SWINDLE: Future of the Second Amendment

Published 8:00 am Friday, April 16, 2021

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The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”  Author Unknown, but many attribute this quote to Albert Einstein. 

Someone recently asked me, “Will Washington ever do anything about semi-automatic assault weapons?”

I asked him what his definition of a “semi-automatic assault weapon” was. The polite man admitted that he did not know. But, he was quick to point out that people get killed when a person has a firearm and unleashes the weapon against defenseless children and adults. 

He was correct. Gun Free Zones (GFZ) are almost always the target of predatory killers because these areas alleviate the fear of the predator being shot himself.  Predators always focus on the weak, old, young, and defenseless.

What is a “semiautomatic assault weapon”?

To answer this, the first step is to look back to the time when Washington tried to “do something” about “assault weapons.” The Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) of 1994 was their answer.

Congress passed the law at a time when several mass shootings had raised public concern. Politicians were pressured to act in some manner. In order to relieve their pressure, Congress responded by passing a law restricting firearms defined as “semiautomatic assault weapons” and magazines that met the criteria for “large capacity ammunition feeding devices.”

AWB defined semiautomatic guns as those that fire once for each trigger pull. This includes hunting rifles and pistols. The term “assault” was never clearly defined. 

As with most laws that are passed because of intense, emotional political pressure, rather than logic and reality, the law was unsuccessful. 

Thankfully, AWB ended in 2004. 

Despite the statistics that show mass killings almost always happen in GFZ’s, the ineffectiveness of “gun control” legislation for decades, and his own personal views regarding the 2nd Amendment,  Joe Biden, one of the main proponents of the ban when he was in the Senate, claimed recently that it “brought down these mass killings.”

He failed to provide a single piece of credible evidence to support his statement. 

However, Biden continues to push for a new “assault” weapons bans, along with restrictions on magazine size. He explained his reasoning by saying that he intends to apply lessons learned from the previous ban to a new one.

“For example, the ban on assault weapons will be designed to prevent manufacturers from circumventing the law by making minor changes that don’t limit the weapon’s lethality,” Biden’s campaign website stated.

Gun manufacturers are legal businesses that pay taxes, provide employment and should never be lectured to by a person who cannot even load a shotgun safely. 

The fear of citizens owning guns has quickly spread throughout Congress. The House recently passed two gun-control measures to strengthen background checks. On March 23, Biden called for the Senate to “immediately pass” them and also called for Congress to take up a new assault-weapons ban.

While success is possible in the Democratic-controlled House, the chances in the Senate are a long shot because of that body’s cloture rule. This rule requires 60 votes to end debate on a topic and move to a vote. The challenge of convincing 10 Republicans to vote for any kind of gun control is probably impossible. 

Does it end with the Senate? Perhaps not. On March 26, 2021, the White House announced that Biden is preparing to circumvent Congress by issuing executive orders on gun regulation. Ordering a full “assault” weapons ban is beyond the president’s power, but he can use regulatory authority to restrict guns. For instance, he could limit imports or expand the background-check system by redefining who is in the business of selling guns.

However, getting action on a broader range of “assault” weapons remains a challenge. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-New York, has vowed to push gun-control legislation, saying, “Make no mistake: Under the Democratic majority, the Senate will debate and address the epidemic of gun violence in this country.”

This can be translated into, “We are fully dedicated to taking your Constitutional right to own a firearm away.” 

For now, he will need 10 Republicans to agree.

Unless legal gun owner take a large and widespread stand, Biden and Schumer will eventually reach their goals.