Assaulting weapons

The Violence Policy Center is rightly seen as an organization that is dedicated to removing gun rights from Americans.  The VPC has been going after what they’ve convinced a lot of people to call assault weapons at least since 1988.  And now, the group is calling once again for a ban on these firearms that to them are particularly wicked.

We may benefit here from being reminded about the origin of the phrase, assault rifle.  As students of firearms history know, this class of weapons was given its name by Adolf Hitler when he encountered the MG 44.  He loved calling all manner of things and groups assault this or assault that, and the particular carbine here, renamed the StG44—the Sturmgewehr (Storm rifle) of year 1944—was an intelligent design in response to the close-quarters fighting against massed troops on the Eastern Front.

This business illustrates how machines themselves have no moral qualities, while the uses to which their put certainly do.  An assault rifle—a carbine with a detachable box magazine, firing an intermediate cartridge, with fully automatic capability—is a machine.  It performs the function of firing rounds in a specific way.  How such a device is used is what gives it meaning.  If we’re in a just war, under attack—dare I say assault—by enemies dedicated to destroying us, shoveling a lot of lead down range is a good thing to do.

And before my opponents tell me that the only appropriate use for assault rifles is in war, I offer the feral pigs that live in my part of the world.  As popular as the Razorbacks are as a football team, as a species, they are invasive and damaging. Intermediate-cartridge, full auto carbines with magazines that can be switched out quickly sound like a perfect tool for protecting the environment.

Then there’s the joy of shooting two-liter soda bottles, as Hickok45 shows in his many videos.  And experts on self-defense can discuss the uses of the class of weapon here in protecting the home.

All right, but is there any benefit to be had by restricting the access to assault rifles—whether the genuine article or a semiautomatic rifle that doesn’t meet the definition—from ordinary people?  We had a ban on what the VPC labels “assault weapons” from 1994 to 2004.  That law dragged in a whole lot of things that shouldn’t be included, but was the law itself of any value?  ProPublica doesn’t find any evidence that the Assault Weapons Ban saved any lives.

But we’re supposed to believe that gun control, including an assault weapons ban, is about saving lives.  Gun control advocates aren’t coming for our guns, we’re told again and again.  At least not all of our guns.  They only want the really nasty ones.

Speaking in rational terms, though, if the ban that was imposed for a decade didn’t save lives, and if, as we saw in the terrorist attacks on Paris, we can’t actually keep out the kinds of guns listed in any such ban that would be proposed again, what good is it?  The conclusion I have to come to is that the goal is to ban more and more classes of firearms until so few are left legally available that few will see any point to owning them in the first place.

And it’s our job to make sure we never come to that situation.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of

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