Assault weapons: Myth Produced Mayhem

The Brady Campaign has produced 63 pages of anti-gun hysteria with the “Assault Weapons” ban propaganda piece “Mass Produced Mayhem.” With violence an ongoing problem in America after a 10 year assault weapons ban that had no effect on the murder rate/Crime rate, it is beyond unconscionable to spend so much effort fighting a specific tool rather than the root causes of our societal problems. Americans continue to die while anti-gun groups doggedly pursue the failed policy of taking away a cherished American constitutional right and tradition for NO REASON other than their own clinical fears.

Looking through their hyperbole and cherry picked statistics:

It is no accident that when a madman, Gian Luigi Ferri, decided to assault the law offices at 101 California Street in San Francisco, he armed himself with two TEC-9 assault weapons with 50-round magazines, which enabled him to kill eight people and wound six others.

When Cho killed 32 at Virginia Tech he had no 50 round magazines or assault weapons; he had standard capacity pistols, one in .22 caliber. When a Japanese man killed 7 people and injured many more in Tokyo on 6/8/08 he had no gun at all (in fact all of the highest casualty mass murders in the US were done WITHOUT guns).

What “enabled” Ferri to kill so many in S.F. was not a particular type of gun – he could have used any gun, or a different tool entirely – but the will to commit murder. In fact, the only common denominator of all mass murders is unarmed victims, and unarmed victims are the ultimate effect of anti-gun policies.

I have handled powerful rifles and high capacity magazines, as have millions of Americans, and they did not “enable me” to kill people. Because I’m not a murderous maniac. But that’s the difference between the 300 million Americans who don’t commit mass murder and the handful who do: will, not weapons.

For ten years, from 1994-2004, federal law banned these weapons of war. Although this now-expired law was limited in scope, and was circumvented by many gun manufacturers, it reduced the use of assault weapons in crime.

Note the highlighted section. While this point is HIGHLY debatable, even the Brady Campaign makes NO CLAIM ANYWHERE in this 67 pages that the AWB reduced the murder rate or the number of people killed. Because it didn’t.

The AWB did make “assault weapons” more expensive, but it’s not like any drug dealer said, “Oh hey … an AK47 is expensive now so I’ll just not take any gun on my drug deal …” They simply took a firearm of a different type. And if they substituted a more powerful “normal” hunting rifle for a medium powered “Assault Weapon” like they AK47 … they had more chance of penetrating a police vest than if they’d stayed with the “assault weapon.”

In the four years since the federal ban expired, hundreds of people have been killed in this country with military-style assault weapons. This report lists incidents in which at least 163 people have been killed and 185 wounded in with assault weapons,including at least 38 police officers killed or wounded by them.

Again, the above is true, but the lack of context skews the meaning. In 4 years several hundred people were killed by assault weapons (about the same number as in the preceding 4 years DURING the AWB) but 120,000 people were killed by firearms of all types (like all Brady campaign statistics, the preceding includes suicides) and 150,000 people were killed by guns or murdered by other means.

Although this Brady reports plays fast and fancy with the numbers and facts — an obvious sign they found no rock solid facts to write on — sometimes even the attempt to use facts betrays them and some meaningful numbers get through:

In the five-year period (1990-1994) before enactment of the ban, assault weapons named in the Act constituted 4.82% of the crime gun traces ATF conducted nationwide. In the post-ban period after 1995,107 these assault weapons made up only 1.61% of the guns ATF has traced to crime

So … even using the highly suspect figures of the Brady Campaign (there were many factors that affected crimes of all types in this period) in the most violent drug-gang years in US history, these “ultra powerful” weapons that are such a threat were involved in 4.82% of crime gun traces (which are NOT 1:1 related to crimes) vs. 1.61% after. So before the AWB almost no crimes were committed with these weapons, and as I have also shown very few murders, and during the ban when gang cirme overall greatly dropped even less were. Interesting. But meaningful?

But how relevant is ATF trace information?

If the ban had not been enacted, and had the banned assault weapons continued to make up the same percentage of crime gun traces as before the Act’s passage, it was estimated that approximately 60,000 more of the banned assault weapons would have been traced to crime in the 10 years the law was in effect.

That would be 6,000 more traces a year (NOT crimes, traces). Except AWB’s are only used in a hundred or so murders a year and a few hundred more crimes, nowhere near 6,000. So where does the huge disconnect come from?

A “trace” is anytime a police agency traces a weapon through the ATF for whatever reason. Quite often there isn’t actually a crime involved (which is why there are so many more traces than crimes) but it merely identifies a point at which some agency encountered a weapon and decided to check on the history of that weapon. And what kinds of weapons are Police most likely to decide to trace back, whether there is a specific reason or not, particularly in an “anti-gun” district? A bolt action hunting rifle? A 6 shot revolver? Or a rifle with black plastic and a larger magazine hanging out the bottom?

The Brady campaign knows very well that assault weapons are no special threat to the American people, not even by terrorists, and eliminating them will accomplish nothing more then eliminating a class of legally owned firearm. But they also know that many of the activities enjoyed by Sports shooters, vs. Hunters, require rifles of this type. And by eliminating this class of weapon they have ended gun ownership for another group of people.

Anti-gun groups attack gun owners from every possible angle, including:

* Making it harder/more expensive to hunt and increasing the rate at which the number of hunters decreases.
* Making it harder and more expensive to own handguns.
* Outlaw handguns that are too big
* Outlaw handguns that are too small
* Making sporting rifles illegal with an AWB
* Making self defense illegal with “safe storage” laws and no legal concealed carry.
* Etc.

They know they are fighting a war of attrition. With every victory against a class of weapons they win a victory against the class of people who choose to own weapons of ANY type. And every law they pass that reduces the people who choose to legally own guns, though it has no effect on violence/crime overall (but these are people who hate civilian gun ownership more than they love the constitution that protects it or their fellow citizens that participate in it)

But the biggest fact the anti-gun groups know is that they have to keep the percentage of hunters (some are heavily politically involved, many aren’t) who only hunt, and care for no more rifles than what they need to bring home their deer or elk every year, from joining forces with sport shooters. That’s why the anti-gun scam group American Hunters and Shooters Association was created and why Democrats always mention the 2nd amendment only in sentences that include a reference to hunting.

But I would say to Hunters what Benjamin Franklin said to the Continental Congress while debating the Declaration of Independence, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

Because make no mistake, the anti-gun groups want your guns too. And you either stand with your sport shooting brothers now or you will stand alone when the anti-gun groups have dealt with the rest of us. Together we have the numbers to accomplish anything, separated we will surely fail.

And for our country and our future the stakes are too high to allow that to happen.

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