By: David Heacock
The debate over gun control heated up this week as California Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced her so-called “Assault Weapons” Ban of 2013. The proposed bill would ban the sale, transfer, manufacturing, and importation of 157 specific models of firearms, as well as others that bear resemblance to “military-style assault weapons.” Apparently, it’s mostly the cosmetic features of the weapon that Feinstein’s concerned with – if a gun has a pistol or forward grip, it would violate the law. Guns with detachable or telescoping stocks would be deemed illegal, as well.
The bill would regulate more than just gun aesthetics, however, with a limit on magazine capacity of 10 bullets. The reasoning behind this is that a lower bullet capacity requires a shooter to reload more often, giving policemen an opportunity to neutralize them. There are a few things overlooked in this scenario.
First off, switching out a magazine takes merely seconds to accomplish. While it may slightly slow down a shooter, it would hardly prevent them from reaching their objectives. Mass-shootings are almost always planned-out events, and their conspirers typically carry several firearms and magazines. Having less capacity is something that could be easily planned for in advance.
Second, the regulations cannot control criminals, as they do not abide by the law. While it’s not easy, magazines can be modified to increase capacity. And recently, 3D printing technology has forgone the need for modifications at all. Thirty-round rifle magazines have been created out of plastics that are just as functional as their commercially manufactured counterparts. The production of these magazines is practically unstoppable, since the printers are readily available for home use, and the files are distributed over the Internet.
Finally, it’s unrealistic to rely on the police to come to your defense. While they are skilled at neutralizing rogue shooters, they can only arrive to the scene so quickly. By the time police are present, the majority of the damage has usually been done. As the common refrain goes, “When you have only seconds, the police are minutes away.”
The whole gun control debate is one filled with strong opinions and emotions, but both sides of the aisle seem to run to the federal government to impose their ideas. Progressives have pushed bans and restrictions, while some conservatives have called for mandatory armed guards in schools. These proposals are highly impractical and constitutionally objectionable.
At this point, there are hundreds of millions of guns in circulation in America. If criminals want guns, they will be able to get their hands on them. The simplest answer to this problem is giving citizens greater freedom to obtain whatever means of defense they see fit and allowing property owners to determine which firearms are allowed on their land. Many exclaim there’s no reason anyone needs a semi-automatic rifle, but it is not the role of the government to tell us how we may and may not defend ourselves. Even the U.S. police force refers to their own automatic guns as “personal defense weapons.”
If Sen. Feinstein’s bill is brought to the floor, it is unlikely to pass, but she is not alone in her opinions. This debate will be around for years to come, and hopefully many more will realize that freedom is the only way forward.
Tags: Feinstein, Assault weapons, gun ban, 3D printing