Colorado Columnist Glosses Over Facts on 'Assault Weapons' Ban

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Colorado's proposed assault weapon ban is really something else. We've talked about it plenty, already, but most people in the state aren't actually reading Bearing Arms for their daily news.


Obviously, they should, because we're awesome and all that, but they don't.

Instead, they tend to focus on state and local outlets to cover news, particularly political news, in their state.

Yet it seems they're making a massive mistake in at least one case.

See, I get that columnists are biased. In fact, that's the proper place for opinion in the news. It's not in the day-to-day reporting but on the appropriately named opinion section of any publication.

But just because it's opinion doesn't mean it's intelligent. It also doesn't mean facts are presented worth a damn, as in this one from Colorado Politics.

As my regular reader (Hi, Jeff!) may have noted, I talk about guns fairly often. In fact, throughout the last nearly eight years I have been writing this column I’ve mentioned gun issues no fewer than 65 times. To sum up: I own several guns, and I also believe in reasonable gun regulation. But, of course, ay, there’s the rub.

That's right. "I'm a gun owner but..."

We all know how that goes, don't we?

Well, the author's attempt at self-deprecating humor aside, he decides to talk about a couple of things, including the new Biden administration rule on the so-called gun show loophole. We won't get into that because, frankly, his opinion is about as malformed on that as the assault weapon ban discussion we're going to focus on.

For guns, military grade, at least to me, can be broken down into the answers to three questions: How far does it shoot? How rapidly does it shoot? And how many rounds does it send downrange from a single magazine? If the answers are close to what I carried as a military cop (120 rounds, semi-automatic, high-power assault rifle), it is in the military grade realm, and we should think carefully as to whether regular folks should be able to carry such a weapon.

The core of the issue to me is not what guns look like. Back in the 1994 there was a 10-year ban on new manufacturing only of assault rifles. It was not renewed when it expired. To this day, I applaud the intent of the bill — keeping military-grade weapons out of non-military folks’ hands.

But there were significant problems with that bill, in spite of the good it did. Style got confused with grade. For example, my Brown Bess musket has a bayonet lug, that is to say, a bit of metal on the barrel upon which you can affix a bayonet. Under the 1994 law, there were modern assault rifles that were legal, unless a bayonet lug was affixed. With a lug attached, that particular model was banned. That didn’t make any sense. That lug, of course, had nothing to do with the gun’s ability to kill. There are few bayonet charges in the modern military. We need to make sure our Colorado bill does not suffer from similar well-intended but ultimately ineffective provisions.


Now, he's not wrong about how the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban defined an "assault weapon" as being based on appearance rather than any other factor. As a result, it was pretty easy to get around it by simply removing what most of us euphemistically called "evil features" that supposedly made an assault weapon and assault weapon.

The bayonet lug was just one of them, and it was a common one to remove because most people had absolutely no interest in affixing a bayonet to their rifles. Some did, of course, but most didn't. Other evil features included things like collapsible stocks, flash hiders, and pistol grips.

The law said you could only have two of these features in addition to the detachable magazine, which meant people could pick and choose which they wanted, and they did.

So AR-15s were readily available during the assault weapon ban period, which is why claims that the ban worked are so downright laughable. If crime dropped, it had nothing to do with a ban that didn't actually ban anything.

So yes, the author is right about the fact that the law was about cosmetics.

Moving on...

The bill has lots of exemptions, and you can read the bill yourself to see what they are. And one very important thing the bill would ban is the so-called bump stock. This device, more formally known as a “rapid-fire trigger activator” is a mass-murder device.

You may recall the horrible mass shooting back in 2017 in Las Vegas, when the murderer, whose name I shall never mention, used these bump stocks to essentially convert his semi-automatic assault rifles (you have to pull the trigger once for every bullet) to fully automatic (pull and hold the trigger, and all the rounds in the magazine fire very rapidly).


Except that a bump stock doesn't turn it into a fully automatic weapon, and at least he gets the definition more right than most who try to make the claim. All a bump stock does is facilitate bump firing, a method for pulling the trigger very, very quickly.

You can also do this with a rubber band or a belt loop. Or your finger if you're quick enough.

It should be remembered that bump fire is still legal, the other methods for facilitating it are all still legal, and there's been no other shooting like Las Vegas in spite of that, nor were there any before.

But hey, he's a military guy who supposedly knows a bit about guns.

And yet, here's where he goes really off the rails.

I don’t know how the Colorado legislation will do from here on out, but as near as I can tell, the legislation seems to be on the right track. But a few days ago, President Biden signed new regulations that will have an impact regarding what most gun-control advocates have long thought was a major problem: gun show sales. Now, as part of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, gun-show dealers will be required to obtain a license and to conduct background checks regardless of location.

Now, we're not getting into his take on Biden's order, but that's because of what he didn't acknowledge about Colorado's bill that he thinks is "on the right track."

He fails to note that it would effectively ban most handguns purchased for self-defense in the entire state.

The bill bans anything that is fed via a detachable magazine and possesses a pistol grip. That includes your grandad's 1911 from World War II or Korea, your Glock 19, or every other semi-automatic firearm in existence.


This isn't "on the right track" by any stretch of the imagination as the only things people will have to defend themselves are pump-action shotguns, lever- or bolt-action rifles, and revolvers.

It'll basically take firearm technology back to the 19th Century in Colorado, all while criminals will disobey these laws and simply smuggle guns in from other states.

He spends two paragraphs going on about bump stocks--something that, to be honest, most people weren't going to be impacted by in the first place because most people had no interest in owning them--and completely ignores how the law will ban the one type of gun most likely to be found in any gun safe in Colorado.

If anyone wants to wonder why so few of us have any use for the "I'm a gun owner but..." crowd, people like this are why.

I get that this is an opinion and everyone has a right to their own opinions. They don't have a right to their own facts, though, nor do they get to escape criticism when they blatantly misrepresent reality to push their anti-gun agenda.

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