In the wake of the recent Orlando shooting by another radical Islamic terrorist, Omar Mateen, liberals will be out in droves trying to convince many Americans we need more “gun control”. They will try to tell us it’s not the fault of Obama, Democrats or the Establishment for flooding the United States with millions of refugees from terrorist nations. Or forget that the FBI and CIA both admit we can’t vet these illegal immigrants properly. No, that’s not the problem. The problem is government needs to swoop in and take away our 2nd Amendment, because the solution is gun control, NOT stopping illegal radical terrorists from entering our country.
But in the wake of Omar Mateen’s bloody rampage in Orlando, gun control advocates think that overcoming the passionate opposition of firearms owners and imposing a ban on a difficult to define class of “assault weapons” is a swell idea whose time has come. This prohibition will somehow be different.
“Those who defend the easy accessibility of assault weapons should meet these families and explain why that makes sense,” President Obama tut-tutted last week. But the moralizer-in-chief failed to make sense himself, calling for the outlawing of a category of devices that doesn’t really exist.
“The term assault weapon itself, of disputed origin, is a thorn in the side of gun enthusiasts, who point out that the differences between ‘assault weapons’ and other semi-automatics are largely cosmetic and don’t increase the gun’s lethality,” explainsSlate senior editor Rachael Larimore, in a piece taking the media to task for reporting and editorializing on guns without getting the facts straight.
“Because these guns are really just ordinary rifles, it is hard for legislators to effectively regulate them without banning half the handguns in the country (those that are semiautomatic and/or have detachable magazines) and many hunting rifles as well,”adds UCLA law professor and gun control advocate Adam Winkler, who has actually done his research.
Winkler also emphasizes why gun owners are so hardened in their opposition to further legal restrictions: “Gun control advocates ridicule the NRA’s claim that the government is coming to take away people’s guns, then try to outlaw perhaps the most popular rifle in the country.”
Gun owners’ response is best summarized by one of their more popular slogans of recent years: “Molon labe.” Usually translated as “come and take them,” that was Spartan King Leonidas I’s legendary response to the Persian demand that he and his men surrender their weapons before the Battle of Thermopylae.
Some advocates of restrictions will object that they “don’t want to take away” existing guns—they just want to prevent the acquisition of new ones. That narrative becomes complicated when officials like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo muse that “Confiscation could be an option“—a sentiment echoed by the New York Times editorial board.
But let’s go with it. So, the government somehow defines “assault weapons” in a meaningful way and bans sales of new ones. How is that going to be effective given the millions of disfavored weapons already in circulation? That includes roughly 8 million AR-15-style rifles alone—out of somewhere north of 300 million firearms in general. It’s not like they’re going anywhere. Plenty of 19th century firearms are still in working condition.
And their numbers will increase, even if commercial production and sales are outlawed. People have been 3D-printing AR-15 lower receivers (the parts legally classified as a firearm) for years. More durable receivers are CNC-milled by hobbyists from partially finished blanks as well as raw blocks of metal. These techniques were developed in anticipation of the laws now proposed, with the specific purpose of rendering them impotent.
Molon labe, remember?
So, a United States the morning after, or a year after, or a decade after a successful effort to ban “assault weapons” will not be the scene of the “domestic disarmament” favored by prominent communitarian sociology professor Amitai Etzioni. It will be more like Prohibition-era America, but with hidden rifles substituting for stockpiled hooch and 3D printers standing in for moonshiners’ stills. And probably a bit more tense.
Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol. It didn’t work for marijuana. It won’t work for guns. Bad guys with guns will always be bad, but at least with the 2nd Amendment they won’t outnumber the good guys with guns. Just because politicians put laws in place, doesn’t mean people will follow them, especially the bad guys. Just ask all those people killed by a drunk driver or the women physically assaulted and killed by men with restraining orders.