In the News

What Are They Thinking?

I just heard on the news that the Assault weapons ban expires today. Why? Really, WHO needs assault weapons? Are you going deer hunting with an assault weapon? Need a “street sweeper” to make sure you get the doves while you’re out hunting? Really?

I am even more disappointed in the fact that the Republicans refused to allow a vote to extend the ban on the weapons. I cringed when I saw Tom DeLay (of Texas) saying, “It has proven to be useless, it’s a feel-good piece of legislation.”

Know what, Tom? Somedays, feel-good legislation is a good thing. I like to feel good knowing that someone can’t just walk in to a store and buy an assault weapon. Yes, I realize they can probably buy it on the street, but I like to think we’re doing whatever we can to cut down on the number out there.

I realize their were loopholes in the ban that caused problems. It’s your job as politicians to close those loopholes. Fix the ban before you make it a law. Write a better bill.

I added my vote to the poll on CNN, and the results seem to indicate that the Republicans are out of touch with the people. When asked, “Is it right to let the assault weapons ban expire?” the results were: Yes 28% (26667 votes), No 72% (69813 votes). It’s early, and I realize the results may change, but it seems like the common man does not approve of this.

I’m very disappointed in our government this morning.

By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

18 replies on “What Are They Thinking?”

It sure made the cops feel good. Police agencies around the country are asking for the legislation to remain in place. You’d think they might know a thing or two about its effects on gun violence.

I’m wondering if I should be more afraid of my daily strolls through the forest with my dog. We see deer all the time. But if today’s modern super-deer needs to be taken out with an AK or an Uzi perhaps I should be more wary of their ultra-aggressive ways?

Heard today on the news that tomorrow the NRA will give “Shrub” their endorsement since the Republicans were so great to let the assault weapon ban expire. Says something doesn’t it? Speak up this fall!

Ah…I am always both impressed and depressed at the depths of public ignorance in regard to firearms in general. Let’s set a few things straight.

The label “assault weapon” is one that was created almost entirely because of the fear and derision that it inspires. EVERY weapon is an assault weapon if used correctly. Every hunting rifle, pistol, knife, BB gun, lead pipe, etc. The snipers that terrorized the Washington DC/Baltimore area (“Beltway Sniper”) fired single rounds in the attacks. These miraculously lethal shootings required no more firepower than is available at the local Academy sporting goods store (yes, in the “hunting” section). People fixated on the fact that a Bushmaster XM-15 rifle was used. This is, technically, not an “assault rifle”…but it sure looks like one (more on this later). The funny part is that it wasn’t the most effective tool for the job. They would have been more lethal had they simply used the bolt-action hunting rifle available at Academy. But that wouldn’t have been nearly as scary.

Do you even know what an assault rifle is? I mean is it just “big scary looking gun that is more menacing looking than I personally think a deer hunter deserves”? As defined by the Federal 1994 Crime Bill (the Assault Weapons Ban) an assault rifle is defined as a semi-automatic rifle than can accept a detachable magazine and has two or more of the following:

– A folding or telescoping stock (allows the user to slide the stock to a shorter or longer position)
– A pistol grip (a pistol-like grip just behind the trigger)
– A bayonet mount (allows a bayonet to be mounted under the barrel…not the bayonet itself, just the ability to mount one)
– A flash suppressor, or threads to attach one (flash suppressors eliminate the tell-tale flash that leaves the barrel when the weapon is fired)
– A grenade launcher (umm…an under-barrel device for launching grenades)

