An Assault Weapon or Not An Assault Weapon…That is the Question

by Steve MacDonald

I’m no expert on firearms but do a fair job of knowing how government works and this “we need to do something” thing plays right into my wheelhouse.

That “something” is the desire of legislators to appear to be capable of managing our lives in every meaningful way, so when a nut plotted, planned and then literally executed his massacre, the people who always feel the need to act like what they do matters got to work.

Long story short, the professional left sees the Newtown killings as a way to re-enact the Clinton Assault weapons ban.

We here at the Grok have already thrown down a mountain of text on the event and the reaction, but we’ve not yet (to my knowledge) actually remarked on the ban itself, and more specifically, on how it would not have changed anything.

Most of what comes out of Washington is designed to employ bureaucrats and to make things cost more, or to create hoops to jump through.   A health care law that makes health care cost more and harder to get.  A banking bill that makes it more expensive to operate but prevents none of the things its backers claimed.  A stimulus that hands out money for the sake of handing out money.  An assault weapons ban.

To simplify the discussion on details I defer to this article at PJ Media.  There is a list of what characteristics qualify a weapon as an assault weapon based on the Clinton law.  For my purposes, I’ll just post the accompanying pictures.

The top photo is of a weapon that, under the law, would be considered an asault weapon.

assault weapon





Not…an assault weapon.

not an assault weapon





You don’t need to be an expert to understand that the difference between these weapons when pointed at you is irrelevant.  That the original law was just bothersome window dressing designed to inconvenience law abiding citizens, collecters and enthusiaists.  And summoning it back like some supernatural spirit whose mere presence would have prevented any killing between then and now is simply absurd.  It didn’t work then, it wouldn’t work now.  Only armed, law-abiding, private citizens would have been able to stop or limit the calculated killing in Newtown.

But you never let a crisis go to waste.

While the Obama administration has been trying desperately to find a way to limit the second amendment, and would go as far as any administration ever if they suspected they could, any new effort will probaby be just as rediculous and cumbersome–but it will not deter criminals.

So success will be defined simply as appearing to have done something, which is to say that they will have made it more difficult for law abiding citizens to protect themselves from the people willing to ignore the law.  That is what passes for governance in modern America.



Steve has been recognized as the Americans For Prosperity Blogger of the month for December 2012

Steve Mac Donald has been recognized as the AFP December Blogger of the month


Leave a Comment

  • Tim from Nashua

    Like a zombie, the ‘Assault weapon ban’ just won’t stay dead. Like Obama’s message to Putin, he now has more flexibility, after the election, to infringe upon free people’s right of self-defence, via firearms.
    An abortionist’s tools…..assault weapons, or not? What say you DemocRats?


    people in the media haven’t got a clue. I’ve heard so much misinformation over the past few days on tv and radio that it’s embarrassing.
    Also, many people(even though I personally have tried to explain it
    several times on facebook and in face-to-face conversations in the past few days) don’t understand that
    there is almost NO functional difference between “assault-style” rifles
    like the “bushmaster” and my Dad’s Remington model 1100 shotgun and
    popular hunting rifles like the Browning BAR. Most of the goo-gaws that
    make a bushmaster look “scary” – the handle, pistol grip, flash
    suppressor, etc are mostly cosmetic alterations that have no bearing on
    the way the gun functions. The bushmaster is a semi-auto. Just like my
    dad’s shotgun, the Browning BAR, and a whole host of other very common
    hunting guns. When you squeeze the trigger of all of them a shell is
    fired, the spent cartridge is ejected and a new round enters the
    chamber. The only difference between the “Assault rifles” that everyone
    seems to want to ban and popular semi-automatic hunting guns is that
    the ones used for hunting are actually MORE powerful – can do MORE
    damage – than the bushmaster. Banning guns because of what they look
    like is stupid. And if you really want to ban bushmasters because they
    are semi-autos then that means one could easily jump to banning the
    Remington 1100, Browning BAR, etc, etc. I don’t personally own any
    semi-automatic weapons. I own a pump shotgun, a bolt action rifle and a
    muzzleloader. I think the gun makers have had success recently with
    their “assault style” hunting guns because of the pervasiveness of our
    gun culture fueled by Hollywood and the folks who create 1st person
    shooter video games. Apparently there’s a whole new segment of the
    hunting population that likes to pretend they’re “Rambo’ when our
    hunting. Or that are either not very good shots or don’t have the
    discipline to take ethical shots and therefore want the added rounds so
    that they can just “spray and pray” when a deer or other game animal
    shows itself. Guns are inanimate objects. It’s people that are
    idiots. I’m all for closing the gun show loophole and could be
    convinced perhaps that we need to ban clips with capacities over 10
    rounds for all but military and law enforcement personnel. But the media talking heads like “Limey” Morgan in CNN shouldn’t be so quick to start carrying on about banning this type of
    gun or that type of gun when they don’t even really know much about the
    guns you’re talking about banning. Educate yourself first. AND . . .
    if we focus on the “gun” part of the equation while ignoring the
    “shooter” and “environment” parts of the equation – we do so at our own

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