The anti-gunners in Congress have decided to table the “assault weapons” ban vote for now.
According to reporting from Politico, House Democrats have elected to punt the vote on their much-beloved “assault weapons” ban to after the summer session. The report indicates that the reason Pelosi is procrastinating on it is that she knows that she can’t get enough support–even from the Democrats who hold a majority in the House–for H.R. 1808. Why not? Part of the problem may be concern that voting “yes” on this bill will cost them at the polls. Part of the problem may be that she and her fellow Congressweasels can’t even define what an “assault weapon” is (which officially makes them more ignorant than the Associated Press, and that’s saying a lot). And part of the problem may be that this legislation was written by people who clearly shouldn’t be allowed out of the house without a helmet on.
Sound harsh? Nope, we’re being kind.
The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action has eyes and ears on the floor of Congress, and through them, we have an after-action report of the sheer idiocy that our elected representatives have the nerve to call a legislative process. You can’t make this stuff up; if these people were any dumber, we’d have to water them twice a day. Below, please find some “highlights” of H.R. 1808, courtesy of our friends at the NRA.
Farcical “Assault Weapons” Ban Mark-up Showed Contempt for Facts, Law, and Dignity
Anyone wanting a case study of why a stunning 93% of Americans lack confidence in Congress need only have witnessed last Wednesday’s Judiciary Committee mark-up of H.R. 1808, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2021, which was voted out of the committee along partisan lines. Wednesday’s proceedingswere a grotesque and ironic perversion of that mandate, as one anti-gun congressperson after another argued in favor of the largest gun ban in U.S. history, which would include the AR-15, the most popular rifle being sold in America today.
In doing so, they ignored facts, history, and constitutional law. They also beclowned themselves with behavior that was beneath the dignity of their office, even given how far it has fallen in public esteem.
A full accounting of the mark-up’s inaccuracies, distortions, and ad hominem attacks would be unreadably lengthy and demoralizing. What follows, then, is merely a sampling of the more egregious lines of argument put forward by the bill’s proponents.
The ill-informed nature of the bill’s proponents was probably best captured when Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), the bill’s author, attempted to explain how pistol stabilizing braces can be used to turn a firearm into an “automatic weapon.” The absurdity of this claim cannot be overstated, but it fully captures the vigorous ignorance many anti-gun lawmakers have about the very subject matter they claim to be qualified to regulate.
Simply put, proponents of bills like H.R. 1808 are selling a lie: that the legislation would rid the U.S. of a particularly dangerous type of firearm and that by doing so it would save lives.
This was true of the first federal “assault weapons” ban of 1994 to 2004, which also grandfathered existing firearms and allowed for the importation and manufacture of slightly modified designs that did not affect the firearm’s action, ballistics, or rate of fire. Anti-gun committee members insisted the prior ban was effective and “saved countless lives” by citing studies that looked at crime data and victims per incident before, during, and after the ban. Pro-gun committee members rebutted this argument, however, by pointing out that the numbers of functionally equivalent AR-type and other semi-automatic rifles in private hands actually increased during the ban.
Meanwhile, the most comprehensive survey of existing literature on the effects of semi-automatic and “large capacity” magazine bans – one that specifically focused on causal relationships – found no convincing evidence that such laws reduce violent crime generally or even mass shootings in particular.
The other big lie, repeated by several anti-gun committee members, was that they respect the Second Amendment and that H.R. 1808 is fully consistent with it.
To promote this argument, anti-gun committee members characterized the AR-15 and similar semi-automatics as “like weapons” to the M-16 and other machine guns, described them as “dangerous and unusual,” and even suggested that the Second Amendment was limited to muskets and militias.
Of course, as pro-gun committee members pointed out, the M-16 and other true military assault weapons are capable of automatic fire. This makes them different in kind from semi-automatics like those that would be banned by H.R. 1808. Those distinctions, moreover, have been recognized in federal law since at least 1934, with newly manufactured machine guns being banned from civilian possession since 1986.
H.R. 1808 also includes, for example, rimfire look-alike guns that often manufactured largely out of plastic and operate with .22 LR ammunition. It is laughable to suggest that these low-powered plinkers are anything “like” a true military rifle.
There is also nothing “unusual” about the types of firearms H.R. 1808 would ban. Recent industry figures put the number introduced into circulation in the U.S. since the 1990s at nearly 24.5 million. That figure significantly undercounts the number actually owned by Americans, moreover, as AR style rifles have been available to the public since the late 1960s, and AKs since at least the mid-1980s. The popularity of these types of rifles is indisputable.
Indeed, in the legislative equivalent of an “own goal,” anti-gun committee chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) admitted during the hearing that the “problem” with the guns H.R. 1808 would ban is that they are “in common use” and banning these “common use” firearms is the “point of the bill” (see video beginning at 2:14:50).
But as pro-gun committee member Dan Bishop (R-NC) pointed out, this put the bill directly at odds with multiple U.S. Supreme Court cases that have held the Second Amendment protects firearms “in common use” for lawful purposes.
SCORE! In your own goal
This led anti-gun committee members to make absurd arguments to try to limit and contextualize the “common use” test. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) suggested, for example, that guns themselves aren’t common in America, because fewer than half of Americans own them. He also suggested that semi-automatic long guns are only a small percentage of the total number of firearms present in the U.S. and therefore cannot be considered in “common use,” even though tens of millions of them are circulation. Raskin even suggested that the Supreme Court used that phrase to apply only to firearms in “common use” at the time of the founding (what Raskin called “muskets”) and that it had nothing to say about modern firearms.
All those claims, however, have already been debunked in prior Supreme Court cases or in opinions written by current Supreme Court justices. Cicilline also failed to acknowledge that after the Supreme Court issued its decision in Bruen, it vacated lower court decisions upholding state laws very similar to the “large capacity” magazine and “assault weapons” bans in H.R. 1808 and remanded those cases to be redecided under the Bruen style analysis.
Overall, the proponents of H.R. 1808 proved during last week’s mark-up of the bill that they are not seriously engaged in defending the legislation on either the facts or the law. Instead, they indulged in purely political grandstanding and passed a measure that would be ineffective, oppressive, and unconstitutional, were it to be signed into law.
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