The trick is to avoid being an obvious asshole by publishing your ignorant opinion in a public place.
(Note: in anticipation, I admit that this is a trick which I have not yet mastered.)
In the July/August edition of Mother Jones [MoJo], the editors manage the not-too-difficult hat trick of seeming to be authoritative but (to those who know the subject) making the perquisite minimum of three basic errors, in the article Semiautomatic for the People.
(For a real understanding of the MoJo bias, pay attention to the URL of the article. It is:
I'm sure there isn't a subliminal message there, nor is there an attempt to undermine the Bush Administration.)
This isn't the Main Stream Media, which tries not-too-hard (but usually fails) in attempting to be objective. This entire website is devoted to writing opinions cloaked in the armor of good research. That is; they find a subject, research it to determine the facts, and then slant it to present the facts in a manner which will logically lead the reader to reach their pre-determined conclusions.
Way to go, MoJo! You have just put the reader in the unenviable position of needing to wade through the morass of opinion in a vain attempt to decide whether your hidden agenda is supported by the facts.
In this article ... it isn't.
But that doesn't matter, because the way you twist the truth is so skillful that, unless the reader is cognizant of facts not presented in the article, the average reader will accept your interpretation without question.
This article is about the author's quest for "... something with a bit more Firepower" at a gunshow. Specifically, a firearm "designed to circumvent federal regulations on the import of assault weapons."
Whoa! That's a heavy agenda! Don't we have laws against that?
Well, yes. We do.
But it kind of depends on the meaning of the phrase "Assault Weapon".
There are (and here I'm quoting Wikipedia, always a dubious source but adequate for this purpose) Assault Weapons and Assault Rifles.
Assault Rifles are 'selective fire' (either semi- or full-automatic modes available) firearms of 'intermediate' caliber. Assault weapons include semi-automatic firearms that look like Assault Rifles, even if they don't have the same functional characteristics. Assault Rifles, being capable of full-automatic fire, have been regulated since 1934.
Assault Weapons were only regulated by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 and were subject to a 10-year Sunset Clause:
SEC. 110105. EFFECTIVE DATE.
This subtitle and the amendments made by this subtitle--
(1) shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act; and
(2) are repealed effective as of the date that is 10 years after that date.
Essentially, this last provision was added by the Republican contingent of Congress because, if after 10 years there was no evidence that the law provided an ameliorating effect on Gun Crime, it would be subject to either permanent enactment or rejection, depending on the vote of Congress.
In 2005, the Sunset Clause was proffered to Congress for ratification or for rejection. President George W. Bush famously (or infamously, if you will) declared that if congress ratified the act, he would sign the permanent bill.
In the actual event, Congress defeated the measure and the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban was defeated ... not because Bush chose to, but because Congress chose to.
Yet in the MoJo article, we see this statement:
" ... not only did the current Bush administration allow the 1994 assault weapons ban to lapse, it has also, through the atf, permitted gun manufacturers to game the import rules, effectively reopening American borders to foreign assault weapons. While the import ban remains nominally in force, gun importers are now able to easily skirt it by assembling the guns in the US."The first clause implies that President G.W. Bush "allowed" the ban to lapse, while in fact Bush was willing to agree to whatever decision Congress would make. The rest of the paragraph referred to subsequent actions not under control of the Bush Administration.
In fact, original legislation attempted to define "Assault Weapons" not by only brand and model, but by 'characteristics' or 'features':
At a table near the entrance, I found it: a Chinese-made mak-90 semiautomatic rifle, a variation of the Russian AK-47 designed to circumvent federal regulations on the import of assault weapons. "It's the same gun," the dealer told me. "They just eliminated the pistol grip, replaced it with a threaded thumb grip, and took off the flash suppressor."
(Examples include flash hiders, folding rifle stocks, and threaded barrels for attaching silencers). The law bans 18 models and variations by name, as well as revolving cylinder shotguns. It also has a “features test” provision banning other semiautomatics having two or more military-style features. In sum, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has identified 118 models and variations that are prohibited by the law. A number of the banned guns are foreign semiautomatic rifles that have been banned from importation into the U.S. since 1989.
So the MoJo statement that ".... the current Bush administration (allowed) the 1994 assault weapons ban to lapse (and) permitted gun manufacturers to game the import rules, effectively reopening American borders to foreign assault weapons ..." is pure hyperbole. Which is another, and much more Politically Correct, word for "Bullshit".
