Never let a good tragedy go to waste. With a couple of mass shootings unfolding this autumn, the anti-gun rights group founded by Gabby Giffords and her husband has just released a new set of targets for federal regulation. You’ll recognize some of them as old chestnuts which are regularly opposed by those who object to the Second Amendment, as well as some new bits of technology we’re still wrestling with in the court of public opinion.
But one item on the list quickly caught everyone’s attention. In addition to discussing “assault weapons” and some potentially illegal accessories, Giffords (which is actually the new name of her organization) has decided to include muzzleloaders. (Free Beacon)
Former congresswoman Gabby Giffords’s gun control group released a report on Wednesday warning of the dangers of muzzle loading rifles, a number of other firearms, and some firearms accessories and calling for new gun control measures targeting the devices.
The group, which recently changed its name from Americans for Responsible Solutions to Giffords, said in a release its report was intended to identify “extremely lethal firearms and devices” that it believes skirt current firearms laws. “Giffords—the gun violence organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut, Captain Mark Kelly—are calling on Congress to update federal gun laws so these accessories can’t turn a firearm into a military-style weapon,” the group said in a statement.
The other items on the list really aren’t unusual for these groups. They mention armor piercing ammunition, bump stocks and “high capacity shotguns” (which I assume refers to street sweepers). But… muzzleloaders? Their pitch seems to be based on a couple of points, some with more relative merit than others. One is the caliber, and it’s true that some of the antique, black powder rifles can be quite large indeed. Their other point is that such weapons typically include a suppressor to cut down on the weapon’s report, an attachment which is exempt from the National Firearms Act.
Why do you suppose you’re allowed to have a suppressor on a .50 caliber black powder rifle? If you’ve ever stood near one when it’s fired you’d know. They can make a deafening sound. But this is now being viewed as some sort of “back door” to allow people to get around the rules.
Whenever I see debates over the Second Amendment break out, there’s inevitably some clever wag who will say that the “true spirit” of the Second Amendment only applies to weapons available to the Founders. In other words, they’re willing to let everyone own a muzzleloader if they wish, but nothing more modern than that. I suppose such an exception is no longer good enough in gun grabbing circles. But let’s keep something in mind here. One of the major complaints about so-called “assault rifles” is the rapid rate at which they fire and the possibility of holding many rounds of ammunition with extended capacity magazines. Add in the bump stock modification and you can achieve the rate of fire we saw in Las Vegas.
Now look at the muzzleloader. I’m assured by most people with experience in this field that a competent person who practices regularly can generally get off two rounds in a minute. In case you’re wondering just how dangerous they can become, here’s a very short video of a Civil War reenactor who managed to do four. But that’s about the limit.
Still… pretty impressive. But hardly a signal that further government regulation is needed.