Friday, December 18, 2009

WA lawmakers seek to ban semi-automatic weapons.

Not that it has any chance of passing, it's worth mentioning just to point out that old lies die hard.

The ban would cover semiautomatics designed for military use that are capable of rapid-fire and can hold more than 10 rounds. Semiautomatics designed for sporting or hunting purposes wouldn't be banned.

"If they're used in the army, used in the war — that's what this ban is about," said Ralph Fascitelli, the board president of Washington Ceasefire.

First off, the Second Amendment wasn't drafted to protect sporting equipment. Historically, owning a gun for sporting purposes was a fringe benefit of owning a gun for more practical reasons such as putting food on the table and putting bad people on the ground. E.g., "I own a gun for putting holes Redcoats/Commies/Zombies. It just happens to be fun putting holes in barrel lids." Buying guns for purely sporting reasons is a recent development in history.

Second, the only semi-automatic weapons currently in use by the military are shotguns and handguns, many of which ironically fall outside of this proposed ban. Semi-automatic rifles have been used by civilians for over 100 years, despite no longer being standard issue for any military for quite some time. So to push this ban as somehow banning military weapons is disingenuous.

Then they engage in the "nuke fallacy":
"We don't allow people to own tanks or bazookas or machine guns, and very few people think that that's an unreasonable restriction," he said.

Despite the fact you can own a tank, tanks, bazookas, and machine guns have never been in common use outside of the military. In other words, those things really are military weapons. To liken semi-automatic rifles which have been designed and manufactured for civilian use to military weapons that were designed and manufactured for military use is a very big stretch.

She also said she doesn't believe such a ban would violate the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms.

Actually, depending on the way the ban is written, it could be a violation of the Second Amendment. If it's like the defunct Clinton ban, then it won't be a violation, as the ban only restricted a number of certain features. And if it's a Chicago/DC style ban, then it is mostly definitely a violation of the Second Amendment. And with the Heller ruling, the Second Amendment now protects weapons in common use, which includes many of the semi-automatic weapons they want to ban.

And she closes with:
"Did the framers of our Constitution ever envision something like a semi-automatic weapon?" she asked.

The framers of the Constitution were educated men. Just as most educated people today know that technology progresses with time, i'm certain the framers were no exception. Many of them lived to witness the progression of rifled barrels, so firearm innovation would be no surprise to them.

An additional bit of information comes via Dave Workman and the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. Apparently, only two people have been killed by rifles of any kind.

Since, Washington can't claim to be plagued with assault weapon violence, what is the true motivation behind this ban? Taking into account the name of this proposed ban (The Aaron Sullivan Public Safety and Police Protection Bill), could this be a case of memorializing someone with a bad law?

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