Has the push for an assault-weapons ban doomed gun control in the Senate?

posted at 5:21 pm on March 22, 2013 by Allahpundit

A compelling case made by Adam Winkler, although I think he’s selling the Dems short both on long-term strategy and on the post-election politics of this issue.

Banning the sale of assault weapons was a bad idea from the start. These guns may be scary looking, but they are rarely used in criminal activity. While involved in a handful of high-profile mass shootings, including in Newtown, Connecticut, and Aurora, Colorado, these weapons aren’t a significant contributor to gun violence overall. Only a fraction of gun-related homicides every year are attributed to rifles of any kind; assault rifles make up a fraction of a fraction. And anyone looking to do maximum damage, like a deranged mass killer, can easily find other guns just as deadly. So even if the assault-weapons ban were enacted, it would not have a major impact on America’s daily death toll from guns…

Even if enacted, Feinstein’s proposal would be the most likely of all the major gun reforms being considered in Washington today to be overturned on Second Amendment grounds. The Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment protects arms that are “in common use” for lawful purposes, like self-defense. There seems little doubt that assault weapons are in common use, given the millions of them in circulation. Of course, the courts might still have upheld the ban; a federal appeals court recently said that outlawing this one category of firearm didn’t substantially interfere with anyone’s self-defense. Strangely, the best thing an assault-weapons ban would have going for it is its loopholes. Because you could buy the exact same gun without the pistol grip, you weren’t really denied the right to have a semiautomatic rifle to defend yourself…

Ironically, the people who may be saddest to see Feinstein’s proposal go down are the gun-rights hardliners. They knew all along that the ban was riddled with loopholes, was easy to evade, and had little potential to impact crime. That’s in part why they wanted to focus on this proposal, rather than on background checks or limits on high-capacity magazines. Of course, the National Rifle Association leaders continue to denounce those other proposals. Yet it’s harder for them to make a persuasive public case against background checks—which primarily burden criminals and the mentally ill trying to buy guns—or magazine restrictions, which, in allowing people to have 10 rounds plus readily available, already-loaded replacement magazines, didn’t interfere with self-defense.

All good points, but realistically what was Obama supposed to do after Newtown? He and his party had just won big in November; he was staring at another imminent victory over the GOP on the fiscal cliff at New Year’s. OFA was getting set for its new role as official grassroots mobilizer for the 2014 midterms. He was at the peak of his political strength when the shooting happened and owed his base a ton for getting him another term. How was he supposed to tell them that an AWB was a bridge too far and that it wasn’t worth even trying to use the bully pulpit to make it happen? Also, how many times have you heard Democrats (Biden especially) say in the weeks after Newtown, “This time is different”? I think they honestly believed that public outrage, which typically deflates quickly after a mass shooting, might persist given the age of the victims and the wide sense among political analysts that the country was trending liberal. O had to try. And even if he failed to get something passed, he might have reasoned that the Dems would still gain two things in the process. One: They’d move the Overton window a bit such that, after the next mass shooting, an AWB might seem plausible enough to voters that there’ll be real heat put on red-state Dems and the GOP in Congress. Two: If they could hold their caucus together and turn this into a party-line issue, they might be able to use it against Republicans in 2014 to take back the House. Hasn’t worked out that way, but it was hard to predict that with absolute certainty in mid-December.

That’s the political argument. The strategic argument in terms of getting something through Congress is that, by initially asking for a lot with the AWB and then abandoning it, Reid makes Schumer’s bill on background checks look modest by comparison even though it’s not. That’s negotiating 101: Set your original price unrealistically high so that you can haggle your way towards what you reasonably expect. The AWB was always a longshot but universal background checks are more plausible; Reid’s willing to hand the GOP a victory on the former in order to give them cover to vote yes on the latter. (Schumer will, I bet, do the same thing on the immigration bill by caving on the border-security fig leaf in the name of nailing down Republican support on rapid legal status for the illegals who are here.) The risk, as Winkler notes in the excerpt, was that asking for a lot as an opening bid risked mobilizing gun-rights supporters more quickly. But gun-rights supporters were always going to mobilize; that’s what they do. If O hadn’t given them a lightning rod with the AWB, they would have fired lightning bolts at Schumer’s bill instead. (And likely still will.) And as for the constitutional point, that the Supremes would have struck down an AWB if it had passed, that depends mainly on whether Obama would get to replace one of the conservatives on the Court before the case made it up there. Even if Winkler’s right and it did get struck down, Democrats would get plenty of mileage out of that in riling up their base in future elections. All in all, they had to propose the AWB this time, even if it was — almost — guaranteed to fail.


