Exhibit A is California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s promise to introduce a bill which will supposedly stop “the spread of deadly assault weapons.” Her bill would go far beyond the so-called “assault weapons ban” passed in 1994, but which Congress refused to reauthorize in 2004.
Feinstein’s proposal, among many other things:
• “Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.”
• “Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered.”
The only way Feinstein can accomplish the first of her two listed goals is to confiscate all such “devices” that already exist. This would be a massive, ugly — and logistically impossible — enterprise. At the Washington Post, reporter Brad Plumer wrote in mid-December that in 1994, there were “roughly 1.5 million assault weapons and more than 24 million high-capacity magazines in private hands.” Putting aside the fact that every weapon used to commit a crime against a person, including items which aren’t guns, is by any normal definition an “assault weapon,” there are surely more of the weapons and magazines Feinstein wants to see seized now than there were 18 years ago.
What’s more, their number is growing. Law-abiding citizens are responding to gun grabbers’ aggressiveness by buying any and every weapon they can, while they still can. The Associated Press reports: “The prospect of a possible weapons ban has sent gun enthusiasts into a panic and sparked a frenzy of buying at stores and gun dealers nationwide.” I would characterize what the AP describes as a “frenzy of buying” as “a wave of common sense.”
Feinstein justifies her far-reaching ban largely on a Justice Department study claiming that “the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban was responsible for a 6.7 percent decrease in total gun murders, holding all other factors equal.”
Nice try, DiFi. Plumer, who clearly leans left, cites a University of Pennsylvania study that concluded, in his words, that “While gun violence did fall in the 1990s, this was likely due to other factors.” One of the more important “other factors” was the passage of concealed carry laws in many states during that period, and the growing interest in personal self-defense those laws helped to generate.
The word “grandfathered” in the senator’s second listed objective above would require the registration of all guns not otherwise outlawed. In other countries, this has historically been the opening round of governments’ efforts to confiscate guns, make their possession by ordinary citizens illegal, and subdue their populations while moving, sometimes glacially but often quickly, towards tyranny.
Blogger Doug Ross has summarized the impact of Feinstein’s registration provision quite well:
… once a gun is required to be registered, it is virtually confiscated. The government will know who possesses which firearms and where those arms are stored. And when they desire physical possession of those weapons (which history tells us is inevitable), they can then order the citizenry to voluntarily turn in their weapons.
This has happened over and over again throughout all of recorded history.
Tyrants and tyrant wannabes know that gun confiscation enables them to more quickly subjugate their society’s otherwise resistant elements, enabling them to consolidate their power more quickly and ruthlessly.
On December 20, as if to prove Ross’s point, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in an Albany radio station interview, discussed his plans, as described at the New York Times, to “propose a package of gun legislation in his State of the State address on Jan. 9.” Cuomo’s specific ideas: “Confiscation could be an option. Mandatory sale to the state could be an option. Permitting could be an option — keep your gun but permit it.” Not wishing to unduly alarm the Empire State’s populace, the Times dutifully buried the story on Page A29.
On the Friday before Christmas, the Journal News, a White Plains, New York-based newspaper owned by Gannett, helped make Mr. Cuomo’s ideas more easily achievable by publishing an interactive map showing the names and physical addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland Counties. It obtained this information as a result of Freedom of Information Act requests.
The agenda behind the map is obvious in the paper’s ominous headline: “Where are the gun permits in your neighborhood?” — as if residents should be presumptively afraid of anyone who has the nerve to own a gun in the same way they should be concerned about convicted sex offenders in their neighborhood. In response, a New York State Senator has proposed making this information off-limits to all except those with a need to know in law enforcement — something which is obviously long overdue.
While the Journal News apparently hopes that other citizens will treat permit holders as pariahs, the following results are far more likely:
• Criminals will use the map in one or both of two ways — either to target homes from which to steal weapons, or to target homes without permits for home invasions and away-from-home assaults on those who don’t have permits. I believe we’ll see more of the latter than the former; criminals prefer soft, non-relatively defenseless targets.
• As a reader at Instapundit pointed out, “women who have gun permits due to stalkers and abusive spouses now that the paper has revealed their new addresses” will either have to relocate or live in constant fear for their and their children’s safety — just in time for Christmas.
• Ex-cons with vengeance on their minds will now be able to find otherwise unlisted or hard to find addresses of law enforcement officers who arrested them, prosecutors who convicted them, and judges who sentenced them.
President Barack Obama, whose involvement with legally manipulative efforts to undermine the Second Amendment is an inarguable matter of historical fact, has, according to AP, “pledged to put his ‘full weight’ behind legislation aimed at preventing gun violence.” Senator Feinstein’s proposed legislation won’t accomplish that aim, but that’s not her or Obama’s point. Ultimately, it’s about control.
Law-abiding, freedom-loving Americans must strenuously oppose any such efforts to water down their Second Amendment freedoms.
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