Senate Assault Weapons Ban Dies

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) dropped the assault weapons ban from that chamber’s gun control bill. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), announced the change, but indicated that she would still be able to offer it as an amendment later on. Reid’s change of heart indicates that he lacks congressional support to get the measure passed, despite the fact that the ban was approved last week by the Senate Judiciary Committee. It also signals that Reid is concerned about the ban’s impact on the 2014 election. By making it a separate issue, moderate Democrats facing reelection in red or red-leaning states can vote against the ban, yet still support the remaining parts of the Democratic agenda on gun control.

The Senate will begin debate on the rest of the bill next month.

Even with the ban as a separate issue, Feinstein faces an uphill battle in getting her measure passed. The Senate has 53 Democrats and two Independents who vote with them most of the time. Yet an assault weapons ban, stronger than the one enacted in 1994 that expired a decade later, will more than likely need 60 votes to prevail. Republicans are solidly against the measure, along with some moderate Democrats who would likely join them.

Nevertheless, Reid assured Feinstein there would be two separate votes. One would be on the assault weapons ban, which also prohibits magazines with a capacity greater than ten bullets. The other would be a vote solely prohibiting the ammo clips.

In addition to approving the assault weapons ban, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved three other measures: expanding the required federal background checks for firearms buyers; increasing federal penalties for illegal weapons trafficking; and boosting funds for school safety programs.

When Reid was asked why the ban was dropped he revealed that “using the most optimistic numbers,” Feinstein’s ban garnered less than 40 votes. Since 60 votes are necessary to begin debate on gun control legislation, Reid was fearful that the controversial measure might derail the entire process. “I’m not going to try to put something on the floor that won’t succeed. I want something that will succeed. I think the worst of all worlds would be to bring something to the floor and it dies there,” Reid explained.

The real reason Feinstein’s ban died is because it’s not only worthless, it’s counterproductive. That reality was best illuminated in February by Independent Firearm Owners Association (IFOA) president Richard Feldman. “Senator Feinstein makes a mockery of the President’s efforts and good intentions,” said Feldman. He continued:

Whether she does it intentionally or as an unintended consequence of her so-called ‘assault weapons ban, makes no difference. She is sabotaging the possibility of respectful and responsible dialogue. Her way polarizes the public into two warring camps. Worse, she is attempting to  divert the attention of Congress and the nation from the real problem at hand. That problem, as President Obama so correctly pointed out, is keeping firearms, all firearms, out of the hands of prohibited persons.

The effort to get gun control legislation through Congress was engendered by the slaughter of 20 schoolchildren and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CN, a horrific crime that shocked the nation. Yet the most recent news released about killer Adam Lanza reveals an unprecedented level of psychological illness, coupled with what law enforcement officials believe was an insane desire to be the greatest mass murderer of all time. Investigators discovered a spreadsheet 7 feet long and 4 feet wide containing research about other mass murders and attempted murders so detailed, one law enforcement official likened it to a doctoral thesis. “We were told he had around 500 people on this sheet,” a law enforcement veteran told Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News. “Names and the number of people killed and the weapons that were used, even the precise make and model of the weapons. It had to have taken years. It sounded like a doctoral thesis, that was the quality of the research.”

The official continued. “[The police] don’t believe this was just a spreadsheet. They believe it was a score sheet,” he revealed.

This was the work of a video gamer, and that it was his intent to put his own name at the very top of that list. They believe that he picked an elementary school because he felt it was a point of least resistance, where he could rack up the greatest number of kills…They have pictures from two years before, with the guy all strapped with weapons, posing with a pistol to his head. That’s the thing you have to understand: He had this laid out for years before.

Feinstein’s assault weapons ban would not have prevented this tragedy.