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Back ground checks is the best stealth way to create criminals out of millions of gun owners which just by happy coincidence vote majority GOP.

All it takes is to make owning any firearm not on the national registration a felony, and if you don’t have proof its yours, its illegal. Great Grandpa’s smoke pole he settled the west with? Illegal, pass on a gun to your kids? Illegal, get caught with dad’s shotgun while duck hunting?…

Besides identifying every gun owner so a SWAT team can show up to take your private property, and BTW if you resist you’re the bad guy, the authorities and the media will make sure of that, now there’s an excuse to probe all of your friends and family.

Speakup on March 22, 2013 at 5:23 PM

May it be so!

Schadenfreude on March 22, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Not a chance. Gun control will always be available for resurrection. Just wait until the aftermath of the next large scale murder event by an unhinged loon with access to someone else’s guns.

hawkeye54 on March 22, 2013 at 5:24 PM

The swine, from top to bottom, when Lennon was killed with a pistol.

Schadenfreude on March 22, 2013 at 5:24 PM

From your lips to God’s ear AP.
.
Ha Ha ha!
.
Runs

LincolntheHun on March 22, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Besides identifying every gun owner so a SWAT team can show up to take your private property, and BTW if you resist you’re the bad guy, the authorities and the media will make sure of that, now there’s an excuse to probe all of your friends and family.

Making everyone a potential criminal is the intent to keep as many people in line as possible out of the fear of breaking a law and facing dire consequences.

hawkeye54 on March 22, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Now I’m worried.

Remember … “Don’t believe the polls, Romney can win!”?

PoliTech on March 22, 2013 at 5:30 PM

The swine, from top to bottom, when Lennon was killed with a pistol.

Well, eventually the pistols will be banned and require confiscation. Its easier to demonize larger, high capacity fire arms first, and work down from there, bit by bit.

hawkeye54 on March 22, 2013 at 5:32 PM

Now I’m worried.

Remember … “Don’t believe the polls, Romney can win!”?

Some naive people forgot who controlled the ballot boxes in heavily populated urban areas and simply relied on polls.

hawkeye54 on March 22, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Already underway: if you are “a Constitutionalist” or question “gun registration” and more, you’re “part of the Black Helicopter crowd,” says Biden.

MEANING, you’re mentally unwell. And stop saying Biden is. OR something.

The Left is underway with it’s plan to ruin gun owners by one way or another but, like the history of Communists before them, the Democrats are maligning the mental health of those Americans who are “clinging to their guns and their religion,” in Obama’s words — or, more specifically, as Biden slurs, if you are still clinging to the idea of Constitutional Rights, the Constitution as anything meaningful, you’re insane.

With Obamacare in place, they’ve got all the “Mental Health Panels” they need to stamp anyone officially crazy and send them off to the Gulag. That is, *IF* you’re still thinking that owning a gun is a good idea, the Constitution is to be respected…you know, antiquated olde-country stuff like that.

Lourdes on March 22, 2013 at 5:33 PM

IMO the universal background checks are a bigger threat to the 2nd amendment than the AWB.

FloatingRock on March 22, 2013 at 5:33 PM

All good points, but realistically what was Obama supposed to do after Newtown?

Uh, well, instead of stomping all over the still-warm corpses of murdered children, and later, dancing on their fresh graves in pursuit of the democrats’ decades-old push to gut the 2nd Amendment, obamas and his ghouls could have simply grieved along with the victims’ families and the rest of America.

Pork-Chop on March 22, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Besides identifying every gun owner so a SWAT team can show up to take your private property, and BTW if you resist you’re the bad guy, the authorities and the media will make sure of that, now there’s an excuse to probe all of your friends and family.

