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Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:29 AM

In which I remind DU that the assault weapons ban doesn't do what you think it does

Last edited Sat Jan 19, 2013, 02:19 AM - Edit history (1)

This will be my last try at this, I promise.

There are guns that can fire a bullet every time you pull the trigger. These are called semi-automatics.

The bullets you haven't fired yet are held in something called a magazine. In some semi-automatics, the magazine is inside or permanently attached to the gun, so if it holds six bullets you can fire six, and then you have to reload six more bullets one at a time by hand, and you can fire six again. These are called fixed magazines.

In other semi-automatics, the magazine pops out and can be replaced with another magazine that already has bullets in it. You've probably seen this in movies and video games a lot: a guy shoots, drops the empty magazine, and puts a new one in. Being able to replace an empty magazine with a pre-loaded magazine (this usually takes on the order of a few seconds) combined with being able to fire one shot every time you pull the trigger means you can fire a whole lot of bullets in a short period of time. This is, all things considered, a bad thing.

So the assault weapons ban means you can't buy weapons that do that, right? Well, you'd think so. But no. What it does is says that if you want to have a weapon that can fire a lot of rounds quickly, it can't look like a military weapon. So it can't have a pistol grip, a stock that folds, etc. etc. (you can see the actual list in Feinstein's proposed legislation; it's all stuff about how it looks and not about how many bullets it can fire in a short period of time).

The rifle Lanza used was legal under the '94 ban and the current Connecticut ban, because it didn't have a bayonet mount. If Feinstein's ban passes, the gunmaker will have to change the shape of the grip. This isn't a "loophole" or an example of more ways the law needs to be "strengthened": this is a fundamental problem with the fact that we aren't banning guns based on how many bullets they can fire, we're regulating how the class of guns that can fire bullets the most quickly can look.

At the risk of being blunt, you're being conned here. This isn't just me being cynical, this is the fact that the guy who invented the term "assault weapon" (in this sense) is on record saying "their appearance will confuse people into thinking we're talking about automatic weapons". And it has. (Actual military automatic weapons have been essentially banned since the 1930's. That's an example of gun control that works, incidentally.) You're being conned by people with good intentions, but it doesn't change the fact that this is a silly law.

It's possibly a sensible law to ban semi-automatics with detachable magazines. It's not my preferred option, but it at least accomplishes what you're trying to do, unlike this. Public opinion seems to support me on this: if you look at that Pew poll everybody's talking about, banning all semi-automatics polls higher than instituting a new Assault Weapons Ban by several points; my assumption is that that difference, just to be frank, accounts for people who support the law's intent but realize it doesn't actually do anything to achieve that intent.

It might be worth a lot, politically, to get rid of semi-automatic weapons. That could probably save a lot of lives. But I stand by my belief that it's not worth losing even one leaning-red House seat to pass a law that will make the next Sandy Hook shooter fire from a weapon that is equally capable but has a differently shaped grip.

