Monday, September 13, 2004

Assault Weapons Ban Expires Today

There was an article over the weekend putting a local perspective on the expiration of the federal "assault weapons ban."

First, what exactly did the assault weapons ban actually ban? It made it illegal to manufacture firearms with such evil things as a bayonet, flash supressor, pistol grip, or folding stock. What the ban did not do, is ban semi-automatic firearms. In fact, firearms that were manufactured before the ban went into effect were still legal. Everything the law banned was still available during the time period that the law was in effect.

What was the practical effect of the law? It basically outlawed the manufacture of firearms with certain cosmetic details. It also outlawed the manufacture of firearms magazines (clips) that could hold more than ten rounds. However, hundreds of thousands of 30 or more round magazines, imported before the ban, are still readily available.

The weekend GR Press article cites a statistic that in 1995, 3.5% of all gun crimes involved an assault weapon, but only 1.22 percent in 2002. But, it doesn't cite the statistic that all crime is down 55% in the last decade. In fact, crime in the United States is at a 30 year low. That's an inconvenient fact for the gun grabbers. But the point is this; all the weapons that were available before the ban went into effect were still available during the ban.

Even the US Justice Department's own study on the issue concluded that, "We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation's recent drop in gun violence."

Grand Rapids Police Chief Harry Dolan is quoted in the GR Press article as saying:

"Before the ban, (magazines) were at 30 rounds, 50 rounds and 100 rounds. What is the value to anyone other than the military, with a magazine that shoots 100 rounds a minute?" Dolan asked. "I personally have a great deal of respect for hunters and sportsmen. These are made for hunting human beings, not hunting deer."

Has the chief read the Second Amendment lately? Or how about Michigan Constitution's Article I Section 6:

Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state.

It's pretty clear that bearing arms isn't about hunting deer.

Besides, it's pretty damn hard to fire a semi-automatic rifle at 100 rounds a minute. It seems like the police chief would understand that a little better.

So, what do we conclude? The same as the government has concluded. The assault weapons ban was meaningless and it is a good that that it is expiring.

Far more detailed information on the ban is available at the AW Ban Sunset web page.

9-16-04 CORRECTION: Thanks to a pleasantly belligerent commenter, GR Pundit decided to consult our massive pool of firearms experts and conclude that it isn't so tough after all to fire 100 rounds a minute with a semi-automatic firearm. We regret this error, but rejoice in the fact that it will be easier than we thought to push back the hordes of invading Canadians when the world comes to that point.

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