Making everyone a potential criminal is the intent to keep as many people in line as possible out of the fear of breaking a law and facing dire consequences.

hawkeye54 on March 22, 2013 at 5:30 PM

This is exactly the same process used by Communists in/after the Russian Revolution, same process used against the South Vietnamese by China’s Communist Party government, same process used in Cuba by Castro…

…being now repeated by the Democratic Party of today in the U.S.A. This is what Obama MEANT by “change”: you will change or else.

Lourdes on March 22, 2013 at 5:36 PM

IMO the universal background checks are a bigger threat to the 2nd amendment than the AWB.

FloatingRock on March 22, 2013 at 5:33 PM

You might be right, since the recording of individuals even inquiring about owning a gun (participating in this “background check” process) is the creation of a national database that almost certainly will be used for exploitative, political purposes.

Lourdes on March 22, 2013 at 5:39 PM

“Universal background check” isn’t found in invisible ink in the phrase, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Doesn’t say you have to apply for that right and/or have some public official “approve” you or not to use it.

Lourdes on March 22, 2013 at 5:40 PM

…being now repeated by the Democratic Party of today in the U.S.A. This is what Obama MEANT by “change”: you will change or else.

Of course its being repeated, as the Democrat platform is virtually identical to most of Communist Party USAs platform.

SO much so the CPUSA could sue for plagiarism, if the Dems weren’t doing the same job on America the CPUSA had dreamed of doing on its own.

hawkeye54 on March 22, 2013 at 5:41 PM

“Universal background check” isn’t found in invisible ink in the phrase, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Doesn’t say you have to apply for that right and/or have some public official “approve” you or not to use it.

Lourdes on March 22, 2013 at 5:40 PM

But Feinstein claims that “assault weapons” are like child pornography! So she/govt. can regulate at will against these nasty “assault weapons” and conveniently, “assault weapons” can be used to define anything.

Lourdes on March 22, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Uh, well, instead of stomping all over the still-warm corpses of murdered children, and later, dancing on their fresh graves in pursuit of the democrats’ decades-old push to gut the 2nd Amendment, obamas and his ghouls could have simply grieved along with the victims’ families and the rest of America.

Pork-Chop on March 22, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Good one! They don’t grieve though as you know they exploit.

fourdeucer on March 22, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Doesn’t make sense unless Commie Reid plans on running again. My God – that POS will be 78- way too old if McCain was too old – for the 2016 campaign.

He passes a Gun ban, and even the Corrupt unions won’t be able to save his job in Nevada for 2016.

So if he plans to retire- why not grab the guns? Gotta be a plan for one more term.

Blech.

FlaMurph on March 22, 2013 at 5:45 PM

How do you enforce the universal background check, without first having everyone register? You can’t.

A few months ago, you might have called me paranoid for suggesting that registration could lead to confiscation… but not anymore. Not since Gov. Andrew Cuomo uttered the “C” word. All you gun grabbers can’t take it back.

And what if they do pass a requirement for background checks? Until all the mental health care providers are required, by law, to report the names of the mentally ill, it’s still not going to stop the next Virginia Tech shooting rampage. I’ve not seen one bit of legislation being discussed regarding closing this “loophole”, but we sure do hear all about the AWB, limiting magazine capacity, and background checks.

Hill60 on March 22, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Ironically, the people who may be saddest to see Feinstein’s proposal go down are the gun-rights hardliners.

That’s just retarded. It reminds me of the sub-Orwellian “bans increase choice” article from a few days ago.

We’ve got some really, really dumb people in this society … and they’ve voted one of their own into the White House.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 22, 2013 at 5:49 PM


“Universal background check” isn’t found in invisible ink in the phrase, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Doesn’t say you have to apply for that right and/or have some public official “approve” you or not to use it.

Lourdes on March 22, 2013 at 5:40 PM

As I said in this morning’s thread:

The minute you need the government’s permission to exercise a basic human right that right effectively no longer exists.

Hence the reason the NRA’s position of Stand and Fight very rightly is that our backs are up against the wall and there is no ‘compromise’ that doesn’t essentially destroy the second amendment.