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Reply In which I remind DU that the assault weapons ban doesn't do what you think it does (Original post)
Recursion Jan 2013 OP
hlthe2b Jan 2013 #1
Recursion Jan 2013 #6
hlthe2b Jan 2013 #13
Recursion Jan 2013 #23
randome Jan 2013 #26
Recursion Jan 2013 #31
Bandit Jan 2013 #39
Recursion Jan 2013 #41
randome Jan 2013 #55
Bandit Jan 2013 #58
Recursion Jan 2013 #60
JDPriestly Jan 2013 #85
Recursion Jan 2013 #88
JDPriestly Jan 2013 #93
randome Jan 2013 #40
Recursion Jan 2013 #69
randome Jan 2013 #75
SpartanDem Jan 2013 #64
JDPriestly Jan 2013 #84
rhett o rick Jan 2013 #43
hlthe2b Jan 2013 #49
Lex Jan 2013 #2
Recursion Jan 2013 #7
Lex Jan 2013 #12
Recursion Jan 2013 #19
GeorgeGist Jan 2013 #3
Recursion Jan 2013 #8
GeorgeGist Jan 2013 #51
Recursion Jan 2013 #76
SpankMe Jan 2013 #9
Schema Thing Jan 2013 #4
Recursion Jan 2013 #10
slackmaster Jan 2013 #5
Paladin Jan 2013 #14
Recursion Jan 2013 #17
Paladin Jan 2013 #24
Recursion Jan 2013 #35
RC Jan 2013 #82
Recursion Jan 2013 #83
slackmaster Jan 2013 #18
Paladin Jan 2013 #28
slackmaster Jan 2013 #33
Paladin Jan 2013 #47
slackmaster Jan 2013 #54
Paladin Jan 2013 #67
slackmaster Jan 2013 #86
TheCowsCameHome Jan 2013 #11
Recursion Jan 2013 #15
slackmaster Jan 2013 #16
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #20
Recursion Jan 2013 #21
uponit7771 Jan 2013 #22
Recursion Jan 2013 #27
Nye Bevan Jan 2013 #25
Recursion Jan 2013 #30
hack89 Jan 2013 #38
Nye Bevan Jan 2013 #45
hack89 Jan 2013 #53
Recursion Jan 2013 #72
Robb Jan 2013 #56
slackmaster Jan 2013 #62
hack89 Jan 2013 #66
Recursion Jan 2013 #71
Robb Jan 2013 #29
Scuba Jan 2013 #32
Recursion Jan 2013 #34
Lex Jan 2013 #36
Scuba Jan 2013 #44
Recursion Jan 2013 #50
Scuba Jan 2013 #57
Recursion Jan 2013 #68
slackmaster Jan 2013 #37
Scuba Jan 2013 #42
slackmaster Jan 2013 #46
Recursion Jan 2013 #48
global1 Jan 2013 #52
99Forever Jan 2013 #59
Recursion Jan 2013 #70
99Forever Jan 2013 #74
SpartanDem Jan 2013 #80
99Forever Jan 2013 #87
beemer27 Jan 2013 #61
Recursion Jan 2013 #65
Hoyt Jan 2013 #78
Recursion Jan 2013 #81
Skidmore Jan 2013 #63
SpartanDem Jan 2013 #73
JohnnyRingo Jan 2013 #77
Recursion Jan 2013 #79
JohnnyRingo Jan 2013 #90
Recursion Jan 2013 #91
JohnnyRingo Jan 2013 #92
Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #89
Thinkingabout Jan 2013 #94

Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:32 AM

1. So you've seen the text of the planned legislation? I don't know anyone else who has.

Feinstein hasn't submitted anything, as far as I can tell--nor has anyone else. Kindly post a link to the actual bill, if I am wrong.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #6)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:44 AM

13. that is a pdf of the bill summary--not the full text and she has not yet introduced...

thus it is premature to assume it won't change.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #13)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:53 AM

23. OK, if it changes to a different bill from what she's describing, I'll consider that

As it is, it's a bad idea.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #23)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:55 AM

26. It's not necessarily a 'bad' idea. Just not an all inclusive one.

Any little bit helps, though. If an AWB is all they can pull through politically, it's at least movement in the right direction. It doesn't pay us to denigrate political solutions because they're not perfect.

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Response to randome (Reply #26)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:00 AM

31. How does this little bit help?

I'm not being sarcastic; you're a smart person and I want to know if I'm missing something because I don't see how this helps anything.

What does it help to have the gunmaker reissue an AR-15 with a differently-shaped grip and a different brand name?

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Response to Recursion (Reply #31)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:06 AM

39. How does it hurt

It might make a whole bunch of people feel better and it hurts absolutely no one....

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Response to Bandit (Reply #39)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:10 AM

41. If 1994 is any indication, it leads to a huge surge in sales of ban-compliant equally capable rifles

I want there to be fewer firearms in the country, not more.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #41)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:15 AM

55. Hm. That's a point to consider.

But what Scuba said below is much more useful. A ban on 'high firepower' weapons would be better. I'm not sure if that's possibile politically but I do see the tide is turning in society on this issue. The NRA has shown itself to be not as powerful as some imagined.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #41)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:16 AM

58. There has been an ongoing buying binge ever since Obama became President

This can only slow down sales of a particular type weapon and especially large capacity magazines....Ever since the last assault weapons ban expired sales have skyrocketed.

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Response to Bandit (Reply #58)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:17 AM

60. Sales skyrocketed under the 94 ban

Gunmakers removed bayonet lugs from their weapons and gun stores sold out immediately.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #41)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:08 PM

85. If you know a lot about guns and want there to be fewer of them, then perhaps you

should suggest a way to decrease the number of guns in our society. That is what those of us who are nonviolent and don't own guns want to hear from those of you who own guns or know about guns.

What measures can you who own guns impose on yourselves either by law or otherwise that would permit the rest of us including children and older people, the blind, the disabled, everyone to live without fear of those of you with guns?

