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Reply #33: I agree to a point... [View All]

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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-05 09:39 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. I agree to a point...
Edited on Tue Jan-18-05 09:56 PM by benEzra
I agree that some of the NRA claims in that ad were quite over the top. That is a shame, because their exaggeration invites dismissal of the points they raise that were valid. I'd like to address your concerns at some length here, if I may (and this is all my own thinking; I'm not quoting the NRA or anybody else here, just speaking for myself).

As I have mentioned in another post below, IMHO it was Senator Kerry's cosponsorship of S.1431 (a draconian expansion of the "assault weapons" ban) and of S.A. 2619 to S.B.1805 that really hurt him in pro-gun states. That was where the grassroots objections were coming from and those were my concerns as well.

I agree with you that S.1431 did not ban all semiautomatic firearms. However, there aren't too many popular semiautomatic centerfire rifles that it didn't ban; it even banned the Ruger mini-14 in its wooden-stocked, 5-round magazine configuration, as well as the M1 carbine that has been popular since the 1940's. Worse, it would ban any self-loading, detachable-magazine long gun with a nontraditional-looking stock (thumbhole, pistol-grip, or even radical-Monte-Carlo, IIRC), based on the prohibitionist canard that an ergonomic stock facilitates "firing from the hip." :wtf:

The NRA statement (the "all semiauto shotguns" claim) was based on some language in the (badly written) bill that banned any self-loading shotgun having "any characteristic that can function as a grip." The NRA's interpretation is literally true, but that portion of S.1431 was obviously a boneheaded typo that some gun-404 senate staffer missed (all firearms have grips--duh). I hope that the BATFE would not try to enforce a law based so obviously on a typo, but there's really no excuse for that having been in the bill to start with, regardless of one's views on ergonomic stocks. The sad thing is, the rest of the bill is so draconian that the NRA's hyperbole on the semiauto hunting shotgun issue was pretty much irrelevant for most of us (especially since most of us gun owners don't hunt).

Regarding the ammunition ban amendment, factcheck.org made a rare but glaring mistake on that one. They cite the bill's summary as affecting only ammunition designed or marketed as armor-piercing, but the actual text of the bill does >>NOT<< limit the scope in this manner. The relevant wording from S.A. 2619 to S.B.1805 is as follows (from thomas.loc.gov):
(iii) a projectile that may be used in a handgun and that the Attorney General determines, pursuant to section 926(d), to be capable of penetrating body armor; or

(iv) a projectile for a centerfire rifle, designed or marketed as having armor piercing capability , that the Attorney General determines, pursuant to section 926(d), to be more likely to penetrate body armor than standard ammunition of the same caliber.

You (and factcheck.org) refer solely to paragraph (iv), but the relevant paragraph is actually paragraph (iii). Notice the conjunction "or" (which factcheck misread as "and"); that means that either (iii) or (iv) may be used to ban ammunition. Under (iii), the only two criteria that must be met are

(1) it can be used in a handgun, and

(2) it can penetrate body armor.

This is a handgun (Thompson-Center Encore single-shot hunting handgun). The following calibers of ammunition (among others) can be used in this handgun: .223 Remington, .45-70, .22-250, .243, .25-06, .270 Winchester, 7mm-08, .30-30 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06, and .450 Marlin.

Every single cartridge I have listed will penetrate level II or IIIA body armor as if it's not there.

So, ipso facto, paragraph (iii) of S.A. 2619 to S.B.1805 would have granted the Attorney General the authority to ban any of the above calibers, and many more, at his/her discretion. There is no legal reason why an Attorney General could NOT declare any of the above calibers "armor piercing" and restrict them to military or law enforcement sale only, based on the text of the proposed law.

So the NRA was correct on this one, although it seems to have been a blunder on Kennedy's part rather than an intentional power grab. I suspect that the bill was actually drafted from prohibitionist "model legislation" by a gun-404 Kennedy staffer, and that Senator Kennedy just didn't know what was in his own bill. But Kennedy compounded the problem when he railed against the .30-30 Winchester in the floor debate on that bill.

Regarding the ammunition tax proposal you mention (which I was not familiar with),
This statement came from an appearance by Kerry on CNN in 1993. The statement is true however it was taken somewhat out of context. What they were referring to was a tax on mushrooming bullets, like cop killer bullets.

I think some terminological clarification is in order; I think you are conflating two unrelated issues here. The rounds dubbed "cop-killer bullets" were nonexpanding, hardened steel (later hardened bronze) handgun rounds with a tapered, pointy profile, originally designed to penetrate sheet metal. Armor piercing bullets of all types are specifically designed not to "mushroom." Armor-piercing handgun rounds were banned by Federal law in 1986.

Expanding bullets, to which you refer, are the kind almost universally kept for defensive purposes (both by civilians and by the police) as well as for hunting, and AFAIK have never been tagged with the "cop-killer" label except perhaps by mistake. If Senator Kerry actually did propose punitive taxes on expanding ammunition (which I had not heard of), that would look very bad indeed.
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