In gun control circles, the phrase “common sense” gun control gets used an awful lot. Anti-gun advocates claim that their proposals are “common sense” without actually understanding that just because something looks like a good idea, doesn’t mean that it is. It’s not common sense if the idea is an absolute trainwreck.
Enter President Joe Biden.
With his announcement Sunday, he’s talking about gun control. He’s even termed it as “common sense” gun control.
Yet it’s nothing of the sort, as columnist Jacob Sullum points out in his most recent syndicated column.
This week, President Joe Biden marked the three-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, by urging Congress to “enact commonsense gun law reforms.” The implication was that the gun controls Biden favors would prevent crimes like the Parkland massacre.
There is little reason to think that’s true. The bills Biden is eager to sign would instead arbitrarily limit Second Amendment rights and threaten the viability of the industry that makes it possible to exercise them.
Biden wants to prohibit production and sale of “assault weapons” and require that current owners either surrender their firearms to the government or follow the same tax and registration requirements that apply to machine guns. Yet he concedes that the 1994 federal “assault weapon” ban, which expired in 2004, had no impact on the lethality of legal firearms.
The problem, according to Biden, was that manufacturers could comply with the law by “making minor modifications to their products — modifications that leave them just as deadly.” But there is no way around that problem, since laws like these are based on “military-style” features, such as folding stocks, threaded barrels, and bayonet mounts, that have nothing to do with a weapon’s destructive power.
Even if the government could eliminate all guns with those features, would-be mass shooters would have plenty of equally lethal alternatives. Several of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history were carried out with weapons that would not be covered by Biden’s ban.
These are, of course, excellent points.
I’d add that based on crime statistics, so-called assault weapons are used in only a paltry number of crimes in general. It’s simply not a great choice for criminals looking for something they can easily conceal from the prying eyes of law enforcement as they mill about their communities.
As a result, such a ban would do extremely little to combat either mass shootings or crime in general.
So why would Biden make this is a priority?
Because “assault weapons” are scary looking. They frighten those inner-city dwellers who would never think to own such a weapon. It terrifies them to no end to see scary-looking guns that resemble what the military has.
They don’t understand that the functionality of these weapons is limited compared to their military brethren. They don’t understand the difference between “semi-auto” and “fully-automatic.” They aren’t savvy about all these things, they just know the sight of such weapons makes them wet themselves.
And Joe Biden is going to magically make them all go away.
It’s not happening. Even if he passes the law he wants, these guns will still be around for ages upon ages. They’re not going away with the stroke of a president’s pen.
That should be common sense, but based on anti-gunners’ use of the term, I’m not sure they realize that.
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