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #85)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:22 PM

88. Well, I don't own any guns, personally

Though I've used them professionally for a good part of my adult life.

Like I've said in this thread, I'm ambivalent about bans for the most part. Not because I think they're a horrible infringement of people's rights (unless we're talking about a literal total ban on all guns), just because I'm skeptical they will actually get guns out of the hands of people who want to misuse them, for the most part. I may well be wrong, but that's why bans aren't where I push.

On the other hand, if we're going to try bans (and the pressure from the base is such that it's pretty much guaranteed we will), I want a ban that makes sense and actually does what it accomplishes, which is why I keep flogging this particular horse about the AWB. (And for that matter I'm much, much more concerned about handguns than rifles or shotguns.)

My own inclination is to focus on when and to whom firearms are transferred.

Ideas I think would do a lot of good are:
* Require background checks on all purchases
* Catch and punish straw purchasers (people who buy weapons for other people who can't pass background checks)
* Improve the reliability of the Federal background check database, including dragging unwilling states into actually helping
* Remove the insane legislative restrictions on what the ATF can and can't do; let them actually enforce the laws
* Get and act on actual empirical data from the CDC to find and address patterns of gun violence
* Trace the provenance of every single gun that was used in any crime, to look for patterns in how criminals actually get guns
* Enforce the law in every one of those cases where a firearm was found to have been illegally transferred
* Mandate safe storage of weapons to make theft less likely (yes, that would be hard to primarily enforce, but that doesn't mean it's not worth trying)
* Significantly increase the ATF's funding so they have the personnel to actually do these things (actually enforcing a lot of these will take significant manpower for investigations, sting operations, etc.)

I think these are good ideas that are consistent both with reducing gun violence and with respecting that many people do legitimately own firearms for legitimate reasons.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #88)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 02:47 PM

93. Thanks. Looks like you have some good ideas.

If the gun manufacturers wanted to do it, they could lower gun violence through educating and training the people to whom they sell guns.

If the gun manufacturers don't take some responsibility for the horror of gun violence in our country, they will find themselves first ostracized and then out of the business of selling guns to consumers.

The country can only deal with so much of this kind of violence. This is especially true in cities.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #31)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:09 AM

40. I agree with you about the grip. So yes, a better definition of 'assault weapon' would be needed.

But at this point anything will help. Even if it's not perfect and all we're 'stuck' with is semi-automatics as opposed to full automatics, at least SOMETHING is getting done. If nothing else, the conversation itself may convince some gun owners to stop romanticizing their weapons or to better safeguard them.

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Response to randome (Reply #40)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:25 AM

69. There's two schools of thought on this.

One is, "well it's a start: we do this and it at least gets the foot in the door."

Another is, "we only get one swing at this, and we had better make it something worthwhile."

I'm of the second view. I may not be right, but I do believe that.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #69)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:34 AM

75. I do see your point. And now when the NRA is weak is a better time to push.

You've convinced me.

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Response to randome (Reply #26)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:19 AM

64. How does it help?

the AWB, as it's been proposed, does nothing address to function. It's all about form, it's window dressing. Personally I see universal background checks as the highest priority, that will do much more in controlling overall gun crime.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #23)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:05 PM

84. It's a start. We can work from there. Maybe the gun lobby will decide to accept the fact

that most Americans don't want to have to live in a society in which violence is at the fingertips of every madman on the street.

And if we can get to that point, then maybe people like you who know a lot about guns can help us do something that will work to change the balance of power between the gun crazies and the rest of us. We who are nonviolent in our lives as well as children, the blind and the very elderly have the right to live without fear of people with guns.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:11 AM

43. I think what the OP is saying is that passing a bad law is worse than no law at all.

We have a lot of momentum to pass meaningful legislation now. And remember the goal is to reduce mass shootings not ban assault weapons. If banning assault weapons can accomplish our goal, great, but it depends on the legal definition of "assault weapon". If the definition only pertains to the weapon's appearance and not it's function, then banning them will not accomplish what we want.

The point that we dont know what is exactly in the proposed legislation shouldnt stop us from "helping" our Congress-critters get the correct words in the bill. Now is the time to pass a strong bill. We may not have as much public interest in the future. And to suggest we wait for a future disaster to strengthen the bill is absurd.

The gun lobby and NRA would love it if a weak bill is passed.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #43)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:13 AM

49. I'd hope all would provide that feedback to Feinstein's office (and others)

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:33 AM

2. That's the thing about the law--it can be tightened later

to include what's necessary to erase any of the "loopholes" you're worried about.

