Posted on | January 3, 2013 | 18 Comments
“Senator Feinstein’s latest attack on the Second Amendment relies entirely on public ignorance of firearms and their legitimate uses,” writes William A. Levinson in an American Thinker article answering the question, “Why Does Anybody Need a 30-Round Magazine?”
It’s important to consider worst-case scenarios: Suppose that you found yourself in a conflict with multiple assailants, each armed with 9-mm pistols, each with a magazine capacity of 10 shots. In that situation, a 30-round magazine gives you equal firepower (without reloading) to three attackers. You may not be able to imagine such situations, but sometimes the unimaginable happens, and who is Dianne Feinstein to tell other people what precautions they are permitted to take?
The Politics of Ignorance is what enraged me so much about the so-called “assault weapons” ban that Feinstein supported in 1994. Repeat after me: A semi-automatic rifle is not an “assault weapon.”
Feinstein and her allies in the Clinton administration were exploiting public ignorance. They had polls and focus-group information showing that “soccer moms” — suburban middle-class white women, a key “swing” constituency that Democrats sought to win over — supported restrictive measures against guns, in large part because of (arguably racist) fears about inner-city drug gangs.
Despite headline-making incidents like the Oklahoma City bombing and the Long Island commuter-train massacre, the political impetus behind the law (officially titled the “Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994”) really had nothing to do militias or mass-shooting sprees, and everything to do with fears of the criminal violence associated with the crack cocaine epidemic.
Ultimately, of course, the crime problems of the 1980s and ’90s were “solved” by a drastic increase in incarceration rates due to mandatory sentencing laws (especially for drug offenses) and so-called “three strikes” laws, as well as improvements in law-enforcement tactics and private security. The widespread use of video surveillance at retail venues and advances in DNA testing, to mention just two examples, have not only helped police solve more crimes, but also have a significant deterrent effect, because would-be criminals know the greater risks of apprehension.
The Feinstein-backed “assault weapons” ban was classic Clinton-era pandering: A largely cosmetic response to media-hyped hysteria, producing a law that did not actually ban anything — existing weapons were not outlawed, but merely the manufacture or importation of such weapons — and the prohibited weapons were only superficially different from weapons that remained fully legal.
That idiotic law expired in 2004, thank God, but gun-control advocates continue relying on appeals to ignorance, particularly when talking about the so-called “gun show loophole.” What this rhetoric is about is trying to inhibit the private re-sale of weapons, thus depriving gun owners of the full economic value of their assets.
Many millions of Americans own guns and these are actually economic investments, as firearms tend to retain value. There is a ready market for antique and collectible guns. A model 1911 Colt .45 semi-automatic pistol can sell for more than $1,000. And so the family gun cabinet represents a real financial asset to the owner — if he is permitted to re-sell them.
However, when liberals talk about “closing the gun-show loophole,” what they actually mean is requiring these private gun owners to run background checks on purchasers, just like federally licensed gun dealers. This would impose an all-but-prohibitive restriction on the private seller — how much would compliance cost? — and thus makes it practically impossible for him to reap the full value of his asset. True, he could sell his guns to a licensed dealer, or place them for sale on consignment with such a dealer, but in the process he would lose not only the price difference between wholesale (what the dealer pays the seller) and retail (what is paid by the dealer’s customer), but also the convenience of being able to sell the gun himself.
There are millions of guns owned by individuals in this country that have been re-sold over and over — from one private citizen to another — without any licensed dealer being involved in the transactions since the day they were first sold, brand-new. If your brother-in-law admires your Winchester .30-06 or your Mossberg 12-gauge and offers you a fair price for it, you can sell it to him.
You could sell your guns at your next garage sale, if you wanted to, and why not? It’s your gun, isn’t it? It’s a free country, isn’t it?
Well, not if Dianne Feinstein gets her way.