President Joe Biden and his party’s backers are moving rapidly to institute sweeping gun control legislation which, if enacted, would certainly not make America safer from what he characterized as an “epidemic of gun violence” in the U.S.
In his April 8 remarks in the White House Rose Garden attended by V.P. Kamala Harris, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and a number of Congressional Democratic members, Biden unveiled a series of executive actions, including an effort to rein in kits and parts used to create so-called “ghost guns” with untraceable serial numbers to avoid owner background checks.
Additionally included, are bans on stabilizing braces, which can effectively turn a pistol into a rifle, and the issuance of “red flag” laws allowing allow family members or law enforcement agencies to petition state courts to temporarily block people from obtaining firearms if suspected of presenting a danger to themselves or others.
Biden also announced that he is nominating David Chipman, a strong gun control advocate, to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF.
Chipman posted on Facebook in April 2020: “If you are one of the Americans who bought their first gun in March [influenced by COVID shutdowns] and think absent a day of training you’re ready for the Zombie apocalypse you’re not. If you give me a couple of rolls of toilet paper you’re hoarding I’ll take care of the zombies on your block.”
In addition, the president said the nation should reinstate a version of the Clinton administration’s Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 which he helped to pass in the shadow of mass shootings like the 1989 Cleveland Elementary School shooting in Stockton, Calif.
Designed to last for a period of 10 years, its intended effect was to bar the sale of semi-automatic weapons and large capacity magazines to civilians.
As always, the term “assault weapons” was never defined, subject to a predictable series of slippery slope restrictions that include semi-automatic firearms that can be claimed to look like military weapons.
The ban not only infringed on Second Amendment rights … it simply didn’t work, and it expired in 2004 under President George W. Bush.
A 1997 DOJ study explained that “At best, the assault weapons ban can have only a limited effect on total gun murders, because the banned weapons and magazines were never more than a modest fraction of gun murders.”
A 2004 DOJ study reiterated this point, noting “AWS [assault weapons] and LCMs [large capacity magazines] were used in only a minority of crimes prior to the 1994 ban,” and that relatively few attacks involve more than 10 shots fired.” The study went on to determine, “the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”
FBI Uniform Crime Reporting data shows that in 2017, there were four times as many individuals killed with “knives or cutting instruments,” than with any type of rifle. Rifles were also listed as being used in fewer homicides than” blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.)” or personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.).
On February 14, the president called on Congress to institute “commonsense gun law reforms,” including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.”
Dutifully eager to respond, a new bill “Assault Weapons Ban of 2021” introduced by Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., would prohibit the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 205 “military-style assault weapons” by name, and bans magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. It not only prohibits a greater number of weapons than the original law, but would make it harder to retrofit them.
The bill would not affect gun owners already in possession of these weapons on the date of enactment, and purportedly exempts more than 2,200 firearms of “hunting, household defense or recreational purposes.”
Despite holding a slim majority in both chambers, Democrats still face an uphill battle in the fight to strengthen the nation’s gun restrictions where the bill would require full party support and at least 10 GOP votes to break any Republican-led filibuster.
The House has not passed a bill on banning assault weapons, but already two bills aimed at gun safety — both focused on background checks for gun sales — seem stalled in the Senate.
Opponents view ultimate end-goals slippery-slope Democrat gun control regulation proposals predictably leading to civilian gun registration and confiscation.
And whereas Rhode Island Rep. Cicilline, one of the authors of the 2021 bill, said that “a mass gun grab is not his focus nor that of any of his colleagues,” there’s no trust in that very temporary focus the Republican side of the aisle.
“I’ve never been more worried about an attack on the Second Amendment than I am right now,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said earlier this month during remarks opposing an assault weapons ban.
Sen. Graham added: “One of the things about our Constitution is that we understood early on that if you live in a dictatorship, or in places where the government runs everything, the first thing they take away from you is not just your speech, but your ability to defend yourself.”
So why is a ban on “ghost guns” built from “parts kits” relevant and objectionable?
Possibly because many people — myself included — like to modify and improve special features of our guns from custom parts to enhance performance. AR-15s, so-called “assault weapons” — also branded as “weapons of war” — likely top the list of most popular firearms and owner-customized firearms in America. Outlawing all gun parts manufacture and purchases will certainly follow.
Perhaps it’s because phantom ghost-busters and other gun banning legislators and activists who self-seriously post lists of guns they “will allow us to own” don’t know a rat-a-tat about the difference between single-trigger-pull-“bang” semi-automatic firearms that are legal and military automatic firearms that haven’t been legal for most civilians to own since the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) in 1986.
And maybe, lots of us are given good reason to fear that we may very well need to rely on those ghost guns to protect ourselves and families from a zombie apocalypse of resurrected useless Clinton-era bans — and worse — if the Democrats are successful in killing the Senate filibuster rule, adding four new reliably liberal Washington, D.C. Senate seats, packing the Supreme Court with four or more constitutionally-revisionist Justices, and ultimately, gunning down our Second amendment freedoms altogether.
Yeah — maybe that’s why.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 10 books, “What Makes Humans Truly Exceptional,” (2021) is available on Amazon along with all others. Read Larry Bell’s Reports — More Here
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