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Response to Lex (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:41 AM

7. No, it's not about "tightening" it or "loopholes"

Did you even read what I said? It doesn't ban guns based on their capability to fire a lot of bullets at once but regulates how the fastest-firing class of guns can look. How do you "tighten" that?

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Response to Recursion (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:43 AM

12. It can be done.

Take a deep breath.

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Response to Lex (Reply #12)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:46 AM

19. What can be done. Banning semi-automatics? Certainly

That's not what this does, but the base thinks that is what this does.

Do you at least grant the following sentence:

The proposed AWB does not ban semi-automatics, it regulates how they can look?

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:38 AM

3. I would like to see Feinstein's list ...

please provide the link.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #8)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:13 AM

51. Pretty vague.

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Response to GeorgeGist (Reply #51)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:34 AM

76. Not if you know the legislation

I've worked on the Hill and K street and I can read Senator-ese, for the most part. The relevant points are:

Bans the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of:
120 specifically-named firearms;
Certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one or more military characteristics; and
Semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds.
Strengthens the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and various state bans by:
Moving from a 2-characteristic test to a 1-characteristic test;
Eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test; and
Banning firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons” to address attempts to “work around” prior bans.
Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.

This as it stands is actually pretty specific if you're familiar with the 94 law.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:38 AM

4. "WE", "OUR SIDE" .... should definitely stop re-using the phrase "Assault Weapons Ban"

Because we've lost with it once, and as you note, portions of it were just cosmetic and therefore just.plain.silly.



There should not be anything cosmetic in the new law.

Speed of reload.
Speed of firing.
Capacity before reload.

THOSE are the things (wrt the operation/mechanics of firearms - including pistols) that need "regulated" down to manageable and much safer metrics.

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Response to Schema Thing (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:42 AM

10. Great idea! That's not what it does, at all. At any point.

This is what I'm saying.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:40 AM

5. The people promoting a ban are counting on widespread ignorance as the foundation for support

 

It's always been that way.

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:44 AM

14. You Can Be Knowledgeable About Guns And Still Support Regulations.


But you knew that already, didn't you?

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Response to Paladin (Reply #14)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:45 AM

17. Certainly you can. Can you tell me why you want to regulate how semi-automatics can look?

That's the part of this I'm missing.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:53 AM

24. I Just Responded To You On This Point On Another Thread. (nt)

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Response to Paladin (Reply #24)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:02 AM

35. Edit: found it.

Thanks!

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Response to Recursion (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:53 AM

82. I have the answer to that.

 

It is the mind set of the user that thinks that possessing a modern, macho looking military knock-offs makes them more scary and intimidating. The "Macho" factor. The standard hunting rifle is just not scary looking enough for some. It is the mind set of the user that makes those weapons more dangerous. Anybody have a bump stock on a standard hunting rifle? Doubtful. Their war weapon? Lots. That's why.
It has absolutely nothing to do with identical working parts, magazines, etc.


How do I know I am correct? The NRA pointedly ignores that point. Refused to even address it.

A question. Why can you buy kits to make a standard wood stock hunting rifle into a Bushmaster look alike, but, as far as I know, you can not buy a kit to make a Bushmaster style into a standard hunting rifle?

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Response to RC (Reply #82)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:03 PM

83. You can buy those (I also will do my best to address your point).

Why can you buy kits to make a standard wood stock hunting rifle into a Bushmaster look alike, but, as far as I know, you can not buy a kit to make a Bushmaster style into a standard hunting rifle?

You can. People who often fire prone sometimes like them. However, they also make the gun heavier, easier to drop by accident, more tedious to clean (and they are tedious enough as it is) and harder to shoot from a standing or kneeling position, so they aren't terribly popular.

It is the mind set of the user that makes those weapons more dangerous. Anybody have a bump stock on a standard hunting rifle? Doubtful. Their war weapon? Lots. That's why.

I will admit there may be something to this, but I'm still skeptical. It may just be that from professional experience I do actually know more about guns than your average gun-buying mouth breather (frankly, I'd put money on that), and they are making the same category error that a lot of AWB-supporters are also making. (Though that leaves open the question of whether they wouldn't still do the same with traditionally-styled weapons and simply choose the more modern-looking ones if they're available.)

There's an empirical way to figure this out, though: compare the rates at which equally-capable but differently-styled weapons are used in crimes vs. the rates at which they are owned. If military-style weapons are actually more likely to be used criminally than equally-capable civilian style weapons, that's definitely an argument for banning them.

