mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

More guns, less crime. More gun control, more absurd statements...

As a temporary New Jersey resident for the next couple days, I had the fun of reading Fran Wood's Newark Star-Ledger column on the overturn of the assault weapons ban.

I'm too lazy to fisk the entire article, but there are a few stupid things that stand out that I needed to address.

The first is the breathless opening statement:

In case you haven't enough other things on your mind, I just thought I'd let you know that as of Sept. 13, assault weapons could start showing up on the streets again. Legally.

I'm not sure how guns show up on the street. I mean, I personally would love it if free guns just appeared on the street, but I don't think that's what Ms. Wood meant. I guess she could mean that people can now legally carry assault weapons around with them in New Jersey. Except they can't, because New Jersey doesn't have a concealed carry law, and I think if you walked down the street carrying an assault weapon, you would probably at some point be stopped by the police. I suppose she means that criminals, gangbangers, and robbers may now start carrying assault weapons and using them in the commision of crimes. But it's hard to use a weapon in the commission of a crime and still be legal, and it's hard to imagine that gangbangers and criminals base their gun purchases on federal gun laws.

iting the Second Amendment right to bear arms, they oppose virtually all forms of "gun control" as an infringement on that right.

"The NRA is still living in 1776," says Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-8th). "They oppose any legislation that curtails anything. They did it on the Saturday Night Special. They did it on the child safety lock. They do it on everything."

There is a good reason for this - because the more limits for guns that go into effect, the easier it is to slide down that slope to more regulation. If it's acceptable to ban so-called assault weapons, why not ban all semi-automatic weapons? If we can ban some cheap pistols (saturday night specials) we might as well ban all of them. That's why "gun nuts" don't want bans - because they know they will only beget more bans and more infringement on rights, no matter how benign they seem.

And would being back in 1776 be that bad in terms of guns and crime? I mean, there was a lot less crime back then, and a lot more individual freedom.

Opponents of the ban warn that it would infringe on the rights of sportsmen and hunters -- though the list of banned guns includes no traditional hunting firearms. Instead, the ban prohibits the manufacture, sale and importation of military-style, semi-automatic assault weapons and rapid-fire ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. It applies to precisely 19 semi-automatic firearms, leaving protected 670 semi- automatic firearms for hunting and recreation.

Except what seperates assult weapons from other weapons is primarily cosmetic stuff like grip type. They don't fire any faster. So what is the advantage of banning them. And while they might not be used much in hunting, they can be used in recreational shooting and collecting. People don't need to own a race car or a performance car like a Viper or Corvette, but that doesn't mean we should ban them.

That effectiveness was clear from the outset. After the first year, the National Institute of Justice found that police traces on assault weapons used in crimes had declined by 20percent. Nine years later, that decline has more than doubled.

I wonder if by some odd reason the number of non-assault semi-automatic weapons used increased. The fact that this statistic is so specific would make me think so. And if gun control laws worked, wouldn't the amount of assault weapons used have gone to zero? Oh, wait, I forgot, criminals don't follow gun laws - that's why they are criminals.


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