So, since a great many semi-automatic rifles comes with a pistol grip for stability, that leaves the folding stock, bayonet lug, flash suppressor, and grenade launcher. If I put any of those things on my rifle it becomes an “assault rifle”. OK, I’ll give you that the grenade launcher is a bad idea. That is why there are countless other laws and restrictions that cover civilians owning high-explosive incendiary devices. You can’t get a grenade launcher. No way. No how. So, it isn’t even an option. That leaves the stock, bayonet lug, and flash suppressor. Today — right this instant (the ban isn’t lifted until midnight) — both you and I (as long as you pass a criminal history check) can walk into any of a myriad of gun stores in the nation and buy a semi-automatic, magazine-fed, pistol-gripped rifle. This rifle is in NO WAY banned. It is perfectly and fully legal and always has been. However, if you elect to add a folding stock, you have violated federal law and are up for a 10 year jail sentence. Give me a break. The law bans stocks, bayonet lugs, and flash suppressors. Trust me, “assault rifles” have always been alive and well. The fact that you think that my renewed ability to legally adjust the length of my stock somehow places you in immediate danger illustrates yet another example of ignorance being utter bliss. If you are suddenly afraid of people lurking outside your back yard waiting to kill you just because now they have a flash suppressor (which doesn’t work very well if you are a single shooter), you really need a reality check. These machines existed yesterday and the year before and the year before that. Your sudden awareness of weapons that have always existed isn’t really a surprise to me.

So, that being said, lets do a little math. Assault weapons are not the weapons of choice among drug dealers, gang members or criminals in general. Assault weapons are used in about one-fifth of one percent (.20%) of all violent crimes and about one percent in gun crimes. It is estimated that from one to seven percent of all homicides are committed with assault weapons (rifles of any type are involved in three to four percent of all homicides). However a higher percentage are used in police homicides, roughly ten percent. (There has been no consistent trend in this rate from 1978 through 1996.) Between 1992 and 1996 less than 4% of mass murders, committed with guns, involved assault weapons. (Our deadliest mass murders have either involved arson or bombs.)
There are close to 4 million assault weapons in the U.S., which amounts to roughly 1.7% of the total gun stock.
How many times have you seen or been in a car wreck? How many times have you witnessed or been someone driving drunk? The number of vehicle related fatalities in the United States makes gun fatalities look like a drop in the proverbial bucket. You are driving a semi-controlled bullet that is far more dangerous to the public in general than any commercially available gun has ever been. Yet, the punishment for driving drunk is a night in jail, some rehab classes, a little money down the drain, and possible suspension of your driver’s license. That 4000 lb piece of metal has caused monumentally more fatalities that “assault weapons” ever did, but you nonchalantly hop into your car every day and place your life at the hands of hundreds of complete strangers and demand that they do the same in return. Are they having a bad day? Did they just get fired? Broke up with their significant other? Hate YOU for cutting them off or driving too slow? Have you ever driven recklessly because you were mad at someone on the freeway? Has someone done it to you? And there you were risking the lives of dozens of people (or having someone risk dozens of lives) over driving etiquette. And you worry about me now being able to put a collapsible stock or bayonet lug (because God knows bayonetings are on the upswing) onto a rifle that has been perfectly legal to own for the last 10 years? Priorities, people…priorities. You are now in more *perceived* danger because you know VERY LITTLE about something. While ignorance is bad, a little knowledge is often worse. NOW, someone is going to shoot you while you are walking your dog? They could have done it yesterday just as easily…but NOW they are DEFINTELY going to do it! Run for the hills!!! Fear is a poor substitute for reason.
Let me guess, you actually think that the signs that hang in bars around the state that prevent me from legally carrying a concealed handgun into the bar protects you, don’t you? So, a criminal — someone who already owns and carries a gun illegally — is going to read the sign and say “Well, darn…I guess I’ll just have to leave my illegal gun in the car. Shucks.” Do I think guns and alcohol should be mixed? Of course not. That is why Texas (and every other will-carry state) has laws concerning the consumption of alcohol and the carrying of firearms. However, do I think a sign preventing the law-abiding, legally licensed carriers from possessing a firearm protects me from the criminals that could give a flip about the sign? You have got to be kidding.
The “assault weapons” ban was PURELY symbolic. It had no effect on rifle production or sales. If you think it did, you have been living in a dream world. It wasn’t even a “feel good” law because it didn’t actually solve any problem. Criminals still bought and used the rifles without the luxury of a bayonet and legal gun owners still shook their heads in disgust every time someone claimed that “they don’t need that for hunting”. I’ll keep this brief because frankly most people tune out what they don’t want to hear. The 2nd Amendment ISN’T ABOUT HUNTING. Read it. There is a reason every totalitarian dictator in the last 100 years had considered it their primary policy once power is assumed to remove all firearms from the hands of the citizenry. Also, it is a little more difficult to defend my family and property with a bolt action rifle. If you think that a “ban” is going to keep criminals from illegally acquiring, modifying, and using “assault weapons” (which they seldom do because of the price and other non-ban factors)…well, you have a lot of trust in criminals following the rules. Frankly, I hope you never hear the words “home invasion” on your street. I also hope that you never experience the type of looting and scavenging that comes about when public services are cut off for more that a few days. “People wouldn’t do that” is a fallacy that is disproved over and over again. My uncle saw a gas truck get mobbed in West Palm Beach last week after the hurricane hit. The man drove for his life as people started attacking each other to get at the truck without even thinking about how they would get the gas out of the truck. And that is only over gas, for crying out loud. A team of police officers had to break up a brawl involving dozens of people over entry to the only restaurant in the area that was serving hamburgers. And you think for one second that you are safe in the event of a real emergency? Better you than me.
People are convinced there is a problem because of emotion, perception, and sensitivity. Those things are good indicators of how to live your life. They, however, should never take the place of reason and knowledge. PEOPLE ARE DANGEROUS. Whether it be with firearms, cars, butter knives, credit cards…whatever. Once you get your eyeballs away from the menacing machine that you perceive as the problem you will see a messed up, scared, hateful, angry criminal. That is what should be dealt with. Oh yeah, and good luck on the highway where there are no easily-installable devices to keep the 16 year-olds from starting their cars when drunk after having having recently passed the grueling 15 minute state driving proficiency exam. Yeah, I’m real worried about someone attacking me “Rambo style”.

