Obama May Re-institute Assault Weapons Ban
President Obama is seeking to re institute an assault weapons ban which the Bush administration allowed to expire in 2004.
"As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to re institute the ban on the sale of assault weapons,"
The Assault Weapons Ban signed into law by President Clinton in 1994 banned 19 types of semi-automatic military-style guns and ammunition clips with more than 10 rounds.
However, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has responded with a claim that the re institution of this ban will only further hurt the economy and do nothing for crime prevention.
the National Shooting Sports Foundation reminded Congress and all Americans that such a ban would cause jobs to be lost in a difficult economy, have no effect on reducing crime and would deprive millions of law-abiding sportsmen and gun owners of their Constitutional right to own the firearm of their choice.
Interestingly, the debate between gun-ban advocates and the pro-gun lobby often hinges upon mere terminology. The phrase "assault weapons" is often confused with the phrase "assault rifle." Two very different things. "Assault rifle" has a well established technical definition.
An assault rifle is a rifle designed for combat, with selective fire (capable of shooting either like a machine gun or one bullet at a time). Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies, having largely superseded or supplemented battle rifles (which are similar to assault rifles but are larger and more powerful) such as the World War II-era M1 Garand and SVT-40. Examples of assault rifles include the AK-47, the M16 rifle, and the Steyr AUG.
Whereas "assault weapon" refers to a broad range of weapons including some pistols and shotguns, weapons oft considered sporting weapons.
There are a variety of different statutory definitions of assault weapon in local, state, and federal laws in the United States that define them by a set of characteristics they possess. Using lists of physical features or specific firearms in defining assault weapons in the US was first codified by the language defining semi-automatic rifles with certain characteristics in the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Very generally speaking, a firearm is defined by these laws as an assault weapon if it has both a detachable magazine and a pistol grip, sometimes in conjunction with other features such as a folding stock or a flash suppressor.
Both sides of this debate use deliberately confusing terminology to push their particular agenda.
Holder's use of the inaccurate term "assault weapons" is one that is deliberately used by gun-ban advocates to create confusion between legally sold, semi-automatic rifles and look-a-like, fully automatic military versions. While the civilian version of these rifles may resemble their military counterparts, the civilian rifle fires only one round with each pull of the trigger. Additionally, these rifles fire ammunition calibers no more powerful than traditional-looking sporting arms. Civilian access to fully automatic machine guns has been severely restricted since 1934.
Definitions and syntax aside, the debate is as important for Mexicans and Canadians as it is for Americans. Gun laws in the US will invariably impact the occurrence, severity, and type of crime in the rest of North America.
No word yet on the details of this potential ban or when it might arrive. Needless to say, when this particular bill re-emerges, we can expect a great deal of debate.