Unless you’ve been spending too much time in your off-the-grid underground bunker lately, you’ve probably heard of the recent push for a ban on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines (the thingies that hold bullets, not Cosmo). You probably also know that this controversy has arisen out of the recent mass shooting events which have devastated many communities across the nation. Our hearts truly go out to the survivors of the victims in those attacks, and we are happy that the Powers That Be are taking this issue seriously. We, too, want to see a change in this country. Unfortunately, there are several reasons that the proposed bans simply will not work in the long term.
1. “Assault weapons” is a made-up term
Don’t believe it? Walk into a gun store and ask to purchase an assault weapon. Warning: You will be laughed at. The truth is, you can “assault” someone with just about any blunt object, a car, something sharp, a rope, or even an old-fashioned flintlock. The term “assault weapon” was coined to describe a certain type of scary-looking semi-automatic rifle that holds more than ten rounds of ammunition. What you probably don’t know is that a lower-capacity rifle that holds five rounds can easily be modified so that it can use 30-round magazines. So even if Congress is successful in banning rifles that hold more than 10 rounds, many of the remaining legal firearms can be easily modified to essentially become the exact same thing they just banned. The term is basically meaningless. Words are extremely powerful because they have the potential to evoke an emotional response, and both government officials and the mass media know this. In the instance of a single mother and her children in a rural (far from police) area being attacked in the middle of the night, the words “assault rifle” could easily be replaced with “defense rifle”, and the same object takes on entirely new meaning. Only one word was changed.
2. It won’t accomplish the goal of reducing violence
Our government officials are not talking about this ban because it occurred to one of them while he was in the shower one day. It’s a direct response to the recent mass shooting events, and we all know that. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or something else, no one is happy about these events and we all want them to stop. However, those who concentrate on “assault weapons” should do some fact checking. Violent crime in the United States has a myriad of causative factors, and a little research will reveal the fact that this particular type of firearm is actually used in less than 2 percent of violent crimes. In fact, more people are killed in Chicago in one month than were killed in the Sandy Hook school tragedy. The problem is not simply access to a certain type of rifle, but many other factors that encourage violence. There is legitimate concern that focusing on one issue will lead to an ignorance of all other causative factors.
3. The magazine ban is useless
Sorry, but someone had to say it. We aren’t trying to give tips to potential murderers or anything, but common sense tells us that if magazines with a capacity higher than 10 rounds are banned, a mass murderer will just strap several 10-round handguns (and maybe a few extra magazines) to his body and walk into a school or theater. Remember the people who commit these crimes generally don’t do it on a whim, and actually put quite a bit of planning into the event. When is the last time you had to go through a metal detector just to enter a shopping mall? Never. Anyone, especially in the winter when heavy coats are common, can walk into a crowded public place with enough ammunition to do major damage, even if high-capacity magazines are unavailable to them. It seriously takes about two seconds to pull out your next weapon after one is spent. Not to mention it’s actually easier to get into one of these places with a few handguns rather than a rifle of any sort.
4. There are other weapons that are much more “effective”
Maybe these guys grab these “assault weapons” because they’re handy or look cool, but let us assure you that even if those particular guns were not available there are many more that are even more effective. Anyone remember the Oklahoma City bombing? Many more people were killed in an instant than were killed in any of the recent mass shootings. Anyone who has ever heard of Google can find the necessary instructions to manufacturing a bomb. Aside from bombs, it might surprise you to know that a shotgun can actually do more damage more quickly than one of these so-called assault rifles. Number 4 buckshot holds 27 bullets in a single round, meaning one pull of the trigger can disperse 27 bullets at a crowd of people. Since there are shotguns that hold five rounds, it’s pretty easy to do the math here. 27 times 5 equals 135 bullets that will be sprayed toward innocent people in just a few seconds. And these weapons are not included in the “assault weapons” ban. In fact, it’s interesting to note that the Aurora theater shooter threw down his semi-automatic rifle, which was equipped with a 100-round drum magazine, and used a shotgun instead. The reason? Those 100-round drum magazines are notoriously crappy in quality, and his jammed. So the scary “assault weapon” was tossed aside in favor of a plain ol’ shotgun. The Columbine shooters also used a combination of shotguns and handguns, not “assault weapons”. Keep that in mind.
