No one doubts Dianne Feinstein likely reacted with horror at the scenes of mass shootings in America this past year. You'd have to be pretty callous to assume that she is anything but concerned. By the same token, we should not assume that her pending assault weapons ban, which will soon be put before Congress, is anything but a brazen ploy to attach her name to the rising star of "gun control." The question of the day should be: Is this ban something that might actually make sense in these times?
Right off the bat we know that there is no "making sense" of this kind of killing. By definition a normal person doesn't walk into a crowd and begin blazing away. So, it's a given that even if the shooter is judged to be legally sane for trial purposes, he really isn't. Does the new and improved assault weapons ban do anything in a positive way to address mental health and the possession of scary looking guns? No it doesn’t.
When senseless tragedies occur, the immediate reaction from the people is to yell “DO SOMETHING.” Established politicians understand that action, any action, cements their image on the electorate. By issuing this bill, the senator gets her name in the news and as an added bonus gets to upstage the vice president as he conducts an investigation ordered by the president. The Feinstein assault weapons ban makes sense if you are a politician desperately seeking relevance.
Most people in the United States do not care one way or the other how the government is run. But, for those who do care they tend to fall into one or two small, vocal, and dedicated camps. Each side has its’ champions, key issues, and is fueled by lofty rhetoric. The major difference is that those most vocally disapproving of the president and the current government tend to be well armed. Even if they do nothing, the Feinstein assault weapons ban makes sense for politicians worried about a polarized and armed populace.
There is a very small minority of citizens who have decided that our own government may at some point in the future become the enemy. There is a larger group of citizens who simply feel the federal government has become too intrusive in our private lives. Both groups tend to be armed, and yet the revolution hasn’t started. Instead, each group is content to simply watch, and make small preparations. The Feinstein assault weapons ban makes no sense if you are an advocate of smaller, less intrusive, government, and worry about the potential for tyranny.
In 2011, 9,878 people in the United States died in DUI fatalities. We tried to outlaw, or ban if you will, alcohol in the 1920’s. It didn’t work. In fact, many believe that Prohibition led to the rise of organized crime in the USA. We spend about $500 per second in the war on drugs. It hasn’t worked. Alcohol, drugs, and automobiles are inanimate objects that cannot harm a soul without human guidance. Any law that attempts to stop crime by criminalizing objects of the crime is doomed to failure. The Feinstein assault weapons ban makes no sense if you believe that people commit crimes, not objects.
Many in the U.S. is aware that we had an assault weapons ban in place during the Columbine High School shootings. But according to the FBI the U.S. violent crime rate is falling in spite of the recent mass shooting incidents. Both the UK and Austrailia have bans in place and the wished for improvements did not occur. The Feinstein assault weapons ban makes no sense when you know that violent crime is trending downward and that other bans didn’t make a difference.
Did you know that according to the government there is a good chance that you are in the unorganized militia? Whether you believe the Second Amendment applies to militia groups or individuals, the ban clearly violates the concept of “…Shall not be infringed.” The Feinstein assault weapons ban makes no sense if you have read the Constitution. This is especially true if you believe in literal application or even original intent.
The ban is targeting weapons that possess one or more of a specified list of cosmetic enhancements. These enhancements are considered as being solely applicable to weapons used in war. The fact is that while these features have applicability on the battlefield, it is in ease of handling or usage. None of them except the bayonet lug (no longer a criteria, by the way) do anything to make them more lethal. Fully automatic (machine guns, sub-machine guns, and machine pistols) weapons have been outlawed for decades. Even the military has moved away from full auto in individual hands. The M16A1 service rifle was capable of semi-automatic fire and fully automatic fire. That was deemed to waste ammunition. The last version of the M16 I worked with featured a three round burst instead of full auto. Current machine guns such as the M240, MK19, M2, or M249 are not available for sale to the average civilian. I think we can conclude: The Feinstein assault weapons ban makes no sense if you have experience with actual military weapons.
The answer to "does it make sense?" will depend on who you are and where you stand on other issues. In my case the score is 5-2 in favor of the ban not making sense.