Tuesday, March 27, 2007

H.R. 1022 Still Alive in Committee

The latest attempt to re-institute the 1994 “Assault Weapon Ban” is in committee with 33 co-sponsors. This bill in many ways is worse than the ’94 bill because it has a wider list of firearms receiving a new, and inaccurate, definition.

While gun control advocates seem to believe that arbitrarily banning certain classes of firearms is “common sense” and vital to public safety, the facts speak otherwise. According to this article in the Washington Times “an independent study commissioned by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ)...” stated:

"’We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation's recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence,’ said the unreleased NIJ report, written by Christopher Koper, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.”

“The report also noted that assault weapons were ‘rarely used in gun crimes even before the ban.’"

So one really has to ask WHY so many people are figuratively (as they’re clearly not literally) “up in arms” about certain forms of semi-automatic firearms.

Remember to write your representative on this one.

FYI, here’s a copy of my letter to my Congressional Representative:

I am writing today in regards to bill H.R. 1022, “To reauthorize the assault weapons ban, and for other purposes”. I have watched with dismay as this bill was proposed, referred to committee, has picked up many co-sponsors, and now is potentially headed for a full vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.

At its core, this bill represents nothing more than misguided attempt to stop crime through the limitation of the firearm ownership rights of ordinary American citizens, rights that are allegedly protected by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I strongly urge you to speak out against this piece of legislation, and vote against it on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Beyond the obvious Constitutional issues, H.R.1022 is based on numerous flawed premises. First, the weapons it seeks to ban are not “assault weapons”. An assault weapon is a firearm capable of both semi-automatic and FULLY automatic fire. True “assault weapons” are already covered by existing regulations. This bill specifically concerns semi-automatic firearms only. I am therefore forced to conclude that either the bill’s authors and sponsors are ignorant of that basic fact and are therefore unqualified to propose such legislation, or are deliberately misusing the term to obfuscate the issue for other political purposes.

The stated purpose of most gun control legislation is to reduce crime and violence, yet time and again it has been demonstrated that firearm bans in of themselves have no direct impact on the overall crime rate. Municipalities with the strictest gun control laws have the highest murder rates while those with concealed carry laws have the lowest. Furthermore, the weapons covered by this bill are used infrequently in crimes, and the fact that they are receiving such focused attention by the legislature seems to be not only a waste of time, but smacks of an agenda unrelated to the reduction of crime and violence.

If you look carefully at the text of this bill, it attempts to ban virtually every semi-automatic firearm in common use for both hunting and sporting purposes in the United States. This particular piece of legislation would also ban the M1 Carbine (3.a.30.A.xi) – a semi-automatic firearm developed during the Second World War and distributed to American Citizens by the United States Federal Government under the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) and its predecessor the DCM. I find it unconscionable that members of the Congress of the United States would seek to outlaw a rifle provided by our government to its citizens to encourage responsible firearm use.

In conclusion, I strongly urge you to defeat bill H.R. 1022, “To reauthorize the assault weapons ban, and for other purposes”. The proposed legislation would do absolutely nothing to deter violent crime, and would merely serve to prohibit the ownership of weapons already held by law-abiding American citizens. I will be tracking the progress of this bill closely and your vote on this particular piece of legislation will factor heavily in my vote in the 2008 election.

Until next time!

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