5. Let’s make criminals out of law-abiding citizens!
Disdain for guns and gun-owners seems to be the popular, politically correct “thing” nowadays. But remember that only a TINY minority of gun owners ever use their guns in a crime. Even if you think, “No one needs that type of weapon”, chances are there are people in your neighborhood who own them yet have never harmed anyone. Sure, they might never “need” them in a military sense. However, we all know gun collectors are very serious about their hobby, and they aren’t going to turn over an item which has been in their home for decades and never caused a problem, just because Congress says so. The result of this ban will be millions of people who are suddenly criminals in the eyes of the law, even though they’ve never actually harmed anyone. What will be the penalty for owning these weapons? How much capacity do we actually have in our prisons? Is it right to punish millions for the crimes of a handful – literally a handful – of people?
6. Gun collectors don’t just turn in their guns
For those who don’t collect firearms, the confusion is understandable. However, people who love their guns don’t just turn them in because the government suddenly changes its mind about their legality. You’re either going to have to kick in doors all over the country, which creates more violence, or rely on those worthless buy-back programs. Newsflash: the gun buy-back programs usually offer a fraction of what a gun is actually worth, and you can’t really blame a responsible gun owner for not wanting to turn over a valuable collection for a ridiculously small compensation. In many cases we are talking about decades of investments. Some gun collectors have actually been seen setting up camp right down the road from these buy-back programs, offering a higher price. Also, there will be millions of these guns to hunt down and confiscate. And that brings us to our next point.
7. All this ban talk has increased gun sales
Something nutty in human nature directs us to buy more of something whenever it appears that supplies may run out. This has certainly been true for the guns we’re discussing here. Gun stores are reporting record sales, and in response to that manufacturers are increasing their operations. Before the potential ban even goes into effect, thousands or even millions more of these weapons will be bought and hidden away. That’s even more “assault rifles” that will be floating around once the ban takes place, bringing us to yet another point.
8. The ban will encourage black market sales
Right now sales of specific types of firearms are surging because good business sense tells you that if a shortage is expected, you should stock up now and resale the item later at a ridiculously inflated price. Remember during Hurricane Sandy when people were standing by the road selling gas for 40 dollars per gallon? It’s the same concept. As you read this article, stockpiles of weapons are being hoarded for the purpose of a huge profit later. The difference is that after it’s illegal to buy these weapons, background checks will no longer be done. Right now, you have to pass a pretty serious background check in order to purchase one of these weapons. In fact, the Sandy Hook shooter tried and failed to purchase a gun before he resorted to stealing from his mother. The background checks should have been thorough enough to prevent the Aurora theater shooter from making the purchase, but they weren’t. It makes more sense to increase the requirements to pass one of these background checks. What doesn’t make sense is encouraging a black market where background checks will be entirely a thing of the past. When is the last time a drug dealer asked you for a prescription?
9. Prohibition encourages crime
Check out your history books, kids. When alcohol was prohibited, a huge black market grew complete with rival gangs and the violence you’d expect to accompany such a situation. The same thing has happened with drugs. In fact, prohibition has gone so far as to create a massive black market for marijuana, a drug which is actually relatively safe and harmless. But because it’s prohibited, it’s valuable to the types of people who deal in illegal stuff. An “assault weapons” ban virtually ensures that millions more of these guns will be smuggled into the country and sold on the black market. This means a big profit for organized crime and the violence that always accompanies such a situation. If you want a real-life example of this type of situation, look at gun laws and violence in Mexico. Regular citizens are essentially banned from owning firearms, but drug cartels are armed with illegal weapons to the point that they are, in many cases, more powerful than the police. Good job, Congress! More deaths and violence will likely be caused in the American gun wars than will ever be prevented.
10. Criminals don’t care about laws
If none of the above points made sense to you, consider this one: Criminals don’t care about laws. If they did, we’d have no criminals. This should be obvious. Theaters, schools, and shopping malls all across the country have rules against bringing guns on the premises, and yet someone did that anyway in each of these mass shooting situations. What makes you think they’ll obey the new gun ban? They won’t, and we’ll just end up with a bigger organized crime problem, a complete absence of background checks, and possibly a disarmed population of innocent, law-abiding citizens.