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When Rep. Jerry Nadler scheduled a House Judiciary Committee hearing designed to build support for a ban on semi-automatic firearms deemed to be “assault weapons”, I bet he didn’t expect a 2nd Amendment activist, competitive shooter, and former law enforcement officer to end up as the star of the show. That’s exactly what happened, however, when Dianna Muller of The DC Project told those on the committee that she will not comply with any future ban.
“Please don’t legislate the 150 million people just like me into being criminals. It has happened. You’ve already done it,” Muller said, referring to the Trump administration’s ban on bump stocks, the devices that use a semi-automatic weapon’s recoil to make it rapidly fire like an automatic. “I was a bump stock owner, and I had to make a decision: do I become a felon, or do I comply?”
Should the government pass an assault-weapons ban, Muller declared, “I will not comply.”
She’s not alone. As we’ve pointed out here before, compliance rates for gun control laws like New Jersey’s magazine ban, or New York’s “assault weapons” registration are well below 10%, and there’s no reason to believe that compliance with a federal ban on the most popular rifle in the United States would be any different.
Muller’s testimony was passionate, but it was also practical as well. She was simply telling lawmakers what they need to hear and don’t want to admit; passing a gun control law is one thing, enforcing it is another.
Sadly, as is all too common when politicians get together to talk about guns, there was some stupid on display as well.
Swearer also noted that some features like barrel shrouds enhance the safety of a weapon for its user. But David Chipman, senior policy adviser at the Giffords Law Center, raised a counterpoint noting that a barrel shroud could allow a shooter to get a better grip on a weapon “in a way that would increase your ability to spray fire and kill more people” without burning their hand.
Ironic to see a “gun safety advocate” arguing in favor of making a gun less safe, isn’t it? Why do barrel shrouds exist? To keep people from burning their hand. But because a killer might benefit from that, in David Chipman’s world they should be banned. Is the new definition of “gun safety” making guns less safe in the hopes killers won’t use them? It’s a dumb argument, particularly because Chipman doesn’t want a barrel shroud ban, he wants a ban on semi-automatic firearms. He could have acknowledged why legal gun owners find a barrel shroud to be useful while still arguing in favor of banning the entire rifle, but he fell into the trap of focusing on features of semi-automatic rifles in an attempt to make them as scary as possible.
The decision by Democrats to focus on potentially impeaching Donald Trump has likely derailed any gun control package from getting votes in the Senate, at least in the immediate future, but House Democrats can and will continue to approve gun control laws and demand Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hold votes on every one. While the House Judiciary Committee didn’t vote on the proposed gun and magazine ban today, it’s likely the committee will send the ban to the full House for a vote in the not-to-distant future.
If you’re a glutton for punishment (or are really interested in what happened today) you can watch the entire four-hour hearing below, but you might want to check your blood pressure beforehand.