Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) unveiled her “assault weapons” ban with a big theatrical performance that included a roster of all-star gun-control speakers, including Senators Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, and many other people who have armed bodyguards. Assault weapons were displayed on stage, because the point of such a circus is to terrify soccer moms, and that means they have to see the scary-looking devil guns. Feinstein herself briefly handled an assault weapon, holding it as though it were a live anaconda. None of the guns on display were recovered weapons from Barack Obama’s deadly Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking program, which is a pity, because there are still plenty of them out there.
Feinstein declared that her proposed legislation will save “thousands and thousands of lives,” even though the actual number of people murdered with rifles in 2011 was only 323. Maybe this was meant to be a ten-year figure, the way Washington politicians talk about deficit reduction. A concerted effort was made to re-write the Second Amendment as a duck hunting license, with numerous appeals to “responsible hunters,” who are expected to join forces with gun control zealots. On a day when Senator John Kerry’s Secretary of State confirmation hearing was interrupted by a protest from one of his former allies in Code Pink, it’s a pity the guns-are-for-hunting presentation wasn’t interrupted by an angry duck-rights activist.
There was talk of “hunting with bullets” and “automatic weapons,” and various other locutions that conveyed the sense nobody on the stage cared much about tiny little factual details. But as long as the public is frightened enough to give Democrats credit for their good intentions, nothing else matters… including the fate of the actual legislation, which will almost certainly be killed by nervous red-state Democrats who serve constituencies that still think the Bill of Rights means what it says.
As for the bill itself, USA Today provides the details in their usual (ahem) bullet-point style:
- Ban the sale, transfer, importation or manufacturing of about 150 named firearms, plus certain rifles, handguns and shotguns fitted for detachable magazines and having at least one military characteristic.
- Strengthen the 1994 ban by moving from a two- to a one-characteristic test to determine what constitutes an assault weapon.
- Ban firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons.”
- Ban the importation of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.
- Ban high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
Well, that ought to pretty much eliminate violence, especially since “the bill would grandfather in weapons legally owned on the day of enactment, and exempts over 900 specific weapons ‘used for hunting or sporting purposes.'” In other words, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, you can still shoot it, provided you use a weapon that doesn’t have more than one scary-looking accessory, and you don’t mind reloading more frequently.
Update: Alex Pappas of the Daily Caller got a look at the list of the specific firearms prohibited by Feinstein’s law:
Wow, that’s a pretty long list, although it doesn’t seem comprehensive enough to “save thousands and thousands of lives” as Feinstein put it, especially since criminals have a strong preference for weapons they can easily conceal. Have there been a lot of criminal assaults with belt-fed firearms lately?