DimWit Politics

The Scary Gun Ban of 2018

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The Scary Gun Ban of 2018

The Scary Gun Ban of 2018
April 12
13:30 2018

Massachusetts Federal District Judge William Young once again proved that progressive policy is often based on symbolism rather than reality.  He recently dismissed a lawsuit to dismiss a ban on the sale and ownership of assault weapons.  He concluded that there was no Second Amendment protection for that particular “style” of weapon.

To understand the significance of his decision and what is actually banned, we must first know that there are two types of weapons involved in the debate – automatic, in which one pull of the trigger will release all the bullets, and semi-automatic, in which the trigger releases only one bullet per squeeze.  The automatic weapons are already banned, and the semi-automatic type represents most of all pistols and rifles – those used for hunting, sports and personal protection.

Like the temporary “assault weapon ban” that ended in 2004, Judge Young said that banning the “style” of guns like the AR-15 and AK-47 is permissible. If you wonder why I have emphasized the word “style,” it is because that is all that is banned.  While there is no legal definition of an “assault weapon,” the common understanding is that the term refers to the automatic weapons of war.  Functionally, the AR-15 is not that.  It is no different than those wooden stock rifles used by hunters or sportsmen.

What Judge Young declared permissible to ban are guns that are designed to look scary.   Arguably, at least in principle, the Judge’s ruling could apply to squirt guns that LOOK like nasty military weapons.  He did not and, under the Second Amendment, could not ban semi-automatic weapons.

Had Judge Young’s legal theory been the law of the land this past year, the shooters in Las Vegas and Parkland would not have had access to AR-15s.  However, they would have had access to rifles with essentially the same lethal potential in fire power as long as the weapons did not look so scary – as long as they did not resemble a military weapon or what is commonly referred to as an assault weapon.

Judge Young’s ruling may have the most strident anti-gun activists beating their chests and patting each other on the backs, but in terms of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of terrorists and nut job killers, it does virtually nothing.  Maybe even worse, it gives a false impression that something has been accomplished.  ‘

When most people say “something” must be done, they usually mean “something meaningful.”  Liberals tend to think any “something” is good enough.  It does not have to solve the core problem if it can be played out for political advantage or just make them feel good about themselves.

With pyrrhic victories like that provided by Judge Young, it is no wonder that the issue of gun violence goes unresolved for so many years.

About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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