It’s infuriating to gun-control advocates that as a political matter, there is little chance of new national restrictions on firearms. What’s really dumbfounding is that no amount of legislative tinkering would stop or even seriously slow the sort of evil psychotics who shoot innocent people in movie theaters, shopping malls—or a suburban Sikh temple. So liberals are either morons or liberal fascists. Take your pick.
Let’s look at what we know about Milwaukee to illustrate why gun control is going nowhere.
In response to the Sikh killings, Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the nonprofit Violence Policy Center told Reuters that the common thread connecting recent mass shootings is that they all involved semiautomatic weapons. “There is no valid reason for civilians to have assault rifles, semiautomatic handguns, and high-capacity magazines,” Sugarmann said.
Milwaukee, like Tucson before it, shows that you don’t need an “assault rifle” to kill and maim a lot of people in a few minutes. Assault rifle is a term that Sugarmann and the gun grabber coalition demonized in the early 1990s because they knew most people confuse it with “machine gun.”
Assault Weapon is nothing more than a scary-sounding synonym for a semiautomatic carbines. Round-for-round, a semiautomatic rifle is no more powerful or dangerous than a traditional wooden-stock deer-hunting rifle.
The United States tried banning assault weapons from 1994 through 2004, when the ban expired. The law had no significant effect on crime rates. The ban was riddled with loopholes, not least that it focused on cosmetic features, such as whether rifles had bayonet mounts, which had nothing to do with lethality.
What about large-capacity magazines? In the wake of Tucson and Colorado, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and other gun-control advocates have renewed their push for restrictions on ammunition capacity. The Milwaukee horror illustrates that a determined mass shooter can simply use multiple magazines, which can be quickly snapped into the grip of a semiautomatic pistol.
Lautenberg, Sugarmann, and their allies would like to see a revival of the 10-round limit on magazine capacity that was included in the ill-fated assault weapons “ban.” But the truth is that the 10-round rule backfired. Manufacturers like Glock saw the rule coming and stockpiled warehouses of large-capacity magazines. The law Congress passed banned only the manufacture and import of new large magazines. Existing equipment was “grandfathered in.” A booming market in “pre-ban” magazines provided all the large-capacity gear anyone could possibly want.
In fact, the ban made both military-style rifles and large-capacity magazines more popular than they had been because American gun owners tend to run out and buy anything that gun-controllers try to deny them. Statist legislation always comes with unintended consequences, they create more problems than they solve.
Pending legislative proposals to restrict magazine capacity are D.O.A. They have no support from the White House because it’s an election year. They have less than a zero chance in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
The measures would not ban possession of existing equipment, let alone authorize confiscation of the millions of large-capacity magazines already in private hands. Even dumb Democrats know that confiscating lawful citizens magazines would lead to civil insurrection.
That leaves Sugarmann’s call for denying civilians semiautomatic handguns, such as the one the Milwaukee murderer reportedly used to deadly effect. Yes, a pistol, with its spring-loaded magazine, can carry more ammunition than a six-round revolver, but that takes us back to the magazine debate. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that under the Second Amendment, citizens have a right to keep handguns for self protection. That clearly covers the 9 mm pistol as much as it does the .38 caliber revolver.
Gun-control advocates refuse to address the elephant in the room. We live in a free country with upwards of 250 million firearms already in private hands, along with over a billion accessories and high capacity magazines. The right to “keep and bear” arms is protected by a foundational constitutional provision in the Bill of Rights. The Second Amendment is more than a legal technicality. It represents independence, self-reliance, and security to many millions of Americans.
“We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” – Ronald Reagan