Pick Wayne's Brain

January 5, 2013

Another False RW Argument Against The Assault Weapons Ban

In response to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s efforts to reintroduce a ban on assault weapons similar to the one she got passed in 1994, during the Clinton administration, the Right Wing has, as it often does, presented false arguments against the ban. [Fair warning: I am going to link to and quote from Breitbart.com and other RW sites. Have your barf bags handy.] Speaking on “Meet the Republican Hack Pretending To Be the Press“, Sen. Feinstein said

that she would introduce an assault weapons ban on the first day of the next Congress. “It’s a first-day bill I’m going to introduce in the Senate and the same bill will be introduced in the House, a bill to ban assault weapons,” Feinstein said. “It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession–not retroactively but prospectively–and it will ban the same for big clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets.”

For a gun supporter’s understanding of the 1994 AWB, see here. Please note that there is a word missing from that quote above: “rifles.” This is significant, but more on that later.

Now, if you think a new ban on assault weapons has no chance if becoming law, think again. Sen. Joe “Dead Aim” Manchin, who got an “A” rating from the NRA, backs it. That’s right, the man who ran this ad in his bid to get elected to the US Senate

said this on “Morning Joe” recently

“I want to call all our friends at the NRA and sit down,” Manchin said. “They have to be at the table. This is a time for all of us to sit down and move in a responsible manner. I think they will.”

Manchin said it was crucial to involve the NRA in the conversation. “You have to have everybody at the table, not just the people you think will support this. I’m a lifetime [NRA] member and I’m willing to sit down and ask all of my colleagues to sit down.”

Manchin has voted in support of many pro-gun laws, earning the NRA’s endorsement for his recent reelection.
“Seeing the massacre of so many innocent children has changed everything,” he said. “Everything has to be on the table.”

The proposed ban also has the support of President Obama. You’d think with the prospects of such a ban becoming law again being good that the Right Wing would just take a hint and STFU, and you would be wrong.

Now, it is true that assault weapons are not used in all that many murders, but the point isn’t to prevent any guns deaths at all from these weapons, but simply to reduce the number of people killed when one of them is used. The rationale for the ban on extended magazine clips, and other multiple round devices, is so that once a nutjob starts shooting up a place, he won’t be able to fire as many rounds before needing to reload, which would give survivors of the incident an opportunity to subdue the gunman. That’s all. If the shooter only has ten rounds in the clip, he would have to either pull another gun out right away or risk being overcome. If he can shoot 15, or 30, or 100 rounds before reloading, it’s likely more people will die before he needs to either reload or leave.

Enter the Right Wing Noise Machine. After posting a column on Breitbart.com (get those barf bags handy), Awr Hawkins made the absurd argument that “A rifle ban is as illogical as it is unconstitutional.” His rationale? “According to the FBI annual crime statistics, the number of murders committed annually with hammers and clubs far outnumbers the number of murders committed with a rifle.” Many other RW sites based posts on this article including Alex Jones, Fox News Nation, Daily Paul, and Free Republic. You may want to go get a second bag if you plan on reading any of the comments.

Since we’re dealing with right wing arguments, it’s natural (if you have an IQ in the three-digit range) to ask, “Is it true? Are more people really killed by hammers and clubs than by guns?” The answer is, technically, yes. It’s true, but it’s not truthful. FBI statistics for the years 2005-2009, 2010, and 2011, do show that fewer people are murdered by rifle than by a combination of various kinds of blunt instruments. But Sen. Feinstein never said the word “rifle” in that quote. She said “assault weapons.” And there are certain kinds of hand guns that would qualify as “assault weapons.” And if you look at the statistics on murders with hand guns (no specific type mentioned), you’ll see that there are more than ten times as many murders committed with hand guns as with blunt objects.

So the whole “rifle” argument is a false one from the beginning. But there’s another reason it’s a bad argument. Generally speaking, people don’t go around with hammers and blunt objects and kill four or more people at one time. Murders committed with these weapons are usually crimes of passion, where one person completely loses it and beats another person to death with whatever is handy, be it a hammer, a club, a baseball bat or, quite possibly, a rock. Nobody is proposing a ban on rocks (or hammers, clubs, or bats) because there is no fear that someone will go on a mass killing spree with a blunt object and kill 20 school children.

As for the claim that most gun murders are committed with stolen weapons, a Frontline report showed that to be false. Many illegally purchased guns are done through straw man purchases (where one person buys a gun for someone who may not be allowed to buy one for himself), corrupt licensed gun dealers, and street purchases, all of which are illegal. Of course, if the gun were never made, it couldn’t be sold illegally.

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