In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., the usual suspects, including President Obama, have made noises about renewing the ban on “assault weapons.” This ban was truly a bad idea when it was imposed under the equally feckless Bill Clinton in 1994 as the Orwellian titled Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act.
Why was it a bad idea? Because few in the general public even know what an “assault weapon” really is, other than the fact that it’s scary-looking.
According to the National Rifle Association and Wikipedia, the official criterion for an “assault rifle” is a weapon that has at least three of the following features:
» A folding telescoping stock.
» A pistol grip protruding conspicuously from below the stock.
» A bayonet “lug,” or mount.
» A flash suppressor or a threaded barrel to accept a suppressor.
» A grenade launcher.
Most importantly, to be a real assault rifle, the weapon must have the ability to fire multiple rounds in “automatic fire” mode without releasing the trigger. Most have a “selective firing switch” that will enable single shots, three-round bursts, or fully automatic fire. If you have a weapon that will not enable “burst mode,” or automatic fire, you do not have an “assault rifle.” There are additional features as well, too numerous to list here.
Thus, when “assault rifles” are discussed, it’s important to be accurate and not call an apple an orange.
Let’s make no mistake about the agenda here. The evil perpetrator who killed 26 people in Newtown would not have been stopped by a weapon that possessed a smaller-capacity magazine, no grenade launcher, no fully automatic fire, or the lack of a bayonet lug on his weapon. And the rampage was not ended until he decided to take his own life.
The last innocent body had barely hit the floor in Connecticut before the politicization of the tragedy was under way — to demand yet more restrictions on our Second Amendment rights under the Constitution. This is unacceptable.
As was noted during the campaign: It didn’t work before, and it won’t work now.
Albert F. Shank II