“Universal background checks” are the big Khuna of the gun grabbers – once they surpass that hurdle, it’s all-downhill from there.

The assault weapons scam was just a smoke screen for the even more radical ‘moderate’ objective.

NMRN123 on March 22, 2013 at 5:50 PM

“But gun-rights supporters were always going to mobilize; that’s what they do.”

You say that like it is a bad thing…

Seven Percent Solution on March 22, 2013 at 5:50 PM

When will we see “universal background checks” database dumped onto Prog sites..?

d1carter on March 22, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Bad news for the gun grabbers:

Polls show plunging public support for new gun laws, anti-gun politicians can’t backpedal quickly enough
http://dailycaller.com/2013/03/22/polls-show-plunging-public-support-for-new-gun-laws-anti-gun-politicians-cant-backpedal-quickly-enough/#comment-838853224

NMRN123 on March 22, 2013 at 5:51 PM

If the Dems are smart, they won’t let Biden or Whinestein anywhere near a microphone to talk about universal background checks. If I was neutral about firearms ownership by the law-abiding, those two would have persuaded me to go buy at least one gun.

Then we have the likes of Piers Morgan, who boasts he was using those twenty tiny caskets for a bully pulpit of his own.

With the likes of those people and the other gun-grabbing proponents, a casual observer would have to conclude they’re idiot ghouls who should not be paid any attention.

Liam on March 22, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Well, eventually the pistols will be banned and require confiscation. Its easier to demonize larger, high capacity fire arms first, and work down from there, bit by bit.

hawkeye54 on March 22, 2013 at 5:32 PM

This is kinda good news. If we’re going to start banning things because they look scary, then DWSs and Pelosi’s days are numbered.

BobMbx on March 22, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Back ground checks is the best stealth way to create criminals out of millions of gun owners which just by happy coincidence vote majority GOP.

Speakup on March 22, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Why is it that so many conservatives insist on being utterly blind to the Marxist Democrats strategies? The whole point of Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Ban was never to get an Assault Weapons Ban through congress or the senate, they knew for certain that they would not be able to do that again. No, the whole point was to provide the GOP and those Democrats in conservative Districts/States with a false dilemma. Choose a Assault Weapons Ban, which will cause you to loose your Congressional/Senate seat or accept a “Universal Firearms Registration” bill.

SWalker on March 22, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Just what I think his head would look like atop a pike.

‘Toons of the Day: The Grim Reider

Resist We Much on March 22, 2013 at 6:12 PM

“Ironically, the people who may be saddest to see Feinstein’s proposal go down are the gun-rights hardliners.”

When I hear people say things like this, I can’t help thinking of those “conservatives” who said Roberts’ ObamaCare decision was going to be “helpful”…

SwabJockey on March 22, 2013 at 6:43 PM

That’s negotiating 101

Of course it is. And why, pray tell, is GOP so g-damned stubbornly stupid that they almost always open with their end position, instead of opening with their own maximum demand?

Now they want us to think that background checks (leading to a gun registry) is a win for us that we should gladly accept… when actually a registry is the worst possible defeat for us. Far worse than any AWB.

petefrt on March 22, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Let’s not forget how that 2nd Amendment thingy dooms gun control…

Without another amendment even Benedict Roberts and Ogabe shills Kagan and Sotomayor would have difficulty, er, justifying selling their votes as on Ocommiecare.
Not that they won’t try….

viking01 on March 22, 2013 at 6:45 PM

U.N. threatens to override Second Amendment
Arms Trade Treaty puts American gun owners at peril

While President Obama lost a round this week on his gun-control agenda in Congress, but he’s making up for lost ground by pursuing a broader gun grab at the United Nations.

petefrt on March 22, 2013 at 6:52 PM

We need to use Obama tactics here and get aggressive. Now is exactly the time we need to be vocal and lobbying to do the exact opposite: pushing for an elimination of all infringements of the right to bear arms – including repealing the National Firearms Act.

WhatSlushfund on March 22, 2013 at 7:09 PM

…wish Harry would use one on himself!

KOOLAID2 on March 22, 2013 at 7:14 PM

What part of “shall not be infringed” don’t these control freaks understand.

