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This title of this post is how I describe Sen. Diane Feinstein's (D-CA) assault weapons ban legislation. She has proposed banning all AK, AR, and Thompson types of semiautomatic weapons. Current owners of such weapons would be grandfathered in, and allowed to keep their guns. The legislation would also limit the capacity of gun magazines to, I believe, ten rounds. In addition, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and others are working on a bill to establish universal background checks for guns. President Obama supports the measures and has issued 23 executive orders seeking mainly to enforce existing gun legislation, as Democrats look to do something about gun violence in the wake of the Newtown school mass murders. The NRA opposes virtually everything the Democrats have proposed thus far.
There's been a lot of extremist rhetoric tossed around by both the left-wing and the right-wing on this issue. Many on the left look to completely abolish the Second Amendment, and many on the right are acting like the proposals of the Democrats would accomplish that goal, which of course it would not.
My own take on the issue is, I support universal background checks, which may (or may not) weed out the next Adam Lanza, who was the shooter in the Newtown massacre. The real problem in Newtown was mental illness, not guns, but keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill is, no pun intended, a no-brainer. We should make efforts to do that without taking away gun rights for lawful gun owners. I also support limiting the capacity of gun magazines to ten rounds, or even six rounds, though if we do that, why we still need to ban any semiautomatic weapons is beyond me. If a banned Bushmaster AR-15 can only fire six rounds in a clip, it is no more deadly than a non-banned 9mm pistol that can fire six rounds in a clip. The only difference I can see is that the AR-15 looks scarier, because it is designed to look like fully automatic military weaponry, which it is not (note - I am no expert on guns. If anyone out there knows more than I do regarding weaponry, please share your thoughts).
Gun advocates might point out at this point that the Second Amendment says the right to bear arms "shall not be infringed", and this means the Democrats have no right to ban or limit guns in any way. I would answer that we have long accepted limits on gun ownership. Nobody is raising a big ruckus about citizens being forbidden to own automatic weapons, tanks, rocket launchers, etc. At the time the Second Amendment was written, guns were single shot muzzle loaders. It was virtually impossible then for a lone wacko to murder 20-30 people with a gun. Technology has come a long way since then. Today, most weapons sold are semi-automatic.
On the other side of the coin, those who seek to abolish the Second Amendment completely are living in a fantasy world. According to statistics I've seen, there are over 200 million privately owned firearms in America today. Attempts to ban and confiscate all those guns, which would require a fascist police state to accomplish, would probably result in a second American revolution, and at the least it would create new TImothy McVeighs by the bushel.
Some sad facts need to be mentioned here. Ironically, none of the gun control measures being promoted by the Democrats thus far to prevent the next Newtown would have stopped the last Newtown. None would have stopped Adam Lanza. He stole his guns from his mother. He avoided a background check, and I've heard to reason to believe he would have failed a background check even if he had chosen to go through the 14-day waiting period when he did try to buy a gun. He carried three guns into the Newtown school. Only one of those three guns would be banned under Feinstein's assault weapons ban legislation, and that gun would have been grandfathered in, meaning Lanza would still have had all three weapons if Feinstein's legislation had been in effect. Even if a future Lanza only had two of the three weapons, he still would have produced a lot of carnage. We also know that the two other most infamous school shootings would still have been carried out under an assault weapons ban. Columbine happened when the previous assault weapons ban was in effect, and the worst school shooting massacre in American history, at Virginia Tech, was carried out with handguns (a Walther P22 and a Glock 19) that are NOT banned under Feinstein's legislation.
What would have potentially stopped Adam Lanza at Newtown was what DID stop Adam Lanza at Newtown. Someone else with a gun. When the police arrived at Newtown with their guns, Lanza stopped killing innocent children and shot himself instead. Unfortunately, the police didn't arrive until it was far too late, which is usually the case. They can't be everywhere at once, which is why, if we want to adhere to President Obama's standard of "if one life can be saved, we must try", then we should have armed guards in our schools instead of advertising them as gun-free zones where the next Adam Lanza will know he can create maximum carnage without anyone there to challenge him. I've heard rumors that Obama will propose federal funding for armed school guards. I hope those rumors are true.
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