Saturday, September 11, 2004

Bush and Congress give terrorists new tools on the homefront, despite the urgings of law enforcement. Yes, potential terrorists probably could have smuggled assault weapons into the U.S. during the ban, but the idea is to make it as hard as possible for them to get their hands on them.

I had satisfied myself with restrictions on weapons with the assault weapons ban and the Brady Bill. Those were 2 pieces of legislation designed to limit the mass-killing ability of a bad guy, while allowing people with clean records to obtain handguns and hunting rifles. Plus, I gave up on any more restrictions when Newt Gingrich put off debate on guns for two weeks right after Columbine, as he did not want to pass hasty legislation. Apparently, the threshold for hasty legislation is somewhere between 13 and 2700 dead.

At least, when a few al Qaeda with AK-47's spray down dozens in a shopping mall or elementary school, we know whom to hold accountable for allowing them get ahold of the weapons.


Jeffrey Hill said...

If the idea is to make it as hard as possible for terrorists to get their hands on assault weapons, I'm afraid the ban would've been pretty ineffectual, according to my gun-nut friends.

Perhaps Mat should note that the 'anybody but Bush' candidate supported the ban and has recently criticized Bush for letting the sunset expire.

Bush did the right thing.

Dude said...

There actually is a precedent for a nut job shooting up a playground with an AK-47. Patrick Purdy fired 107 rounds at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton California in 1989. Five children were killed, 29 others plus an adult were wounded. This was before the assault weapons ban.
Now, one might respond that Klebold and Harris were able to get their TEC-9 for their Columbine attack during the ban. That was because the man who sold it to them (illegally) was able to purchase it thanks to the gun show loophole. Take away the loophole, and he may not have had it to pass to them in the first place.

Is there a good reason for people to have assault weapons? If we don't restrict ownership of those, why do we restrict ownership of RPG's? Claymore mines? M1 tanks?

When people say we need assualt weapons to protect ourselves from the government, I have to laugh. Let's say that a president decides to institute martial law and declare himself permanent head cheese. Those with assault weapons decide to play the Red Dawn card and stage an insurgency. And then the 1st Armored Division rolls in, and at best, an occaisional tank loses its track. The Founding Fathers could not imagine the technological advances in the tools for warfare, and they probably never thought that anyone would take their guns to school.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not for taking away all guns. Rifles and shotguns can be used for hunting. And yes, people can still be killed with those. But, the number of casualties is far fewer.

mat said...

this gun ban was pointless and was passed for political reasons. there is no concrete evidence that this ban cut down on gun violence. i don't even know why gun control proponents would support it with such vigor. maybe they are just afraid of the slippery slope. for being such a liberal hippie, i don't agree with kerry's gun policy; even bush has backpedaled on his campaign promises concerning his support of the second amendment. maybe we need a handgun weapons ban--only big "assualt" weapons would be legal. that way no one can conceal a firearm as you are walking out of the grocery store one evening. sort of like the gas station bathroom key chained to a big spray-painted wooden dowel.

also, i was very disappointed by so many stories in the media not having the correct information--or simply not having an understanding of what they were reporting. from the national evening news to the local news to the papers. not even biased--just wrong information. they would show footage of someone firing a fully automatic weapon (full auto has been outlawed since the 30's) as they voiced-over about the ban. they would explain that individuals can now buy ak-47s. you could never buy an ak-47--just a "sporterized" version--and you could always buy these "sporterized" versions. some reports would even mention the beltway sniper for some reason with no apparent connection.

and an interesting factoid: i read that, after the invasion, iraqis were limited to only one ak-47 (fully automatic) per household.

Jeffrey Hill said...

"maybe we need a handgun weapons ban--only big "assualt" weapons would be legal" - interesting point.

Dude said...

Maybe I'm missing something. If Purdy fired 107 rounds from a legally-purchased AK-47 at Stockton, was he using a burst mode rather than full auto (akin to the M16A2's 3-round burst, I'm presuming - Or had he modified the weapon for full auto?

Also, what is considered the cut-off for legally acceptable firepower? Is it the three-round burst? If so, what is a legitimate use for citizens owning a weapon capable of the three-round burst?

Yes, I'm belaboring the topic, but I'm curious as to what people consider to be the acceptable threshold for firepower. Yes, boxcutters or even a Maglite wielded properly can kill people. Where in the spectrum should we draw the line and why?

Jeffrey Hill said...

I’m not sure what the answer is to your question. Some of the criteria under the recent ban used to distinguish an assault weapon from other semi-automatic rifles (pistol grip, magazine size, flash hider) seemed pretty minimal. I don’t know enough to comment on three round bursts to wager a comment. Any line you draw between what’s acceptable and what’s not is going to be somewhat arbitrary, but I can’t help but think that the line should be somewhere beyond assault weapons and short of some explosives and RPGs. Your arguments are compelling. Obviously assault weapons are not meant for hunting, but beyond that, it’s not my business what a fellow citizen uses his AK for, so long as it’s not for killing folk. The gun enthusiasts I know treat their possession of firearms like it’s a pursuit for happiness. Who am I to tell them that it’s not acceptable? It seems that that is a slippery slope as well.

Incidentally, and I could be wrong, but is it not possible, if you have the money and patience to get the proper permits, to own a machine gun?

mat said...

i agree with jeff on the whole pursuit of happiness thing. it really is an incredible freedom--and responsibility.

i know ak-47s don't have a three round burst option. on the m-16, it was designed to save ammo in a combat situation. that guy purdy could have just been pulling the trigger rapidly. have you ever played that track and field videogame from long ago?

i looked up that purdy crime and found a most excellent defense on assault weapons called "Kalishnakovs, Crazies, and the Constitution." i don't think i can hyperlink it but here is the address. please read it:

it is really well-written and touches on property ownership, pleasureboat owners, bears, pirates, the mujahadeen, well-armed militias and black markets just waiting to happen.