In reality, the Newtown atrocity highlights the fatal flaw of such a policy as Feinstein’s, in that any restrictions on guns will only apply to those willing to obey the law. That explains why a city like Chicago, which has one of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, recorded more than 500 murders last year, mostly committed using handguns. None of this matters to Feinstein or any of the other staunch congressional supporters of gun control — all of whom have armed security personnel. Feldman reminded Americans of Feinstein’s overbearing hypocrisy. “When she was Mayor of San Francisco and banned handguns there, Ms. Feinstein surrendered her snub-nose .38, but neglected to announce that she chose to keep her .357 magnum pistol,” he revealed.

Yet what is one to make of the Obama administration’s no-so-secret effort to purchase two billion of rounds of ammunition? Conspiracy theorists believe the government is anticipating societal collapse, resulting in nationwide insurrection. Far more likely, progressives are doing what they do best, namely, driving the cost of ammunition prohibitively high in order to impose de facto gun control.

Which brings us to the ultimate reason why an assault ban will likely remain on the sidelines permanently: people are fearful of government overreach. Despite the Newtown tragedy, 2012 was a banner year for gun sales, and the FBI conducted 16.8 million background checks, the highest number recorded since they began publishing such statistics in 1998.

Moreover, no matter what efforts are made to stuff the proverbial genie back in the bottle, it’s too late. There are more than 300 million guns in circulation in America.

Removing Feinstein’s ban from gun control legislation makes sense, even if it’s done mostly for the politically cynical reason of protecting the Senate from Republican inroads, or even a takeover, in 2014. Far better to concentrate on measures such as universal background checks, and making illegal guns sales a federal crime, both of which are overwhelmingly supported by the public. Boosting safety measures for schools is likely popular as well.

All of this assumes the point is to actually get a bill of some sort passed–which means anything that gets through the Democratically-controlled Senate has to be at least somewhat palatable to the Republican-controlled House. There is no doubt the assault weapons ban was dead on arrival in that chamber. On the other hand, perhaps compromise on the rest of these measures is alive and well.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • AdinaK

    It may have died, but it is not nearly dead and buried. In fact, one of the insidious (out of countless) bomblets hidden in ObamaCare is a forward march towards gun control. Unfathomable –

    They will NEVER give up grabbing American's legal guns!

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel

    • Mary Sue

      DiFi is an elitist hypocrite control freak, so of course she's not going to give up.

      She's an idiot, too.

      • Roger

        But she's served for so long, she feels she doesn't deserve to be asked honest decent relevant questions…..

        • defcon 4

          Strangely enough she's the only one of my congressional reps who's ever bothered to reply to my emails — either her or one of her lackeys. I used to respect her, but not anymore.

          • Roger

            I know. When I was still living in California she was the one who never sent a reply that seemed like a form letter, and never sounded like a 15 year old staffer put it together. I didn't agree with her, but had to grudgingly admit they seemed thought out.

            That's what makes this so much worse, did the Chicago gang explain something to her?

    • mlcblog

      Bomblets!! small and so cute, but nevertheless can kill.

  • UCSPanther

    Banning folding stocks, pistol grips, flash hiders and bayonet lugs wouldn't have stopped Connecticut's aspiring Breivik, so the question is, why do they bother, other than for control?

    By Feinstein's logic, my Ruger Mini 14 is an "Evil assault rifle" just because I had it fitted with an AR 15 A1 pattern flash hider.

    The anti-gun movement loves to pretend they are all logical, but when they face off with the pro-gun movement, they lose,bad. The reason: They argue with emotion, which while dramatic, does not stand the test of time like truth and REAL logic. Plus, to make things worse for them, their pie-in-the-sky schemes often involves confiscating legally owned property, which does NOT go over very well with the average person.

    Gun control is a social engineering experiment that should, like any useless industrial equipment, be scrapped out and sent to the smelter where it belongs. Only the stupid and delusional still believe that it works…

    • DigitheadRex

      In fact, Ruger manufactures eleven models of the Mini-14 while DiFi's AWB bans one specific model, the one with a pistol grip and collapsible buttstock, calling it a folding buttstock.

