Georgia gun maker sounds off on "assault weapons" bans

Democrats on Capitol Hill haven’t given up on their quixotic push to ban modern sporting rifles, despite the fact that Republicans control the House and even ardent gun-banner Chris Murphy (D-CT) says there aren’t enough votes in the Senate to enact a ban. House Democrats are hoping to use a procedural move to bring a gun ban bill to the floor, though in order to do so they’re going to have to convince almost a half-dozen GOP House members to break ranks and align themselves with gun prohibitionists.


The Democrats’ strategy remains a work in progress, as party leaders weigh options for maximizing the pressure on GOP leaders, who have long opposed new firearm restrictions and have no intention of bringing such proposals to the floor.

Many Democrats are already maneuvering to tap a procedural tool, known as a discharge petition, in a long-shot effort to force votes on high-profile gun reforms — like expanded background checks and an assault weapons ban — over the objection of the majority party leadership.

And some want to go even further by promoting a broader package of bills that would also advance “red flag” laws, curb ghost guns, ban high-capacity magazines, fight gun trafficking, and lengthen the review window for existing background checks — an idea that gained traction after the 2015 mass shooting at a Black church in Charleston, S.C.

“All of that should go in there,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (N.Y.), senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over gun policy.

From a practical legislative standpoint, the effort is unlikely to be effective. A discharge petition requires a simple House majority — 218 lawmakers — to force bills to the floor, and even the most ardent gun reformers aren’t optimistic they’ll find the five Republicans willing to buck their leadership and sign on.

“We used to have bipartisan support for a couple of these things. I don’t know if we still do,” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) said.


There’s probably more bipartisan opposition to a ban on so-called “assault weapons” in the House at the moment, which was also the case last summer when the then-Democratic-controlled House narrowly approved a gun ban bill by a vote of 217-213. Two Republicans joined  Democrats in voting for the measure, but five Democrat House members rejected the gun ban legislation. Since then one of those Republicans (Chris Jacobs of New York) has been replaced with a pro-2A representative, while two of the five Democrats who opposed the “assault weapons” ban are no longer in office.

While the latest efforts to criminalize the most popular rifle in the country aren’t likely to succeed, at least at the federal level, Democrats in states like Washington and Connecticut are still pushing to either enact a ban of their own or expand on existing prohibitions. On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, Pickett’s Mill Armory founder Dan Waldrop weighs in on these latest attempts to infringe on our fundamental Second Amendment rights. You may have heard Pickett’s Mill Armory’s advertisements on the show, but I reached out to talk to Dan not because he’s an advertiser but because the Georgia gun maker has been in business for over a decade now. And with his background in both the military and law enforcement Waldrop is one of the “only ones” that Democrats say should be allowed to own an AR-style rifle; something he says is as ridiculous as “assault weapons” bans themselves.


“I always have to go back to the practical side, where if we follow the law it’s a non-starter. I think a lot of this is a ‘feel good’ move for the president and the Democratic party, but you know, I think several years ago people didn’t think Obama was going to get as far as he did, so I always have these concerns in the back of my mind when these issues come up.”

Waldrop’s Georgia-based business benefits from the strong support for the Second Amendment in the state, so he’s not worried about any state-level ban being signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp. He is concerned, however, about the demonization of the right to keep and bear arms and the Democrats’ obsession over “assault weapons”, which he firmly believes is the wrong approach to public safety as well as an infringement on a fundamental right. Waldron says there are plenty of things that we need to be doing instead of trying to turn tens of millions of peaceable gun owners into criminals simply for maintaining possession of their modern sporting rifles, from improving the physical security of schools to addressing the mental health crisis in the country.

“I think we can both agree that mental illness in the United States is what leads all of this. There are people who have political ideations that point them that way, but the reality is these people are mentally ill and they’re not identified. And quite frankly, I think a lot of these people, their families just choose to look the other way because it’s the path of least resistance. And I think if families were more involved I think a lot of these things would just solve themselves.”


I think there’s a lot of truth in Waldron’s comments, though we’ve also seen some mass murderers that were actively under a doctor’s care at the time they committed their heinous acts. In many other cases, however, there were glaring warning signs beforehand that were either ignored, downplayed or explained away by family, school officials, and perhaps even law enforcement. Part of the problem is that our mental health system is crumbling in many states, leaving those in crisis without many options for care, even in acute situations.

Rather than tackle that difficult challenge, far too many Democrats are firmly committed to banning their way to safety instead of addressing the underlying institutional failures that exacerbate the problem; whether we’re talking about a lack of treatment for the mentally ill or a criminal justice system that routinely returns repeat offenders to the streets with little-to-no consequences for their crimes. Second Amendment advocates have our work cut out for us, and as Waldron says, we’re not just fighting for our own rights but the rights of future generations as well.

This barely scratches the surface of our interview, so be sure to check out the entire conversation with Dan Waldron of Pickett’s Mill Armory in the video window below. I look forward to continuing the discussion in the near future, and I appreciate him using his voice in defense of both our fundamental rights and real public safety.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member