In fact, this would be a great question for the CDC to look at now that it can do research again. I'll even pledge right here that if there is an actual correlation found, I'll be much more open to a feature-based ban (in a perfect world I would still want some evidence that they wouldn't use civilian style weapons if that's all that was available, but it's not a perfect world).

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Response to Paladin (Reply #14)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:46 AM

18. Sure, but we see evidence on DU Forums every day that there is widespread ignorance

 

I'd prefer to have laws crafted by people with cool heads who have a good understanding of all of the implications and potential consequences of what they are doing.

Do you have a problem with that?

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #18)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:58 AM

28. Yeah, I Do.

Because I think your notion of the "cool heads/good understanding/potential consequences" crowd runs a lot closer to assholes like Larry Pratt than it does to Joe Biden. So that's a problem for me, and a big problem, at that.

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Response to Paladin (Reply #28)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:01 AM

33. I'll take Joe Biden over Carolyn McCarthy or Dianne Feinstein on this issue any day

 

Joe has his head on straight most of the time.

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #33)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:12 AM

47. Yeah, Where Do McCarthy Or Feinstein Get Off....


...advocating gun regulation? You'd think they had some bad experiences with nut cases killing people, or something.




(Sarcasm alert, for dumb shits.)

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Response to Paladin (Reply #47)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:14 AM

54. I expect people who have a special vested interest in a legislative issue to recuse themselves...

 

...from the debate.

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #54)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:24 AM

67. As If A Shitload Of Repub Legislators Don't Have Vested Interests In NRA-Friendly Policies. (nt)

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Response to Paladin (Reply #67)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:15 PM

86. Yes, I'll bet a lot of them own stock in gun companies

 

As Senator Feinstein's husband is invested in defense.

But they never do recuse themselves when they should.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:42 AM

11. Last paragraph

Tell ya what, I'll gladly risk losing a "leaning-red House seat" instead of having another classroom full of slaughtered babies.

These "automatic/semi-automatic" instruments of death have no place in a civilized society.

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Response to TheCowsCameHome (Reply #11)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:45 AM

15. OK, did you get the part where I said this *doesn't ban* semi-automatic weapons?

It regulates how they can look. Why do you care how an instrument of death can look?

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Response to TheCowsCameHome (Reply #11)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:45 AM

16. I'm curious to know why you think any particular law would magically prevent any future occurance...

 

...of a "classroom full of slaughtered babies."

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:49 AM

20. agree 100%

 

i would like to see more of an effort to regulate the gun industry itself. there are technological solutions to some of the worst safety problems like biometric grips and rfid chips in ammo that could be built into the guns themselves negating the necessity of legislating behavior to address those specific problems. we require the latest safety features to be built into dangerous industrial equipment and commercial tools we should do the same with guns.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #20)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:52 AM

21. Yes. And the Ring of Fire seems to be rearing it's ugly head again

It's not as bad as it was in the 1990s but there do seem to be a small number of gunmakers whose guns are used in a large number of crimes.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:52 AM

22. I'll wait to see the final right up on the legislation

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Response to uponit7771 (Reply #22)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:56 AM

27. Granted. Sausage gets some weird stuff mixed in some times.

But the goals Feinstein has laid out are pretty straightforward, and they don't make any sense at all to me.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:54 AM

25. I know very little about guns. What does the "shape of the grip" have to do with anything?

Is the shape of the grip in any way correlated with how many people the weapon can kill, and how quickly?

And if not, why on earth did somebody pick this as a criterion for whether a gun should be legal?

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #25)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:59 AM

30. Great question

To be blunt, the grip shape was chosen because it's a distinctive feature of actual military weapons, and people who see a civilian rifle with a pistol grip think it fires more quickly than a traditional-looking rifle, so it gets more support for the ban. That's not a conspiracy theory, that's what Sugarman said in as many words (this is the quote I mentioned in the OP).

That one in particular bothers me because pistol grips are at least marginally safer than traditional grips, which is why militaries put them on their weapons nowadays (you're less likely to drop it, and you can control where it is pointing more accurately. It also makes it difficult to fire from the hip and encourages you to fire from the shoulder, which is a good thing).

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #25)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:05 AM

38. "Assault weapon" is a made up term that is technically meaningless

they are not a distinct class of weapons using uniquely military technology that is not also found in civilian weapons.

