    They know who is responsible for the violent crime but won’t do anything about it and anyone trying to Will be called every ist and ism in the book and be blacklisted and attacked for it.

  9. “When It Comes to Gun Laws, Democrats and the Media Don’t Know What They Don’t Know”

    And what they “don’t know”, could fill the Edmund Fitzgerald…

  10. “,,,,particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes…”

    Grrrrr…”sporting purposes”…. I particularly hate that bit of nonsense.

    • It’s ironic that in the old Miller case, the justification for banning short-barrelled shotguns was lack of militia purpose. Modern anti-gun jurisprudence is ridiculous, as you can’t infer sporting purpose from the second amendment.

      • We shouldn’t have to state a reason for or justify why we own guns. Just like tattoos, some folk want to know why others have them, but those who have tattoos don’t ever wonder why others DON”t have them!

        • Absolutely, and it is also none of their business what you own. It is a right, not a privilege granted by some autocrat.

  11. Don’t forget Slick Willie’s Chinese buddy who created Thumbhole Sporter AK47s to get around the 1994 AWB. He imported tens of thousands of them. He also imported “replacement” furniture and clamp-on flash hiders to un-neuter them, generally sold at the next table over at gun shows.

  12. It’s not just guns. Journalists are ignorant about nearly every subject they cover. I don’t expect them to be experts in everything. However, they could check their facts with reputable sources before publishing. That appears to take more time and effort than they are willing to invest.

    • Sad, but true. Journalism today is a matter of sitting by the computer with a bottle of Jack Daniels waiting for the next email from the gubmint.

  13. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) may very well not be Constitutionally eligible to be president, another BC case.

  14. O.K. Let’s just stop the bullshit…every Importer and domestic gun maker will just stamp “Sporting Model” onto Every riffle/shotgun/Pistol/revolver and derringer.
    I can’t be the only one who thought of this.

    • The NSSF needs to create more firearms sporting events. Get the tobacco companies to sponsor the events. The word SPORTING and FIREARMS should be present in the names of all of the events.

      • You can stamp anything you want. Importation requires having enough points. Points are earned for having “target sights” target grips, longer barrels etc..
        This is why you couldn’t import the first Glock 380 the Walther TPH etc…

      • If it is so easy, why aren’t they doing it already? Importation of these evil non-sporting guns has been banned for last 21 years!

    • Agree with that, for sure. Once again, I say, The second ammendment perfectly clear. It does not need a sporting purpose clause tagged on to it. That is not what it is for.

      • “the right of the people to keep and bear sporting toys shall not be infringed.” Is that the way that went?

  15. That’s how the campaign trail works: You create a problem that doesn’t exist and when elected, you “fix” it. You don’t have to do any work and it makes you look productive.

  16. Oh they know, and they aren’t misguided. Their goal with gun control is to destroy gun culture, and ultimately on a bigger scale, the destruction of the American and Western way of life.


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