Fisking Dianne Feinstein's Gun Control Op-Ed

When I saw Dianne Feinstein had penned an op-ed for USA Today on gun control, I just had to give it a read. After all, it might give me a good bit to write about here at Bearing Arms. I was not wrong.


However, there was so much wrong with it that I couldn’t do a normal post. No, it was jacked up beyond all measure, and that requires a special tool, a tool called “The Fisk.”

If you’re unfamiliar with a fisk, it’s a point by point rebuttal of her claims, often with a fair bit of snark thrown in. Her words will be block-quoted, while mine won’t be.

We’ve heard passionate pleas in recent weeks from students who survived a massacre and lost their friends and teachers. Through their pain, with Wednesday’s National School Walkout and in many other ways, this generation of students growing up with active-shooter drills is demanding that lawmakers take action to reform gun laws.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misleading information about reasonable measures to ensure gun safety, and it distracts from the fundamental issue at hand: the safety of our children, communities, schools and businesses.

Wow, off to a good start. I agree. There is a lot of misleading information out there that distracts from the issue. Maybe this won’t be so bad, right?


One frequent refrain: “Criminals don’t follow the law.” This is absurd on its face. By this logic, we shouldn’t criminalize murder, rape or kidnapping. Laws exist to deter crime, and when a crime is committed, laws are there to ensure punishment is meted out.

Oh, we’re going there instead.

Okay, let’s. Criminals don’t follow the law, but you know who does? Law-abiding citizens. When we point out that criminals don’t follow the law, it’s because these laws are always framed as efforts to disarm criminals. But what these laws really end up doing is disarming the law-abiding, taking away their ability to defend themselves.


That’s what makes this issue different than murder, rape, and kidnapping. In those cases, your effort to deter and punish are fine. The existence of the law, at least in theory, protects the average citizen.

But gun laws are different because they don’t stop criminals. It’s not the possession of a gun by a criminal that’s a problem in and of itself. It’s them using it for other crimes. By taking away our guns, you make it so we can’t protect ourselves. In other words, the law protects the people who break it.

Banning assault weapons won’t prevent all shootings, but contrary to Republican talking points, we already know that banning these military-style weapons does reduce mass killings of six people or more. When the original ban was in place from 1994 to 2004, the number of such massacres fell by 37% and the number of people dying from them fell by 43%. After the ban expired, the number of gun massacres killing six or more increased by 183% and the number of people dying from them increased by 239%.

Big numbers. But what Sen. Feinstein fails to note is that, even then, such events are statistically rare both before and after the assault weapon ban. Nor does she point out that someone carrying handguns perpetrated the most lethal school shooting in American history. That was at Virginia Tech. That was also the most deadly mass shooting in American history up until the Pulse Orlando attack in 2016–after the sunset of the Assault Weapon Ban of 1994.

Another canard: The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Tell that to the 49 people killed in Orlando at the Pulse nightclub, where an armed guard was on duty and was unable to prevent the murders.

Yes, he was. And, unlike the school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, he fired at the attacker. By doing so, he forced the attacker to focus on the threat and not the innocents who could then escape.


But let’s not acknowledge that it did any good or anything.

Nor should we pay any attention to the countless other shootings that have been stopped by a good guy with a gun. Most recently, Sutherland Springs.

Another particularly terrible idea floated recently: arming teachers. How can we expect teachers, who already have too much on their plates, to undergo the same training as law enforcement officers and be able to confront killers armed with AR-15s?

Behold the strawman.

No one is saying teachers need to be trained like law enforcement officers. What we’re suggesting is allowing teachers who already have concealed carry permits to carry their weapons in just one more place, as this would serve as a deterrent since would-be mass shooters would have to take that into account. They wouldn’t know who is or isn’t carrying.

And, God forbid a shooting ever happen, the teacher can protect their students with the same firearm they protect themselves with everywhere else.

Besides, if handguns are so ineffective, then why do school resource officers carry them?

The falsehood that is most frustrating, however, is that Democrats have no ideas to counter this violence. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

As we’ve already seen, Democrats lack the basic understanding to even have an idea to counter this violence.

The first is getting military-style assault weapons such as the AR-15 off the streets.

The AR-15 isn’t the problem. As I type this, I have one three feet away. It’s not a danger to a soul. It’s the people who may wield one of these at the wrong time that you need to worry about (emphasis mine).

These weapons fire much faster than typical hunting rifles. They fire rounds that are also deadlier than those fired from a hunting rifle. A Parkland radiologist noted that an AR-15 round may leave an exit wound “the size of an orange.” These weapons are designed to kill people, not animals.


I had to bold that one sentence, just so everyone else can laugh along with me.

Look, I’m not going to go into the rate of fire of a semi-automatic hunting rifle versus an AR-15. I don’t feel like looking up every model for comparison purposes.

