Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Assault Weapons Putting Safety in Crosshairs?

KDKA: Assault Weapons Putting Safety in Crosshairs?

Pittsburgh (KDKA) It's been nine months since President Bush lifted the national ban on the sale of assault weapons.

In that time, police say they've seen more and more of these deadly accurate weapons turning up in the wrong hands -- from gang members to other violent criminals.
"Deadly Accurate"?

IIRC, the traditional objection to "assault weapons" (note: undefined terminology) has been magazine capacity and semi-automatic firing mode. Now they're wrong because they're "Deadly Accurate"?

Hey Pittsburgh ... if you have a point, it would be good if you could stick with it.

But let us back up, and set the record straight:

First, President Bush did NOT "lift the ban on assault weapons".
(I have serious problems with this terminology, but let's ignore it for the same of argument. However, for more information about "types of guns", I recommend the excellent set of definitions available at the Guns & Crime website, which has long been resident on the sidebar.)

The Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) was a law which was enacted by Congress ONLY if it could be proved, after a ten year trial period, that it provided some kind of statistically significant reduction in crime. If this reduction could not be proven, the ban (according to the original bill) would automatically SUNSET (become null and void) unless the Senate re-enacted it.

This bill was established in 1995. In the ensuing ten-year period, no reduction in crime was attributable to the law.

When the law came up for re-enactment, President Bush stated that, if Congress chose to permanently re-enact the law, he would allow it to pass without imposing a presidential veto.

Guess what?

The phrase
"President Bush lifted the national ban on the sale of assault weapons" is pure unadulterated bull-shit. The president had nothing to do with it. This source started the article with this sentence for sensational and/or political reasons ... the sentence is neither newsworthy, nor accurate.

Bad on them. We COULD ignore the rest of the article, based on the demonstrated unwillingness to present the information as a straight news-article, rather than an Opinion Piece ... which is it (though not readily identified as such.)

Bu that would be too easy, and no fun at all!

Let us get on with fisking the rest of the article:

Police say in so-called "straw purchases," drug addicts with clean records are legally buying these types of guns, then selling them to criminals for drugs and money.
Yes, that's a problem. If a person enters a gun shop and attempts to purchase a firearm, the FFL Owner will complete the purchase AFTER checking with the BATFE to insure that the purchase is legal.

So what do we do about "drug addicts with a clean record"?

It sounds very much like "What do we do with a problem like Maria?"
Only, of course, much the opposite.

Who is the Bad Guy Here?

How about we identify drug addicts ... people who are likely to take desparate measures for quick cash flow ... more promptly.

I'm sure the drug addicts will comply, if the Pittsburgh Police will cooperate in busting them more promptly.

Is this an extreme example? Why would a reputable MSM source report to that
"drug addicts with a clean record" are acting as 'straw purchasers"?

Would it be in expectation that the situation, once identified, would automatically be corrected?

Or would it be ... to sell newspapers?

The AK-47 and the Soviet SKS Carbine have become weapons of choice for street criminals -- making the police under-armed and out-gunned.
"We don't carry those guns unless we have a SERT team or SWAT team hitting a house. They're more powerful than we are." -- Sgt. Mike Tracy, Pittsburgh Police
With the lifting of the assault ban, magazines and banana clips that can carry as many as 30 rounds of ammunition are now legal; as is an SKS rifle with a bayonet, pistol grip and a detachable magazine.

Sergeant Mike Tracy says that's just wrong.
"How can these be readily available at a sporting goods store? It's not a shotgun, it's an assault type rifle. Semi-automatic sure, but it can do major damage to everybody involved." -- Sgt. Mike Tracy, Pittsburgh Police
Yup, "That's Just Wrong" all right. Ownership of a shotgun is OBVIOUSLY less egregious than ownership of a semi-automatic rifle with a flash suppressor, and thumb-hole stock, or a bayonet grip.

Or is it?

Ten years of data gathering doesn't seem to have made the case for the Gun Grabbers.

The problem isn't the gun, the problem is the gunner. If these guys are so bad, what are they doing on the street? Why does Pittsburgh think it's the gun that's bad? Could it be a societal problem?

No, couldn't be. Well, it could be, but it's too hard to deal with societal problems. It's much easier to ban guns. Let's ban guns again. It won't help solve the problem, but it sure LOOKS like Pittsburgh is trying to solve the problem.

But the debate goes round and round.

While gun advocates say the answer is getting the criminals off the streets, police say it's harder to arrest people when they're armed with these types of weapons.
Yes, the debate Does go "round and round", doesn't it?

The "gun control advocates" want to get the criminal off the streets. Seems reasonable to me.
The "Gun Nuts" want to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
(Notice the difference in terminology? People who want to contravene one of our constitutional rights are "advocates", while people who insist on their constitutional rights are "Nuts".)

The police say it's "harder to arrest people when they're armed ...".

Seems to me that the answer is for the Pittsburgh police to get over the heebie-jeebies, and do their job. Get the criminals off the streets, regardless of what guns they may happen to possess.

The guns aren't illegal ... and shouldn't be.

The gunners are illegal, when they're using guns illegally. If they're not ... they are part of the solution, they're not part of the problem.

I have a great respect for cops, and I have no desire to try to arrest someone who is armed. But what are the citizens of Pittsburgh paying their police force for, if not to keep the peace and to protect the citizenry?

What ever happened to "To Protect and To Serve"?

Has it become too difficult?

Gee, it sounds to me as if Pittsburgh doesn't need more effective gun-control laws; they need more effective cops.

Am I seeing a trend here?

(Hat Tip: Geek With a .45)

  • Correct a few of the many typographical errors, awkward sentence constructions, poor word choices.
  • Add a reference to terminology


Anonymous said...

Technically it's not an assault rifle unless its capable of fully automatic fire...but then when has accuracy been a hallmark of the GFW's?

Tyler said...

Great post Jerry.

staghounds said...

The police don't keep criminals off the street, legislators do.

If the Pennsylvania prison system had room for the criminals, they would be locked up. But since the legislators know that most crime happens to poor dark people, who have little power in Harrisburg (or Albany, or Sacramento, etc.) * they have settled on a catch and release system. The police do the catching, the Judges and prison system do the releasing.

To be fair, since the police are stuck with this system, they want the repeated catching to be as safe as possible.

* And the legislators for the poor and dark tend to focus on getting into the trough, plus they are beholden to criminals who are effective lobbyists rather than victims who are not.

** A thought occurs- notice how many fouled up states have capitals distant from their great population centres?

California- not L. A. or S. F, Sacramento.

N. J., who lives in Trenton?

New York City? No, Albany.

Illinois picks not Chicago, but Springfield.

Pennsylvania has Harrisburg rather than Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.

Syd said...

Good article, Jerry. That story bothered me so badly I sent a protest to the station. Do they read and pay attention? Probably not, but I fussed at them anyway.

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