Gun control activists are heading to Washington, D.C. this week for a last-ditch attempt to get the Senate to pass (or at least hold a vote) to ban the sale and manufacture of so-called assault weapons; a trip that has as much to do with influencing public opinion as lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
It remains to be seen if Senate Majority Chuck Schumer will hold a vote on the bill, which even supporters like Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut admit doesn’t have the votes needed to send the measure to Joe Biden for his signature, but backers of a ban on modern sporting rifles are engaging in intense lobbying efforts this week for the Senate to take action. Survivors and victims family members from Uvalde, Highland Park, and other mass shootings are heading to Capitol Hill today and tomorrow to lobby lawmakers in person, while dozens of big-city mayors (the vast majority of them Democrats) have sent letters to Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging a lame-duck vote as well.
The mayors, speaking to Republican concerns about the assault weapons ban, declared “it does not in any way infringe on Second Amendment rights,” and the Background Check Expansion Act, they wrote, “would close serious loopholes in the background check system.”
If you don’t think that banning the most commonly-sold rifle in the country wouldn’t infringe on anyone’s Second Amendment rights, then you clearly don’t understand the scope of the Second Amendment. And to be fair, I’m guessing a good number of these mayors choose to remain willfully ignorant about the history and tradition of the right to keep and bear arms, though I’m sure there are plenty who know good and well that their favored gun policies tread all over that fundamental right and they’re perfectly comfortable in doing so.
The refrain that gun bans are constitutional isn’t the only illogical note sounded by advocates of prohibiting the sale of “assault weapons.” We’re told all the time by anti-gun activists and politicians like Eric Swalwell that it’s sheer paranoia to think that Democrats want to confiscate firearms, and yet you’ve got the head of gun control groups declaring that “assault weapons” don’t belong in anyone’s homes.
“There is nothing in their way. There is nothing stopping them from literally removing weapons of war from our streets,” Kitty Brandtner, the founder of MarchFourth, said in an Instagram video. “We don’t have military tanks in our driveways. We certainly don’t need assault weapons in our homes and on our streets.”
There’s “nothing” in the way of the Senate literally taking guns from “homes and streets,” according to Brandtner. I don’t know about you, but that sure sounds like Brandtner wants the government to come for at least some of my firearms to me, even though the text of HR 1808 as approved by the House contains a grandfather clause that “permits” existing owners to continue to possess them; a fact that a committed gun control like Brandtner is surely aware of.
So why would Brandtner be so dishonest about what the “assault weapons” ban legislation would do? Well, for starters her efforts aren’t aimed at educating voters about what’s inside HR 1808. She wants a gun ban, and she’s smart enough to know that the Senate isn’t going to pass the ban already approved by the House. I believe these statements are more about generating support for an “assault weapons” ban wherever and whenever they can pass one; including the state of Illinois, where Brandtner lives. And the type of ban that Brandtner wants doesn’t include an exemption for existing owners, which frankly doesn’t make any sense from an anti-gun perspective. If you honestly think that AR-15s are “weapons of war” that should be banned from civilized society, why would you want to carve out an exemption for the tens of millions of rifles that are currently in the hands of legal gun owners? You’d want to ban them too, right? And ideally, you’d want to either encourage gun owners to turn them over themselves, or make possessing them such a serious offense that most gun owners would comply with the law, however reluctantly.
I think this is just a case of Brandtner advocating for the ban she wants, rather than getting caught up in the particulars of HR 1808. And those efforts, along with those of her colleagues in the anti-2A lobby, aren’t going to stop when Congress adjourns without sending an “assault weapons” ban to Joe Biden’s desk. Congress might become a dead end for anti-gun activists in 2023, but the gun control groups are already eyeing up Illinois
and several other locales for state-level bans while whispering into Joe Biden’s ear that he doesn’t even need Congress
to ban “assault weapons” or even the vast majority of semi-automatic handguns. Yes, we have the Supreme Court and the Bruen
decision to hopefully serve as a backstop to the worst abuses of the Second Amendment, but we still need engaged and involved 2A supporters at the grassroots level as well. Even if they’re not able to prevent every bad bill from becoming a bad law, their voices are necessary and needed to combat the mistruths, deceptions, and empty promises of the anti-rights crowd.