So when they actually had to write a law, all they could "regulate" were cosmetic features that made them look "military". Hence the focus on the shape of the grip. The shape of the grip actually has little impact on a gun's ability to kill many people. But it looks "military".

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Response to hack89 (Reply #38)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:11 AM

45. So this is a complete waste of time that would not prevent another Newtown.

How pathetic.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #45)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:14 AM

53. The Newtown shooter's gun was not legally an assault weapon

CT has a strict AWB and that rifle was perfectly legal.

California also has a strict AWB - this rifle is legal in CA:



http://www.coltsmfg.com/Catalog/ColtRifles/ColtCaliforniaCompliantRifles.aspx

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #45)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:29 AM

72. This is why I and a few others keep banging our heads against this wall (nt)

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Response to hack89 (Reply #38)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:16 AM

56. Nonsense. Pistol grips have tangible advantages in all manner of tools.

Ergonomically, tools with pistol grips appear to cause fewer long-term repetitive stress injuries than their in-line-handle counterparts, for one thing.

For another, a pistol grip has the advantage of "freeing up fingers" for other tasks, if the tool is so designed -- in a firearm, that can mean placing a magazine release within reach of an available finger.

It is not merely cosmetic.

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Response to Robb (Reply #56)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:18 AM

62. In the case of a rifle or shotgun, it provides for better control of the weapon than a "traditional"

 

...stock. It reduces the chance of an accidental discharge or stray shot.

If it makes a power tool safer to handle, it makes a firearm safer to handle as well.

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Response to Robb (Reply #56)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:20 AM

66. But it does not make a semi-automatic rifle more lethal.

and I don't see how it frees up fingers - rifles with traditional stocks still have safeties and other controls within reach of a trigger finger.

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Response to Robb (Reply #56)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:28 AM

71. You still have to hold it with both hands when firing

At least if you want to hit anything.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:59 AM

29. What are the 120 specifically-named firearms that will be banned?

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:01 AM

32. Fine. Let's have a "high firepower weapons ban" ...

The HFWB can regulate rate of fire, magazine capacity and caliber. Those three things are easily defined. Then we don't have to continue the NRA's diversionary debate on what an "assault weapon" is.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #32)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:02 AM

34. That's an *outstanding* idea, and I would support it (nt)

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Response to Recursion (Reply #34)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:03 AM

36. Whew.

Good to know you would.

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Response to Lex (Reply #36)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:11 AM

44. Thanks. I just don't think this stuff is that complicated. I think banning weapons by name ...

... or cosmetic feature is an open invitation to the gun industry to circumvent the law.

A "high firepower" ban seems to make much more sense.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #44)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:13 AM

50. Exactly

But this is the brick wall I keep banging my head against at DU: the vast majority of people seem to think the AWB is a capability-based ban rather than a name- and feature-based ban.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #50)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:16 AM

57. Nah, they just don't care about the nuances. Most DU'ers don't craft legislation, they just want ...

.... the violence to end. Arguing with them about subjective definitions is seen as throwing up barriers to progress.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #57)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:24 AM

68. It's definitely seen as that, I agree. And a lot of times it is that.

In my case, I can say sincerely it's not: I think the law as it's being talked about now is a bad idea, and I'd like either a better law or no law at all and we can concentrate on background checks or other things. (This gets to my larger issue that mass shootings are probably not good drivers of policy compared to the significantly more common "normal" shootings of one person by one other person with a handgun.)

I'm ambivalent about banning semi-automatics with detachable magazines. I see pros and cons to the idea. But I think we get one swing here, as it were, and the AWB as currently conceived is a bad thing to swing at.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #32)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:05 AM

37. The National Firearms Act of 1934 addresses two of those three issues

 

Fully automatic firearms and weapons over 50 caliber are heavily regulated.

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #37)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:10 AM

42. Great, we have a long-standing precedent. Now we only have to update it to deal with AR-15's ...

... and other modern weapons that pose threats similar to the reasons we regulate full autos, 50 calibers, etc.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #42)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:11 AM

46. That is doable, if Congress can be persuaded.

 

I'm already living under a 10-round magazine capacity limit here in California.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #42)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:12 AM

48. It might be politically possible to reschedule semi-automatics with detachable magazines

It's certainly Constitutionally possible. The NFA lets Congress schedule weapons; there's nothing magical about the schedules we made in the 1930s and no reason we can't update them.