      These distinctions alone show the core idiocy of the ban. It takes 11 functionally identical guns and bans one because it has a pistol grip and a buttstock that adjusts by about 2.5" in length. It is no easier to fire or conceal and it has exactly the same barrel, action, cartridge, velocity, energy and power. The only difference is entirely cosmetic.

      • UCSPanther

        With my '14, all I did was take a conventional wood stocked, blued finish mini 14 and had a gunsmith install a common AR 15 flash hider. It looks no different than before, other than having what I consider a more complete look. Under the Clinton Gun Ban, what I did would be an offense…

        In the end, the gun grabbers want them all, be they automatics, semi-autos, lever actions, single shots and even muzzle-loaders.

  • davarino

    I thought the right were supposed to be the fascists. Next they'll want to confiscate our money like Cyprus

    • gee59

      No the left are the fascists not the right.

      It was the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or National Socialist German Workers' Party. The right does not call itself Socialists

      • UCSPanther

        True. Fascism is basically a form of communism that masquerades as capitalism. There are corporate heads in a fascist economic system, but they are no more than puppets of the central planning committee…

  • pierce

    Thank god smarter people decided that this subject be dropped. It is one of the most polarizing subjects to have appeared on the horizon in decades. We have just had another example of a loonie tune come out of the closet. Perhaps it is time to bring mental health to the forefront, and openly talk about helping these types of people.
    And Mary Sue, you are absolutely right, DiFi is an elitist hypocrite, and an idiot to boot. Thank god she did not get her way.

    • Asher

      Harry Reid used to have a good rating with the NRA. Not sure where that is now…he knows this legislation is a Big Looser, just like Bill Clinton did!

    • pagegl

      Politically astute, probably; smarter, not too sure about that…

  • Asher

    The Left is demonically obsessed with disarming the people, beware plots are going on for Americans and Jews. If these people had the same fervor to balance the budget, create jobs, drill and frack, and repeal Obama care this nation would take off and soar economically! The obsession to disarm, destroy, and divide people is not normal, it is anti-God, anti-Christian, and anti-Jew. The spirit of the Anti-Christ is with us!

  • Eva

    I only wish that ammo manufacturers wouldn't sell anything to the Thug-in-Chief and his goons. There are 100 million American citizens who own firearms and who are all looking to buy ammunition now. I think it is safe to say that ammo producers would still be able to make hefty profits if they sold it to us, instead of selling it to Homeland Security Dept. who, given the circumstances,will definitely turn against American citizens.

    • Ron

      That part of the authors argument was bananas. If a product (like bullets) gets bought in large amounts, it temporarily drives the cost up as the manufacturing base adjusts and … make more bullets which then drive the cost DOWN.

      Also, as far as I can tell, the bullets werent delivered in one lump package. Its a contract over a few years (not sure about that part and too lazy to look it up).

      For that matter, the 100 million gun owners buying huge stpres of bullets, as well as the military, doesnt driveup the price?

      Nah, the author just made a silly argument. Happens to the best of us.

      • Drakken

        Sorry Ron, Govt contracts for ammo takes presidence over domestic orders.

  • marios

    All socialists totalitarian regimes started from disarming citizens. Then dictators killed oppositions and those who were not agree with them without fear having any resistance. Nowadays Dem's party is in reality is Socialist party of US or neo-commies. Everything what Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and lower rank so-called Dem's do is for political purpose. Unfortunately Rep's still is not up to realize whom they have deal with. It is not old American Dem's party and Rep's should have another platform to deal with them. Otherwise one day we will wake up in Cuba's style country. Obama in 2009 just after inauguration said that it is not enough police and Military but it should be special civic special Guard forces. Kind of Iranian Revolutionary Guardians? BHO used school shooting tragedy for accomplish his and his accomplices goal to disarm Americans. As it was said" Good
    crisis cannot be wasted".

  • Max

    On a slightly unrelated note, did you know that ALL of the recent mass shooters were liberals and game from leftist households? It is true. Look it up.

    • Softly Bob

      I did not know that but if true, then you've raised a very interesting point. Perhaps there should be a background check and a gun ban, but only for liberals. It's the liberals who were making death threats against NRA members, so perhaps these Leftist idiots are the ones who are not fit to carry weapons!

