The New York Post is blasting its support for a new ban on semi-automatic rifles on the front page of the paper today. Op-ed editor Sohab Ahmari tweeted out the news earlier this morning, calling the most commonly sold rifles in the country today “military-grade weapons.”
Semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 aren’t “military grade”. If they were, that’s what our military would be using. We’re talking about a rifle design that’s first became available to civilians around the same time the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Millions of Americans own them for lawful purposes, and they’re used far less in crimes than handguns. In an outright lie, however, the Post claims they’re only used by killers.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment protects the right to own “guns in common use.” That doesn’t cover the semiautomatic weapons regularly used only in mass shootings.
So, according to the editorial staff at the New York Post, the most commonly sold rifle in America today isn’t in common use? Maybe not in Manhattan, but take a drive just a few hours outside of New York City and you’ll find plenty of law-abiding Americans using these firearms for a variety of lawful activities like hunting, competition, and self-defense.
The Post editorial doesn’t stop with a sweeping gun ban either.
This ban would only be part of the response: Keep improving background checks, find wiser approaches to mental health, get every state to pass a red-flag law (do a federal one, too, even if issuing these restraining orders is mainly the job of state courts).
We’ve already gone over the problems with “universal background checks” and “red flag” laws here recently, so I won’t dive too deeply into the flaws of both proposals, but suffice it to say that “universal background checks” are almost impossible to enforce, and the “red flag” laws we’ve seen introduced in states around the country suffer from a lack of due process protections, as well as a misguided focus on guns and not the person deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
The paper also claims that the reason New York City’s violent crime rate has fallen is because of the restrictive gun control laws in place.
One of the big reasons that crime has fallen so far in New York City is a crackdown on guns. Their ownership is restricted, and the NYPD is focused on getting illegal ones off the street. Gun control works.
Yes, gun ownership is restricted, and that results in fewer legal gun owners, not fewer criminals with guns. In order to legally own a handgun in the Big Apple, you’re going to have to fork over hundreds of dollars in application fees, wait as long as a year, make multiple trips to the licensing division, fill out a mountain of paperwork, and hope that you get approved. You can be denied for any reason, or for no reason whatsoever.
You can argue about whether or not that makes New York City any safer, but it undoubtedly leads to some New Yorkers not being able to exercise a constitutional right. And while violent crime has dropped in New York City, it’s also dropped around the country, even in places where none of the city’s gun control laws are in place. In Florida, for example, violent crime and homicides have plummeted since 1987, when the state adopted “shall issue” concealed carry laws. Now there are more than 1.3-million concealed carry holders in the state, and homicides are less than half of the historic highs in the late 80s and early 1990s.
Today’s op-ed from the New York Post reads like it was written by someone who’s not only not a gun owner, but someone who’s never thought critically about the laws they themselves are proposing. Frankly, that’s probably the target audience for this op-ed as well. If facts matter, it’s going to be up to gun owners to provide them as the push for gun control heats up.