Let us look at another MoJo statement:
But not only did the current Bush administration allow the 1994 assault weapons ban to lapse, it has also, through the atf, permitted gun manufacturers to game the import rules, effectively reopening American borders to foreign assault weapons. While the import ban remains nominally in force, gun importers are now able to easily skirt it by assembling the guns in the US.They can't have it both ways, but they're trying!
Those of us who found the AWB 'laughable', because it relied on 'cosmetic' definitions of an Assault Weapon, had little reason to disagree with a practical response to petty tyranny.
AWB advocates and opponents alike stated that the AWB allowed firearms manufacturers to make minor changes to make their affected firearms legal, and they both described the features affected by the ban as "cosmetic"... Supporters pointed to the ability to fire a large capacity magazine without the need to reload as frequently; the ability to fire from the hip with a pistol grip; and greatly reduced chances for detection when using a silencer in the perpetration of a crime (silencers were already regulated by federal law prior to the AWB)...
Critics also noted that many of the defining features included in the ban did not necessarily make a weapon more dangerous or more desirable to a common criminal (for example, bayonet lugs and barrel shrouds.) ...
Once certain combinations of features were banned, manufactures complied with the law by removing such combinations of features. ... As the production of large-capacity magazines for civilians had also been prohibited, manufacturers sold their post-ban firearms either with newly-manufactured magazines with capacities of ten rounds or less, or with pre-ban manufactured high-capacity magazines, to meet changing legal requirements.
Those who didn't themselves have a viable definition of the term "Assault Weapon", but didn't like the image of "Ugly Guns", considered the actions of the "firearms industry" (removing objectionable characteristics from nominally unobjectionable firearms models) considered these changes to be an effort to "skirt" the law.
This only pointed out the shallow definitions used to describe "Assault Weapons", but the folks who objected to the changes in firearms configurations were bound to protest. They had painted themselves into a corner, and there was no graceful way for them to bow out of the controversy.
Another loophole was created for the sks semiautomatic carbine, developed in 1945 for use by the Soviet army until it was replaced by the more rugged AK-47. The Bush administration reclassified the sks as a "curio," adding it to the atf's [sic] list of such weapons, most over 50 years old and considered collectors' items, that are automatically authorized for import.This is more bullshit. The AWB specifically excepted:
... and an "antique firearm" is defined as any weapon that is more than 50 years old.
`(3) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to--
`(A) any of the firearms, or replicas or duplicates of the firearms, specified in Appendix A to this section, as such firearms were manufactured on October 1, 1993;
`(B) any firearm that--
`(i) is manually operated by bolt, pump, lever, or slide action;
`(ii) has been rendered permanently inoperable; or
`(iii) is an antique firearm;
One assumes that the Legislature is composed of lawyers, and that they are competent in their profession. If they wanted to exempt a firearm which is more than 50 years old, they had ample opportunity to specify it during the extended period when the original bill was being considered. Now that it had been enacted, MoJo finds fault in the law and blames gun-owners for not predicting that MoJo would object to their lawful possession of a lawful gun?
I call this the "LIMBO" interpretation of Federal Law: "How Low Can You Go?" Apparently, MoJo can go as low as it takes to denigrate the actions of lawful firearms owners.
Getting back to the original article ...
At the Fishersville gun show, crowd members seemed particularly drawn to the assault weapons on display ... At one table, a little boy admired a .50-caliber sniper rifle, capable of downing a jumbo jet, while at another a man held a cheap Romanian AK knockoff to his shoulder. His T-shirt read "'Freedom At Any Cost.'—Randy Weaver, Ruby Ridge, Idaho." The only thing that prevented me from becoming the proud owner of a mak-90 was my Washington, DC, driver's license: The district has the nation's strictest gun rules. (At press time the law was under review by the Supreme Court.) But if I really wanted the mak-90, one dealer pointed out, all I had to do was move to Virginia.The author is disturbed that "a little boy" admires a ".50-caliber sniper rifle, capable of downing a jumbo jet". Is he honestly concerned that a child will use an 80-pound rifle, costing from $3,000 to $13,000, to shoot down an airplane?
Then he seems to object that Federal Firearm Laws prevent his indulgence in "The Gun Show Loophole".
If there really WAS a loophole, would he have been able to write this article?