Of course: Feinstein’s assault weapons ban exempts government officials

posted at 5:31 pm on January 26, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

Hey, they’ve gotta have someone who can sell high-powered firearms to Mexican drug cartels, amirite? You’ve heard about the 158 weapons you’ll no longer be able to use. But what about the exemptions?

Not everyone will have to abide by Senator Dianne Feinstein’s gun control bill. If the proposed legislation becomes law, government officials and others will be exempt.

“Mrs. Feinstein’s measure would exempt more than 2,200 types of hunting and sporting rifles; guns manually operated by bolt, pump, lever or slide action; and weapons used by government officials, law enforcement and retired law enforcement personnel,” the Washington Times reports.

More on exemptions, from the Huffington Post:

Finally, the bill includes a number of exemptions: It exempts more than 2,200 hunting and sporting weapons; any gun manually operated by a bolt, pump, lever or slide action; any weapons used by government officials and law enforcement; and any weapons legally owned as of the date of the bill’s enactment.

I’m always confused by how liberals— the segment of the population most obsessed with constantly telling us of our country’s sins, its government’s brutal overreaches, its occasional tyranny, and its fundamental disregard for the justice it promises— suddenly decide the idea of governments becoming tyrannical is a paranoid delusion once the wary citizen is a gun owner. Presumably you’re only allowed to believe the government might become tyrannical and still be a respected political figure and college professor if your weapon of choice was a nail bomb meant for Ft. Dix.

Radley Balko has a new book out, which might help remind liberals why you might not want to be stuck with a 7-round pistol when, say, an armed drug raid mistakenly descends on your house and family— Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces

Jacob Sullum notes a more sinister thought process behind Feinstein’s very specific list-making and exempting:

Feinstein brags that her bill “protects the rights of law-abiding citizens who use guns for hunting, household defense or legitimate recreational purposes.” One way it supposedly does that is by excluding “2,258 legitimate hunting and sporting rifles and shotguns by specific make and model.” If those guns are not on the list of specifically named “assault weapons” and do not meet the criteria Feinstein has laid out for that arbitrary category, why should they be mentioned at all? Feinstein seems to think anything not specifically allowed is prohibited, but that is not how laws are supposed to work in a free society.

Another way Feinstein “protects the rights of law-abiding citizens” is by graciously allowing current owners of newly defined “assault weapons” to keep them. She emphasizes that her bill includes “a grandfather clause that specifically exempts all assault weapons lawfully possessed at the date of enactment from the ban.” But Feinstein and her allies have been assuring us for two decades that “assault weapons” have no legitimate uses. It is hard to reconcile that claim, which is central to the argument for banning these guns, with Feinstein’s concession that they are used for “hunting, household defense or legitimate recreational purposes.” Her bill would require buyers of grandfathered “assault weapons” to undergo background checks, but there is no way to enforce that rule unless all those guns are registered, and in any event it is not a very effective way of stopping mass shooters, who typically do not have disqualifying criminal or psychiatric records.

Emily Miller of the Washington Times, who has written about her own laborious labyrinthine path to gun ownership in the District of Columbia, reminds us of how utterly useless all this is, considering the central pitch is a deliberate attempt to confuse people about guns:

The best illustration of this deception is Mrs. Feinstein’s placing of the “Armalite M15 22LR Carbine” on her list of items that she claims have the sole purpose “to hold at the hip if possible, to spray fire to be able to kill large numbers.” This particular weapon fires a .22 long rifle cartridge, which has one-tenth the power of the standard military round and is generally suited for plinking tin cans or hunting small varmints. It simply looks like a military rifle, which fits Mrs. Feinstein’s effort to eliminate items that look scary to her.

During the marathon news conference, politicians played on emotions rather than facts. We know the new “assault weapons” ban would be useless because crime didn’t decrease during the 10 years that the 1994 ban was in effect. In the eight years Americans have been free to buy any semi-automatic rifles, gun ownership has gone up while crime has steadily declined.

According to a survey conducted in 2010 for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, 90 percent of the owners of modern sporting rifles use them for target shooting, 80 percent for home defense and 60 percent for hunting.

About 44 percent of owners are former military or law enforcement, who enjoy using a familiar rifle. The typical owner is over 35 years old, married and has some college education. These good Americans are the ones who will be affected by a ban, not the criminals who will continue to use whatever they want.

Before this ridiculous bill is sent to the trash heap by a bipartisan group of senators, at least we get to enjoy being lectured about gun safety by people brandishing rifles without opening the action or observing trigger discipline and lectured about saving lives from gun violence by the mayor of the city in which you’re most likely to die by gunfire.


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