I'd be wary of saying "AR-15", though: that's a particular model of rifle that isn't any more or less capable of killing people than any other semi-automatic that takes detachable magazines.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:14 AM

52. Thank You For Your Explanation Of This.....

I know nothing about guns and if what you say is true - what we all need to do before any bills on this are introduced in Congress is to contact our Senators and Representatives and make sure that the law is written in a way that doesn't just comment on the looks of the weapon - but on it's firing capabilities.

We need to do that right now and up front so that when the bill is introduced it has this language in it. We shouldn't wait to see the write-up. We should have input in what the write-up is going to look like when it is ultimately introduced. So if we aren't now happy with DiFi's attempt at this - we need to help her out now - so that we'll be happy with it when it finally makes it to the floor.

Here is DiFi's telephone number in D.C.: 1-202-224-3841

I'm sure there is a mechanism as to how to contact her on her website as well: www.feinstein.senate.gov

Now is the time to act.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:17 AM

59. Thank you for your concern.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #59)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:27 AM

70. Really?

Sigh

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Response to Recursion (Reply #70)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:32 AM

74. Yes.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #59)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:47 AM

80. What strawman?

nothing in the OP is untrue maybe it'd wise to understand the issues so an effective law can be passed. Instead of calling people NRA shills because you rather wallow in your own ignorance.

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Response to SpartanDem (Reply #80)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:17 PM

87. And thank you for playing.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:18 AM

61. Thanks Recursion

There has been so much mis-information being tossed about that it is like a breath of fresh air to hear some one explain it in understandable words. The first "assault weapon" ban was based upon information designed to scare people. It was not based upon solid facts. That is how come is was called an assault WEAPON ban instead of an assault RIFLE ban. The terminology was deliberately chosen to confuse people. In fact, the first ban did almost nothing for the crime rate. It only made some people feel good, and a lot of dealers and manufacturers very wealthy.
I do not profess to know what the complete answer to our problems are. Allowing private individuals to call a government number to check on the status of a potential purchaser would be a good start. There would be no need to supply them with details, just a simple yes. this person is cleared to purchase a legal firearm, or no, this person is not allowed possession of a firearm. This would be the best first start, and it is endorsed by the pro, and the anti gun sides. It would also provide liability protection for the seller.
Trying for another flawed assault weapons ban now would just be a waste of time. It would polarize the population even more, and it would not address the problem.

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Response to beemer27 (Reply #61)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:19 AM

65. A red-light green-light private sale NICS system like that

sounds like a decent idea to me. And I think it's definitely a workable idea, as long as we get the right privacy safeguards.

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Response to beemer27 (Reply #61)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:44 AM

78. Needs to go through a licensed dealer to ensure proper "paperwork" kept, accountability, and prevent


privacy invasion by nosy neighbors or scammers.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #78)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:49 AM

81. I think you're probably right

In some ways I think all transfers going through an FFL (for a low statutory fee) is the only practical option.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:19 AM

63. Frankly, all guns are assault weapons.

When you point them at another human as a threat or to use them, it is an implied threat and an assault. I hate guns and what they represent. In a world where we raise animals for food, there is no need for them. Put a few gazillion of them down and perhaps we stand a chance at stopping a war or two or giving a little space for peace to take hold. Even more than guns, I hate the parsing the delivery of death from a barrel. No amount of explaining will make the bloody history and misery they cause disappear.

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #63)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:32 AM

73. Hunting is still necessary

and in fact increasing popular amongst people who people who understand how environmentally unfriendly mass production of animals can be.

I think the evolution of the new lefty urban hunter goes something like this:
2006: Reads Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, about the ickyness of the industrial food complex. Starts shopping at a farmer’s market.
2008: Puts in own vegetable garden. Tries to go vegetarian but falls off the wagon.
2009: Decides to only eat “happy meat” that has been treated humanely.
2010: Gets a chicken coop and a flock of chickens.
2011: Dabbles in backyard butchery of chickens. Reads that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg decided to only eat meat he killed himself for a year.
2012: Gets a hunting permit, thinking “how hard can it be? I already totally dominate Big Buck Hunter at the bar.”
Hunting is undeniably in vogue among the bearded, bicycle-riding, locavore set. The new trend might even be partly behind a recent 9 percent increase from 2006 to 2011 in the number of hunters in the United States after years of decline. Many of these new hunters are taking up the activity for ethical and environmental reasons.


http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2012/12/hunting_by_liberal_urban_locavores_is_a_trend_good_for_the_environment.html

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:41 AM

77. If Thompsons were legal, they'd be the #1 weapon of choice.

Because they look so bad-ass. I think someone makes a semi-auto version, but I believe they're produced in very limited numbers for collectors.