But what I will do is point and laugh at anyone who thinks the 5.56 round is somehow “deadlier” than something like a .308 or 30-06. By the way, her link? It goes to that known hub of gun enthusiasts, The Atlantic. They compiled a lot of various comments without checking on the veracity of the claims, and I don’t see one that says what she claims it does.

All rifles are deadly, but it’s important to note that the AR-15 isn’t legal for hunting deer in most states. It doesn’t put the deer down effectively and humanely enough.

That ought to tell you something.

Our current bill would ban 205 weapons by name, and any other weapons that accept a detachable magazine and have one military characteristic. The 1994 ban required two additional characteristics, a loophole that gun manufacturers exploited. We’d close that loophole.

Importantly, the bill also bans high-capacity magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds. The shooter at the  grade school in Newtown, Conn., for example, used 30-round magazines.

And the shooter in Parkland used 10-round magazines. Whoops.

High-capacity magazines also lead to deadlier mass shootings. While law enforcement might be able to respond to mass shootings in a matter of minutes, a matter of minutes is all it takes to fire hundreds of rounds. In Las Vegas, for example, the shooter fired 1,100 rounds in just 10 minutes — 110 rounds per minute.

Again, the Parkland killer had 10-rounders. There’s a process called “reloading.” Sen. Feinstein should look into it.


Under current law, licensed gun dealers cannot sell a handgun to anyone under 21, but they are allowed to sell assault rifles like the AR-15 to anyone over 18. This policy is dangerous and makes absolutely no sense.

While my preference is to ban assault weapons, ensuring teenagers can’t legally buy these weapons is a commonsense step forward.

You mean the same teenagers we issue fully-automatic weapons to when they enlist in the United States military? The same teenagers who are old enough to have jobs, raise families, pay taxes, and vote?

I’m sorry, but they’re adults or they’re not. If they’re not adults, stop making 18-year-old males register for Selective Service – aka the draft – because they can’t be trusted. Stop allowing them to vote or sign contracts. And don’t let them have families. After all, without even the option of buying a gun, how can they protect that family?

Another problem is a legal loophole permitting accessories such as bump stocks, which allow semiautomatic weapons to fire at the same rate as machine guns. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has concluded that it cannot regulate or ban these devices without a new law.

While President Trump has directed the ATF to review the issue, if the agency were to reverse its analysis after admitting that it lacks the authority, inevitable lawsuits would tie up any regulations banning these devices for years.

Yes, they would. However, it’s also important to note that there is no “loophole” permitting bump stocks. The law doesn’t ban rapid fire, it bans machine guns and has a strict definition of what constitutes one. A bump stock does not circumvent that. It merely makes a type of rapid-fire called bump fire easier. That’s it.


Banning bump stocks won’t stop bump fire, and it won’t make anyone safer.

Too often, family and friends were aware that a family member posed a threat to themselves or others but were unable to act. The gun lobby and their allies say we need to take guns away from those who exhibit “red flags,” but it fails to explain that families and law enforcement have little recourse in these situations.

Barring someone who does not fall into the one of the nine prohibited purchaser categories from buying or keeping weapons can be done only through a legal process that few states have in place. Our bill would help states establish a court process to allow family members and law enforcement to petition to bar someone from purchasing or possessing weapons.

Now we’re getting more into something I can deal with. I’m concerned about these protection orders, but they’re at least aimed at stopping violent people.

However, they’re still focused on the gun, not the potential violent behavior. It doesn’t deal with the fact that a violent person can kill more people with a truck than the Las Vegas shooter did with an AR-15 and a bump stock. That is where we need to start.

Last, none of the above will make a difference unless we improve the background check system by ensuring that states and federal agencies submit required records and ensure that all sales — not just those at federally licensed dealers — require a background check.

And when it’s found out that people aren’t complying with this rule, she’ll want a national registration, because that’s the only way this will ever accomplish anything.

I’m hopeful that the groundswell of activism we’ve seen in the wake of the shooting in Parkland, Fla., will see results. The American people have always stood on the side of gun safety, and now they’re making it clear that lawmakers who don’t back these commonsense proposals to save lives will face consequences.


They’ve “always stood on the side of gun safety?”

First, this isn’t gun safety. It’s gun control. Gun safety would be making sure people know how to handle a firearm safely. This is about control. At it’s most generous reading, it’s about controlling the flow of guns into the wrong hands. In reality, it’s just about control. Stop couching it in feel-good euphemisms.

Second, they haven’t. Like any issue, the public’s support for gun control ebbs and flows depending on any number of factors. The American people can be pretty wishy-washy, which is why gun rights activists refuse to give in because the public thinks we should. We know that it’s based on emotion, not fact.

Which is why we’re not giving another inch. Period.

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