By the way Heather – AK 47’s and Uzi’s are still illegal. I’m saddened to see everyone’s emotional but uneducated response. I am not saying you need to agree with gun ownership or even whether the ban should be lifted or not but please, read some articles (from more than just 1 or 2 major news sources), read sites that give you both sides of the issue. Educate yourself and come up with more factual reasons to support your opinion. The gun issue provokes strong reactions based on a fear of guns, not on facts.

Actually, neither AK-47s nor Uzis are illegal. It IS illegal to own them in the fully-automatic form, but they are not banned by the assault weapons ban. They are subject to the same laws as all other rifles as stated in my comment above.

Well, the police themselves were behind the ban being kept in place and are fearful of the results of lifting the ban. Many sources site the fact that the ban *did* have a positive effect.

I have no fear of guns. I have no problem with people owning guns. I want people to be responsible with their guns. I also want our government to be responsible. We have some of the worst crime rates in the world, more gun violence than many other countries – and yes, I feel the government’s role is to step in and help to solve that problem. Throwing their hands up in the air and saying, “oh well! Criminals will still get guns!” is not the way to handle it.

I’m saddened to see everyone’s emotional but uneducated response. I am not saying you need to agree with gun ownership or even whether the ban should be lifted or not but please, read some articles (from more than just 1 or 2 major news sources), read sites that give you both sides of the issue. Educate yourself and come up with more factual reasons to support your opinion.

So, because she doesn’t agree, that means she is uneducated about the situation? Maybe she has read tons on the situation, and feels that way? I wrote an entire research paper on it in college, so I don’t think I’m very uneducated on it, just in a blog post, I didn’t feel like going on and on about it. She wrote a comment, and didn’t write one as long as Kenny’s – but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know facts to back up her opinion.

Just because someone doesn’t share all of their feelings and all of the reasons for supporting those feelings in a comment doesn’t mean they are uneducated on the situation. That’s really assuming a lot…

By the way – the fact I didn’t post earlier is that while the ban may no longer be in effect, several states have other laws in effect that were stronger than the ban. Hopefully other states will follow suit.

Christine – my comment was in general. Many of the responses I see on here *are* emotional – sorry to say that. If they do know more about the ban, then they should say so. Prove me wrong. And I was reacting to the ludricous statement: “I’m wondering if I should be more afraid of my daily strolls through the forest with my dog”. That is a reactionary and uneducated response to say the least.

