Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Op-Ed Contributor - What Happened to the Ban on Assault Weapons? - NYTimes.com

Op-Ed Contributor - What Happened to the Ban on Assault Weapons? - NYTimes.com

I like Mr Carter's Habitat for Humanity thing, I like that he is a man of faith though not mine. He also gets a bunch of bonus points for being a former US president so it pains me to have to tear his editorial apart. Some quotes and my commentary.

"I have used weapons since I was big enough to carry one, and now own two handguns, four shotguns and three rifles, two with scopes. I use them carefully, for hunting game from our family woods and fields, and occasionally for hunting with my family and friends in other places. We cherish the right to own a gun and some of my hunting companions like to collect rare weapons. One of them is a superb craftsman who makes muzzle-loading rifles, one of which I displayed for four years in my private White House office."

That's great sir I am pleased to hear you hunt even though I don't quite get the killing of our furry woodland brothers. I personally have weapons of self defense, target shooting and very occassional pest control.

"But none of us wants to own an assault weapon, because we have no desire to kill policemen or go to a school or workplace to see how many victims we can accumulate before we are finally shot or take our own lives."
Oh boy now I am being equated with mass murderers because I own semi automatic rifles that look like an M16 or AK. Sweet. Do I really have to kill people, can't I just keep shooting bulls eye targets at 200 to 600 meters like I have been. Oh wait they are also useful as militia weapons which is part of the reason for the 2nd amendment, some would say the whole reason.

"An overwhelming majority of Americans, including me and my hunting companions, believe in the right to own weapons, but surveys show that they also support modest restraints like background checks, mandatory registration and brief waiting periods before purchase.

A majority of Americans also support banning assault weapons. Many of us who hunt are dismayed by some of the more extreme policies of the National Rifle Association, the most prominent voice in opposition to a ban, and by the timidity of public officials who yield to the group’s unreasonable demands.

Heavily influenced and supported by the firearms industry, N.R.A. leaders have misled many gullible people into believing that our weapons are going to be taken away from us, and that homeowners will be deprived of the right to protect ourselves and our families. The N.R.A. would be justified in its efforts if there was a real threat to our constitutional right to bear arms. But that is not the case."

Sir you cannot say you want to ban a class of firearm and then turn around and tell us there is no threat to our constitutional rights and expect us to believe it. It's like you banning Playboy and then saying you aren't infringing on Hughes 1st amendment rights. Actually you can't say a majority of Americans support any bans because Americans belief in gun control is at an all time low according to Gallop. It is also unfortunately true that the VPC and Brady Campaign has never seen a gun they liked. They are too small or too big or too accurate or bayonet luggy.

" What are the results of this profligate ownership and use of guns designed to kill people? In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 30,000 people died from firearms, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all injury deaths."

Oddly enough of those 30,000 (less than 1/1000th of a percent of the nations population) according to the FBI 12,000 were homicides, of that somewhere around 2.5% were committed with a rifle or shotgun and again by FBI stats less than 1% of those long arms were "assault weapons". About 17, 000 were suicides which wouldn't be affected by a ban on scary looking guns because handguns are used overwhelmingly in suicides just like in crime and because if you take away the gun there is still rope, cliffs or bridges or razor blades.

"In 2005, every nine hours a child or teenager in the United States was killed in a firearm-related accident or suicide."

It's good he got the teenager (actually up to and including 25 year olds) part in there because that statistic relies on gang violence fueled by the prohibition of drugs and the drug war you and your replacements continue to prosecute in the face of overwhelming evidence it does no good at all. Let me repeat that the War on Some Drugs does no good at all. None.

" Instead, the N.R.A. is defending criminals’ access to assault weapons and use of ammunition that can penetrate protective clothing worn by police officers on duty. In addition, while the N.R.A. seems to have reluctantly accepted current law restricting sales by licensed gun dealers to convicted felons, it claims that only “law-abiding people” obey such restrictions — and it opposes applying them to private gun dealers or those who sell all kinds of weapons from the back of a van or pickup truck at gun shows."

I will leave aside the drift our former President is doing, he's getting old after all.
Any and I do mean any modern centerfire rifle bullet will penetrate normal police body armor. In fact the ubiqutis 30.06 or 30-30 round will do it far better than the 5.56 mm round out of an AR. We won't even mention how incredibly rare it is for a police officer to be shot in the first place, nor that the vast majority of cops who are shot on the job are shot with their own firearm after it has been wrested from their control by a bad guy.
I would also like to point out that private gun dealers do not exist. What he is referring to is a guy choosing to sell a firearm where the interested people are, much like cars get sold at cars shows. If there was someone who was dealing firearms without a license it's already against the law. One of the 20,000 that the BATFE is pretty aggressive about enforcing.

"Across our border, Mexican drug cartels are being armed with advanced weaponry imported from the United States"

Why am I supposed to give up one of my fundamental civil rights because some people don't follow laws in another country? Maybe Mexico could split the cost of a wall with us then the drugs could stay on their side and the guns on ours.
The machine gun thing has already been debunked so many times I can't believe these people are still using it but since they are.... You can't buy "advanced weaponry" as a civilian in the US without involving your local sheriff, the FBI and BATFE and a 6 month wait before taking possession period. Machine guns, grenade launchers and grenades are heavily regulated by the NFA of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968 and last but not least the supply of them was choked in 1986 by FOPA at which time the ATF machine gun registry was closed, fixing the supply to those on the list as of May 1986. Drug cartels aren't stupid the machine guns they possess are from defecting Federales and Military (150,000 in the last 6 years) and from countries further south such as Nicaragua, El Salvador and Columbia because that's where you can get a couple crates for what a single M16 would cost in the US.

" The gun lobby and the firearms industry should reassess their policies concerning safety and accountability — at least on assault weapons — and ease their pressure on acquiescent politicians who fear N.R.A. disapproval at election time. We can’t let the N.R.A.’s political blackmail prevent the banning of assault weapons — designed only to kill police officers and the people they defend."

What former President Carter fails to understand is the text of the 2nd amendment is even more restrictive upon government to leave a basic human right alone than the 1st and that some of us are tired of compromising because it does no good.
It does no good because the Brady's are back in a couple years asking for more restrictions and because criminals don't follow laws. Honest they don't, if they did there would not be 26,000 murders a year 50 % of which are done with knives, baseball bats, hands and feet or whatever else comes to hand. If they followed the law we wouldn't have a drug cartels, if they followed the law rape wouldn't happen. If they followed the law there would be no gun violence in Britain, Australia, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa, Sudan, Dar fur, Germany all places where guns are heavily restricted or banned.

Like I said at the beginning I like some of what Mr Carter has done with his life but he has never shown a whole lot of understanding of thugs and criminals. Why should I listen to him now?

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