March 2013

Downrange: March 2013

Todd Woodard

Like other gun-control supporters, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) campaigned for banning handguns in the 1980s. Since the early 1990s, however, she has campaigned for banning a variety of firearms — mostly rifles — she calls “assault weapons,” along with any firearm magazine that holds 11 or more rounds of ammunition, which she calls “large.” The NRA-ILA points out that numbers of all of the firearms and magazines that Sen. Feinstein has advocated banning have risen to all-time highs. Americans now own about 100 million handguns, tens of millions of “assault weapons,” and many tens of millions of “large” magazines. While Feinstein tells reporters that Americans support another gun and magazine ban, Americans are buying in unprecedented numbers everything that Feinstein wants to ban. Illustrating the point, Americans bought 11 million new guns in 2012, and background checks for firearms increased 53 percent percent during the November 2012-January 2013 time frame, as compared to the same three-month period a year earlier.

Meanwhile, from 1991 through 2011, the nation’s murder rate decreased by more than half, to a 48-year low, nearly the lowest point in American history, and in the first six months of 2012 decreased another 2%. Historic levels of guns, and nearly historic lows in crime. Something to think about.

This Act May Be Cited as the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013.” If passed into law, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) bill, S. 150, would criminalize the choices of law-abiding Americans who legally purchased modern sporting rifles, shotguns and handguns. The National Shooting Sports Foundation notes that Feinstein’s legislation covers many more firearms, including handguns and shotguns, than did the 1994 ban on semi-automatic rifles. The NSSF says she seeks to lower the threshold of what firearms would be banned, by requiring only one cosmetic feature to define an “assault weapon” instead of two. The new bill also looks to reinstate the ban on magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. Finally, there is no sunset provision, meaning this bill would ban modern sporting rifles forever, NSSF points out. An earlier version of the legislation calls for current, legal owners of modern sporting rifles to be fingerprinted, photographed and have their firearms registered in a federal database.

I also took a quick look through the specifically named banned guns to see what I’ve personally owned over the years. (I’m pretty hard to please, so I tend not to keep firearms very long.) Included were several AK types, some ARs, some AR pistols, and some Izhmash Saiga shotguns. They have all moved on to happier homes, and I don’t really miss them. But just because Di-Fi doesn’t want me to have them makes me want them all the more. GT

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