Banning ‘Assault Weapons’ Accomplishes Nothing

by GREGORY D. LEE January 10, 2013

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said that with the new Congress she will reintroduce the so-called "Assault Weapon" ban. Her new version of the ban is like the old version on steroids. She now wants to create a national firearms registry in which gun owners are fingerprinted and photographed much like when a criminal is arrested and booked into jail. For the privilege of having gun owners and their firearms registered, it will cost them a couple of hundred dollars fee. Also in her bill she wants to add many additional weapons that cannot be manufactured, purchased, imported or transferred.

Liberals have a particular disdain for the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, which has been manufactured for the last 30-years or so. The latest estimate is there are about 30 million AR-15s in the possession of law abiding citizens who use them for sport shooting, hunting, and self-protection. That 30-million figure does not count the numerous Soviet style AK-47 semi-automatic rifles that have been legally purchased.

Banning "high capacity" rifle magazines will also accomplish nothing. David Gregory used one as a prop on Meet the Press to indignantly wave in the face of Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice-president of the NRA. Obviously, someone from Gregory's staff drove into Virginia where it could be purchase it for around $25.00. For every AR-15 there is, the owners probably own at least four 30-round magazines, so do the math on how many exsist. The same goes for semi-automatic pistols. Many large caliber handguns have a capacity of about 12 or less. So, are two less rounds going to make a significant difference? It does if you're in a gunfight with a robber who has a handgun that can shoot more bullets then your gun can before reloading. People like Sen. Feinstein who want smaller capacity magazines are simply placing the law abiding citizen at a disadvantage against an armed aggressor. Proponents for smaller capacity magazines frequently refer to them as "clips," illustrating their lack of knowledge on firearms and tactics.

Many AR-15 owners are military veterans. While in the service they were issued an M-16 or M-4, which is what AR-15s are designed after. The M-16 is fully automatic weapon while the M-4 can fire a burst of three-rounds with one trigger pull. These veterans have been trained how to safely handle the weapons and were impressed with their performance. Other AR-15 owners who never served in the military buy these weapons because they know that if it's good enough for the military, it should be good enough for them. If you live on a ranch or farm and are virtually next to the middle of nowhere, owning such a weapon makes perfect sense to protect yourself, your animals, and your property from wolves, coyotes, bandits and criminal illegal aliens transiting through your property. These very weapons were effectively used by Korea-American store owners to protect their lives and property during the urban Los Angeles "Rodney King" riots.

California has its own version of an "Assault Weapons" ban. The many restrictions placed on manufacturers to make a "California compliant" AR-15 have produced a laughable version of the most popular rifle in America. The weapon comes with a 10-round magazine that cannot be ejected from the magazine well without the use of either a special tool or the tip of a .223 caliber bullet that can press the magazine release button through a hole where the button normally would be. It is as if the weapon was designed by a committee of liberals to come up with the least effective rifle for hunting and personal protection possible. Now even those neutered versions of the AR-15 would be banned under Sen. Feinstein's new weapons ban.

The original ban obviously did not work, as evidenced by the Columbine school shooting, so what makes Sen. Feinstein think her new and improved version will accomplish anything different? She ignores the inconvenient truth that more people are killed by blunt objects than assault rifles every year.

The only effective way to eliminate the possible use of one of these "military style" weapons in a future mass killing incident would be to completely confiscate them from their owners. Any attempt to do so would not only be unconstitutional, it would create civil disobedience of the kind not witnessed since the Civil War.

Sen. Feinstein should focus on the root cause of mass shootings: mental illness. She wants to photograph and fingerprint gun owners, but would never consider establishing a national registry of people inflicted with mental illness to insure these people cannot purchase firearms. That would violate their right to privacy.

Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Gregory D. Lee is a retired Supervisory Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the author of three criminal justice textbooks. While on DEA diplomatic assignment in Pakistan, he was involved in the investigation of several notable terrorism events and arrests. He recently retired after more than 39 years of active and reserve service from the U.S. Army Reserve as a Chief Warrant Officer Five Special Agent for the Criminal Investigation Division Command, better known as CID. In 2011 he completed a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan while on special assignment to the Special Operations Command Europe. Visit his website at and contact him at

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