The same goes for Kalishnakovs, Macs and Colt Automatic Rifles. People only like them for the way they look (or make the assailant look).

I'd like to see some data on how many of the "banned" versions of the rifles were sold during the '90s. I'll bet not very many, and I've never seen one since the ban expired.

My point is that a cosmetic ban will make assault rifles less popular for murderers while retaining the right for a cattle farmer or Alaskan sportsman to own an effective tool against wildlife.

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Response to JohnnyRingo (Reply #77)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:45 AM

79. Huh? Sales skyrocketed during the ban. Absolutely through the roof.

Gunmakers took off the bayonet lugs and sales of AR's and VEPR's went up by several hundred percent (most people weren't even aware you could buy a semi-auto with those stylings before the ban, though that genie is out of the bottle now).

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Response to Recursion (Reply #79)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:52 PM

90. I thought they were homely.

Especially with the thumb hole in the stock that replaced the pistol grip. Gone too was the flash suppressor that helped give the AR such a ready for assault look.

I know pre-ban model sales were through the roof and caused them to go from $800 to more than double that, but I still haven't seen a post-ban weapon since the law was sunsetted. Certainly no one is using them for these mass murders. I didn't know they were so popular.

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Response to JohnnyRingo (Reply #90)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 01:55 PM

91. Somebody posted a graph which I now can't find

But, the increase was shocking.

Long story short, I don't think rifles are the right place to focus. But if we do focus on them, I want us to do it "right".

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Response to Recursion (Reply #91)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 02:21 PM

92. I'll take your word on it.

I grew up around guns, and used to have a Colt collection of mostly old single action western-style revolvers. Now I just have two favorites left that seldom see the light of day.

I never really understood the frantic craze to own military assault weapons, unless someone lives in the tundras of Alaska or backwoods of Montana along with bears and the like. I'm afraid many such sales are to people who wish they were on Seal Team Six, one of the most dangerous forms of gun owner, so a cosmetic ban that would hopefully defuse those types would be fine with me. I don't know how else to end the mass killer fetish these weapons seem to instill in some.

Personally, I wouldn't want to see a sweeping ban on all semi-autos that would end sales of the popular .22 Remington rifles that are primarily used for plinking tin cans and keeping rabidly aggressive raccoons from the family pets.

I know some people screw things up for law abiding citizens though. There was that first person who drove off without paying for their gas. Now I have to pre-pay before I pump, and I don't like it.

I think the NRA would be well served to go after the nuts who read about a mass murder and see it as a record to be bested. They should be on the record as staunchly pro-sportsman instead of protection. Stop promoting guns as the best way to kill someone.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:26 PM

89. Here's WHY a bad law is worse than no law

Let's say you manage to ban weapons that LOOK REALLY SCARY but function in exactly the same way....

The media will call it an Assault Weapon ban...
Obama and the Democrats will trumpet their Assault Weapon ban...
Limbaugh and the NRA will scream bloody murder about the Assault Weapons ban...
The public will believe that there was an Assault Weapon ban...
And the next time some maniac blows away a kindergarten the NRA will say, "See, we TOLD you banning Assault Weapons wouldn't work! We are the gun experts, you need to listen to us instead of the gun hating liberals!"

NOW do you understand?

I haven't really weighted in on this issue for a couple reasons: first, you are never going to get any real weapons ban through Congress (including the Senate), and second I am not altogether sure it's a good idea to even try. But if you are going to push for a weapons ban at least take the time to understand what it is that you are trying to ban and don't let our guys in Congress play you for fools.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 05:22 PM

94. I am for whatever stops this senseless attack on American citizens.

If the gun people want to play this game of definition and the ideas presented then it will not be enough. We will need to take action to get killing of innocent people stopped. The US attack Iraq after 9-11 and we are allowing WMD's to go wildly over the US and kill at will. This does not make sense. I really don't think we want or need to halt the game hunting but we do not need the power the weapons used in the Sandy Hook mass slaying. We do have mental health issues, video game and movies and shows which are overboard but in the end guns are available to shoot too fast, too powerful and too easily reloaded. These weapons should be reserved for military and law enforcement. The very idea of some thinking they need these weapons to hold off attacks by our military needs,some education to know what our military is capable of and it sure can overpower a lone wolf who thinks they are tough.

The gun lover should educate their fellow gun owners to become sensible.

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