Don Stratton: Congress and assault weapons: It’s the look that matters

The U.S. Congress has for months been working on passing a new bill to ban assault weapons. A group of Democrats, now supported by nearly enough RINO Republicans to get the bill passed, claim that the bill is the answer to the problem of mass shootings in this country.

However, if you read the bill carefully, and if you know anything at all about guns, several things just jump out at you. Foremost is the simple fact, as I have stated before, that they cannot even describe what makes one weapon more dangerous than any other similarly operated weapon, except that it looks different.

Senate Bill 25 starts out with a description saying a lot about the true purpose of the legislation. It reads, “A bill to regulate assault weapons, to ensure that the right to bear arms is not unlimited, and for other purposes.”

The words “not unlimited” are chilling to a supporter of the Second Amendment. They show the belief of liberal members of Congress that the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment can be limited by their whims. It becomes evident when one reads it carefully — which most members of Congress voting on it will probably never do — that the bill emanates more from an insidious agenda than from any noble cause.

The bill bans the manufacture, importation, sale and possession of any weapon which it classifies as an assault weapon, if manufactured after the passage of the bill. It starts out with a very long list of makes and models of firearms that are specifically designated as assault weapons. The list includes what is the most common among the villainous (in their eyes) pieces of weaponry, the AR-15, and all of its variations and relatives in the world of rifles.

The truth of their mindset and agenda is shown in the lengthy list of parts and accouterments, any one of which they say magically transforms an ordinary semi-automatic firearm — either rifle, pistol or shotgun — into their idea of an assault weapon. That list includes a pistol grip on a semi-automatic long gun, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel, a forward grip or a short or collapsible stock. The reality is that absolutely none of those additions make a weapon any more dangerous than a semi-automatic weapon without them.

The real ignorance, and the true intention of the bill, shows up in a list of over 30 semi-automatic rifles that are exempted from the law. That list includes a military M-1 Garand, an M-1 carbine and a lot more. The interesting thing about that list is that most of the exempted weapons on it operate in exactly the same fashion mechanically as an AR-15, and some of them, like the M-1 rifles, are true military weapons. Over 11 million of the two exempted types of M-1s have been manufactured and used in multiple wars. They remain legal because they just don’t look as threatening as the AR-15.

That AR-15 that politicians dread is not a military weapon; it just happens to look like one. The similar-looking military M-16 is fully automatic, capable of firing multiple rounds with one pull of the trigger. The AR-15 fires one round at a time, requiring one pull of the trigger for each round. There just is no similarity beyond their appearance and mode of chambering rounds.

Additionally, the bill bans magazines holding more than 10 rounds, and a careful reading of the bill includes among those “other purposes” a requirement for background checks on private sales of such firearms between individuals. The law would require that if you own what they call an assault weapon, legal because it was manufactured prior to the ban, you can’t even sell it to your brother-in-law without taking the weapon to a licensed firearms dealer. He must then run a background check on the buyer, and charge- probably both of you- a fee for the transaction.

These are just highlights of the bill, and it’s obvious that it is just one more step towards the ultimate goal of liberal politicians — the total elimination of our right to legally own firearms.

Don Stratton is a retired inspector for the Lima Police Department. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News.