Harry Reid will not include Dianne Feinstein’s Assault Weapons ban in the Senate bill. The Ryan House Budget has just passed the House, though it will not become law. But within that bill were several secretive provisions pushed by the NRA that make it harder for the Federal Government to check or trace gun manufacturers and gun sellers.
But the fight is not over. All polls show that the public wants or agrees with some gun safety measures. Ninety-one percent of the public agrees with background checks. Ninety-one percent of the American public cannot agree on their favorite flavor of ice cream, but they can agree with background checks. It is only a matter of time before that will have to be reflected in the government. A large percentage of the public agrees with limiting magazine capacity. Again, Congress will eventually catch up to that idea.
I can understand the overall reluctance on Assault Weapons bans. That is due, in large part, to the unclear definition of an assault weapon. Some say the term grew out of earlier desires to provide gun safety measures. Some say the term was generated by gun manufacturers themselves in order to generate interest at a time when handgun sales were slowing down. Regardless, the term “assault weapon” carries more stylistic concerns than any real, technical characteristics. As such, it makes such a ban difficult, if not a bit clumsy in is results.
On that, I will add this observation. Most weapons that would be considered assault weapons or assault rifles use Intermediate Power Cartridges, bullets, that are more powerful than general use handgun, rifle, or shotgun cartridges. The weakest intermediate power cartridge will propel a bullet 270 yards. That is more than two and one-half football fields. The strongest intermediate cartridge will propel a bullet more than 500 yards, more than five football fields. These are not home defense weapons. Two and one half football fields are your yard, your neighbor’s yard, and your neighbor’s neighbor’s yard.
The result of using these types of weapons at close range is that they are more deadly. Where a standard handgun would stop and drop the stranger in your yard, intermediate power cartridges would rip the stranger open. Hits in non lethal areas become lethal as major arteries get ripped open and the damage becomes more than can be easily handled by surgeons.
However, that seems to be a meaningless point right now. It would seem that the pro gun lobby is happy with the lethality of their toys, to which I will repeat one of my earlier sentiments. I would like to see a limit on magazine capacity. As a ban on assault weapons is unlikely, and as no one seems to be discussing the lethality of the ammunition itself, limiting the number of rounds that can be loaded at one time seems a logical compromise that does not tread on the Second Amendment in any way. The Aurora shooter had a drum attached to his assault rifle. Larger than a magazine, the drum carried 100 rounds. No stopping to reload until 100 bullets have been fired. No citizen needs that, no matter how bad you think your neighborhood is.
In the old west, 6-shooters were enough. If you were the skittish sort, you carried two. Twelve rounds before you needed to reload. It would seem that 10 or 12 rounds is a good number. While I disagree with the idea of a gun for home defense, it would seem that 10 or 12 shots should take care of any home assault.
For the moment I will avoid my rants on how having a gun in the home actually puts you more at risk, or my rants that we have much better safety measures these days that are completely non lethal. The press to get the government to pass some reasonable gun safety measures may seem to be losing ground, but sadly another Newtown or Aurora will happen again. The struggle will continue.