BetseyRoss on March 22, 2013 at 7:23 PM

U.N. threatens to override Second Amendment
Arms Trade Treaty puts American gun owners at peril

While President Obama lost a round this week on his gun-control agenda in Congress, but he’s making up for lost ground by pursuing a broader gun grab at the United Nations.

petefrt on March 22, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Treaties, even if passed by 2/3rds of the Senate and signed by the President, DO NOT TRUMP THE CONSTITUTION. Reid v Covert is merely one in a line of cases establishing this long principle.

Resist We Much on March 22, 2013 at 7:31 PM

Bill Clinton killed it. His “assault weapons” ban lost the Democrats the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. When Democrats still wanted more gun control he simply asked them “How many more seats do you want to lose?”

RJL on March 22, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Has the push for an assault-weapons ban doomed gun control in the Senate?
POSTED AT 5:21 PM ON MARCH 22, 2013 BY ALLAHPUNDIT

This isn’t “gun control” This is people control. Why is it we always let the left control the language? Guns are in fact controlled by people. Does it really need to be said that they are inanimate objects and can only be controlled by people??

The left calls it gun control because they want to distract us from what it really is. People control.

Allah you can control the headline here. Any chance you in the conservative media start calling it people control please?

Conservative4Ever on March 23, 2013 at 12:19 AM

I’m starting to believe that Allahpundit is/was a party apparatchik… but which party?

Urban Dictionary: apparatchik
1. apparatchik A person who is a cog in the wheel of a large, powerful organization, whether that organization is a government or a government-favored corporation.

Not meant to be an insult but admiration for AP’s ability to think like a politician.

Vince on March 23, 2013 at 1:21 AM

We need to use Obama tactics here and get aggressive. Now is exactly the time we need to be vocal and lobbying to do the exact opposite: pushing for an elimination of all infringements of the right to bear arms –including repealing the National Firearms

This is exactly what needs to happen. I like to ask the controllers “what does the word infringe mean?”
Every single gun law infringes upon the right to arms. Don’t like guns, amend the constitution or STFU. We need to go on the offense, conceding any infringements only encourages more.

crashland on March 23, 2013 at 10:19 AM

“Of course, the National Rifle Association leaders continue to denounce those other proposals. Yet it’s harder for them to make a persuasive public case against background checks—which primarily burden criminals and the mentally ill trying to buy guns—or magazine restrictions, which, in allowing people to have 10 rounds plus readily available, already-loaded replacement magazines, didn’t interfere with self-defense.

AllahPundit, “All good points, but realistically what was Obama supposed to do…”
When are we, as Americans going to realize the subversion of a liberal psuedo intellectual trying to destroy this country by wanting us to accept Federal registration background checks for all gun owners while posing as an American. That traitorous individual being the secretive AllahPundit. May Allah inflict a miserable life upon him!

aztrav on March 23, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Actually John Lennon was killed with a 38 revolver, which almost nobody has moved to ban, not even whacked-out New York State.

claudius on March 23, 2013 at 2:26 PM

It’s amazing. We all know gun bans are illegal, as well as unconstitutional, even if a supreme court would ‘say’ its not illegal because you dont -need- a specific rifle. Yet, nobody can point to anything that shows theres a need to NOT have one.

It’s all illegal, unconstitutional and is a great way to start a civil war.

TX-96 on March 23, 2013 at 4:02 PM

SHALL
NOT
BE
INFRINGED

….not sure how anyone (SCOTUS) can “”"”interperate”"”" anything out of this other than the meaning of…shall not…

It seems to me, shall NOT means, “Uhh NO”. So how does a supreme court say its OK to infringe?

There were 4 in DC HELLER that said you have no right, However the GOD DAMN constitution says ” SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED “.

W-T-F

TX-96 on March 23, 2013 at 4:07 PM

The cowards on the left talk big whereas the real gun owners buy more guns and ammo. They speak safely and carry a big, scary stick to beat the dog-shitte out of the lefty professors and the knock out kings.

el Vaquero on March 23, 2013 at 6:24 PM

Dunno. Let me ask my new AK. Keep making laws, I keep buying. One for One.

johnnyU on March 23, 2013 at 10:29 PM