Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Anti-weapon campaign runs on fiction
By JOE WALDRON AND DAVE WORKMAN
Touring the country in an effort to renew the 10-year-old ban on so-called assault weapons, the numerically challenged Million Mom March has been conducting a campaign built largely on fiction.
As far back as 1988, gun prohibitionists figured they could fool the public into supporting a ban that, as history has shown, has been essentially symbolic. Sixteen years ago, Josh Sugarman with the Violence Policy Center put the campaign in its proper perspective, admitting, "The weapons' menacing looks coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semiautomatic assault weapons -- anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun -- can only increase that chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons."
Contrary to myth, guns affected by this ban are not machine guns. They fire one shot with each press of the trigger, the same as many shotguns used by duck hunters, or rifles used by big-game hunters.
Another myth pandered by the MMM is that these rifles use "powerful" ammunition. In fact, they are chambered for cartridges that are near the low end of the energy level spectrum, on par with a deer hunter's .30-30 Winchester. That bullets from these guns will penetrate a police officer's protective vest is not a secret, because virtually every centerfire hunting rifle bullet sold today will go through such a vest. Those vests are designed to stop handgun bullets.
Prohibitionists claim that these firearms have no legitimate purpose. Thousands of competitive shooters, who participate in registered matches with these rifles all over the country almost every weekend of the year, would disagree. Most of these guns are suitable for home defense, many are legitimate collector's items and others are used for hunting.
These guns are not the "weapon of choice" among criminals. Studies at both the state and federal levels, both before and after the ban took effect, have shown that so-called assault weapons are used in less than 2 percent of violent crimes.
Anti-gunners note that crime gun traces on the banned firearms have plunged by 66 percent in the past 10 years. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Congressional Research Service say that trace data is not a reliable indicator of guns used in crimes. Such traces are conducted for a variety of reasons, only one of which is to establish the trail of guns actually used in crimes. A significant number of traces are used to track recovered stolen guns.
Ban proponents claim that after the ban expires Sept. 13, U.S. streets will be "flooded" with these guns. The "ban" only placed a freeze on production. Those rifles are still out there, legally for sale -- albeit at premium prices because of all the media hype -- and most of them are in the gun safes and cabinets of law-abiding gun owners. Banning their production did not eliminate them, and had nothing to do with a drop in homicide rates, as, apparently, neither do any other gun control laws.
A damning admission about that came last October from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which released a review of 51 previous "studies" of gun control laws. The conclusion? None of these laws reduced crime, something gun rights activists had been telling the CDC, and the public, for years.
The CDC, in its report, admitted that " ... the Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence." That includes gun and ammunition bans, waiting periods, school "zero tolerance" laws, child access/safe storage statutes and licensing or registration laws.
That disclosure was reinforced by the Violence Policy Center's Tom Diaz, who told National Public Radio on March 11, "If the existing assault weapons ban expires, I personally do not believe it will make one whit of difference one way or another in terms of our objective, which is reducing death and injury and getting a particularly lethal class of firearms off the streets."
Anti-gunners want to ban guns, period, no matter how they mask it, or how they accomplish it. The Vancouver Columbian recently took them to task for "passing along misleading information" in their effort to eliminate private gun ownership. Apparently, they didn't get the message.
Joe Waldron is executive director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Dave Workman is senior editor at Gun Week, a publication owned by the Second Amendment Foundation.
The anti-gunners have never met a lie they didnt like.
Wow... this actually got printed?
It has so many.... facts....