    • tagalog

      I agree with you 100%, but have you noticed how the MSM has fastened on Adam Lanza's fascination with that Norweigian guy Breivik? They see him as a right-winger, which I suppose he was, and the MSM in dealing with Lanza glosses rather quickly over Lanza's keeping score of ALL the mass murderers as "competitors" he wanted to surpass.

      Also, I would like to see the MSM do an investigative spot or two on how many of the recent gun purchases (since Newtown) have been made by people who will also vote in favor of the regulation of guns. I bet at least half of the 65 million new firearms purchases have been made by lefties. Wanna bet?

    • mlcblog

      Wow!! thank you.

  • clarespark

    The gun control debate was initiated by the Newtown massacre. I gathered explanations from both conservatives and liberals right after the event and included them in this blog that quoted Candide:…. "The Sandy Hook Massacre and the Problem of Evil." What a diversion this gun control business has been from the different question of diagnosing mass shooters before they start their rampages.Who or what is standing in the way?

  • tagalog

    The willingness of Mr. Reid to drop the "assault weapons ban," however salutary that is in the objective sense, highlights and clarifies the fact that the left is only interested in power in the abstract, not in whatever issue is the issue du jour. Such interest in power for its own sake is poisonous to a nation grounded in self-rule.

  • Chris_Shugart

    I reject the term "assault weapon" as a dishonest attempt to create gun control hysteria. All guns are dangerous. There's no such thing as guns that are safer than others. There was a time when an assault weapon was any standard issue firearm used by soldiers. The gun control lobby has altered the language to deceive the public. They should be called on it.

  • Alex Kovnat

    I heard that the Sandy Hook shooter destroyed his computer's hard drive. Apparently, experts figured out a way to get information off of it. The SH shooter was a very diabolical and clever guy. My theory is, he manipulated his mother into purchasing the weapons he used. Even if AR15 lookalikes (Modern Sporting Rifles, "assault rifles" or whatever other term you use) were to have been banned, he could have used any good autoloader pistol and a succession of magazines. Heck, who knows how many children he could have stabbed to death with a knife, once he took out the teachers and adults who were in his way. If there is any conclusion one can draw from the Virginia Tech and S.H. tragedies, it is that the very idea of Gun Free Zones is a neurosis. The sooner we allow law-abiding adults the option, if they so choose and are not themselves crazy, to carry handguns the better.

  • Willy Rho

    In Vietnam some GI's carried up to 70 magazines into battle. These were the 15 round type, I think. So that is a lot of rounds and the size of the magazine does not mean as much as some Libs think it does. The Aurora shooter tried to use 100 round magazines, but they jammed a lot and were likely slower than smaller magazines that did not Jam.

    • defcon 4

      Over a thousand rounds of ammo? That would weigh a heck of a lot. I once carried 200 rounds of ammo on me in a backpack and it was noticeably heavy.

      • tagalog

        If they were using the standard-issue 20-round mags of the Vietnam era, that means 1400 rounds. Even 5.56 mm. rounds would be pretty weighty. A loaded 20-round mag., carrying 183-grain rounds weighs no less than 0.66 pounds. Seventy of them would total out at over 46 pounds. Doable but really heavy. And I question that a loaded 20-rd. mag only would weigh 0.66 pounds.

  • Ghostwriter

    I don't own guns anyway,but I'm not going to stop someone from getting a gun legally. It should be my choice and not anyone else's.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    If his budget is like Obamacare and it must be voted on before knowing what is in it, well
    that is a way to run the Country but this is the mind set of the Administration and we are
    in the hands of incompetent individuals and competent crooks…….Think of the possibilities
    of increased penalties for illegal weapons traficking, Holder should take note and
    hide under his desk, actually he is above the law…………William

  • wsk

    Wait, wait , wait a minute!!! What happened? I thought 90% of us wanted an assault weapons ban. I am shocked and amazed.