As for caring what side anyone is on, I stated clearly I was *not* commenting on whether I agree or not: “I am not saying you need to agree with gun ownership or even whether the ban should be lifted”. I also was *not* saying that anyone here is uneducated. I am saying some comments sounded uneducated. This is a very serious topic and very serious negative and emotional comments are being thrown around. If you are trying to convince me that your opinion is worthy, give me some facts. If not, I won’t take you seriously. If you don’t give a flip what I think (which is a perfectly fine stance to take) then fine – let it be – but then you don’t have a right to bitch to me and say you have been insulted. At this point, defend yourself. Tell me why you think the way you think. I am surprisingly open-minded. Simply said, I will keep my opinion that you are uneducated until you show me otherwise. Choose your words carefully – it is all I have to make an opinion about you.

I don’t have the time, strength or desire to fight a battle where I am just shouting in the wind. My post wasn’t anywhere near as serious as Kenny chose to take it – it was simply a “gee, I’m frustrated with my government once again because the Republicans blocked this ban from even being voted on.” Then I was amused by the news reports on how Bush has said he would have signed the ban, if it had made it to his desk. Political moves at their finest. My gut instinct? I think the ban should be in place, and it should be tighter than it was before. I have always been ok with people lawfully owning guns, and I have no issue with that – just with actual assault weapons. I put forth that I see no need for people to own them – but EJ and Doc both gave me valid reasons that I agreed with. I appreciate their input in helping me learn some alternative reasons for owning them.

I’m all for discussion. I post things sometimes to help myself learn, to hear the other side of the story, etc. However, at the same time I don’t attack other people – and I would hope they would have the same respect for me and not attack me.

I am also a surprisingly open-minded person. However, I would sincerely hope that by knowing me in person you could make a perfectly valid opinion of me, and that I would not need to choose my words wisely on this particular topic for you to do so. Because as far as this topic is concerned, I’m walking away. I’m allowed to have my opinions, whether they are just gut instinct or something I’ve spend hours researching. You’re allowed to have your opinions. Kenny is allowed to have his. That is the beauty of this nation. However, I would hope that I would not be attacked on my own website for my opinions. Discussions? Fabulous, I’m all for them. Attacks? Not so great.

Just like you defended Kenny, I felt the need to defend my other readers, who after his post and yours felt shut out and like they couldn’t talk here – I received several e-mails with comments that weren’t posted because they feared being attacked. I left Kenny’s post up out of respect for him, but it definitely had an effect on other people, causing them to be quiet and preventing any positive discussion on the topic. That’s frustrating to me (and what sparked my responses yesterday) because it is something I would have preferred to allow a lot of people to discuss, hopefully educating all of us.

GAH. I just received an e-mail from Elaine clarifying her comment from this morning, and that it wasn’t directed at *me* being uneducated as I read it. So I’m coming back to publicly apologize to Elaine. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have been so harsh without finding out more from you directly.

Now, I’m going to just shut up about all of this. I allowed myself to get way too emotional about it yesterday, and I shouldn’t have. Sorry about that.

None of you pro-ban people commented on the definition of assault weapons. Please just admit that you know nothing about guns and are scared of the term. There is no other reason for it. If you are against all rifles then fine you have an arguement. Otherwise you will forever look foolish and uneducated. An assault rifle, as Kenny said, is nothing more than a rifle with a few usually meaningless accessories. The ban is, and now was, asinine and meaningless. The only people who benefited from the ban were all the people with pre-ban stuff that got to jack up the prices.

I’m sorry I am late to this debate. If anyone is still following it I would like to say I appreciate the interest. I live in Texas and spent nine years in the military. I defended your rights and human rights around the world. Including ten months in Iraq. For this I am proud. Everyone has the right to believe as he or she sees fit. I do tend to believe in the proper use of gun control laws. But they have to be applied correctly. Against criminals are what laws are designed for not against law abiding citizens. You only need to look at the crime rates in England, Australia, and Canada to see how to apply laws wrong. You are safer in New York at midnight then in London. I have a concealed weapons permit for the state of Texas. I can say this “You are completely safe when I am around. And I will come to your aide with or without a weapon.”
Sorry I said this much. Maybe nobody will read it.

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