Assault Weapons Ban Useless, Won’t Stop School Shootings, Expert Says

Opinion

 
on February 05 2013 12:27 PM

Senator Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., has done a fine job striking fear in the hearts of the American people, displaying an array of terrifying assault rifles as she tries to promote her assault weapons ban “prohibit[ing] the sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of 157 dangerous military-style assault weapons.”

But what Feinstein fails to acknowledge is that, while these weapons might look scary, they’re no more lethal than your average hunting rifle.

Expert opinion corroborates this.

“There’s no such thing as a low-power gun.  All guns are high-power,” explained William Graves, a certified firearms expert witness who has testified in U.S. District Court.  “The AR-15 assault rifle has one of the smallest calibers in the world.  The diameter of the bullet is small, a .22 diameter.  A hunting rifle tends to be .30 in diameter or .44 for big game.  They’re much bigger.  The difference is cosmetics. So-called assault rifles look scary.” 

And that’s just what Feinstein’s proposes to ban -- scary cosmetics. Feinstein’s bill would outlaw all semiautomatic rifles with a detachable magazine that have just one military feature.  But these features make the rifles no more deadly.  

For instance, Feinstein’s bill would ban weapons that have military-inspired features like a “pistol grip” or “forward grip.” But the pistol grip merely affects where your hand rests while holding the gun. And the forward grip is a piece of plastic that screws onto the front end of the firearm, so that now the gun has a grip in both the front and back.

Neither the pistol grip nor forward grip makes the firearm any more dangerous, Graves said, owner of the GPS Defense Sniper School -- the only privately owned sniper school with a GSA United States Government contract and certified Law Enforcement Training School.

“They’re simply cosmetic features,” he said. 

The Feinstein legislation would also use the “barrel shroud” as a distinguishing factor for banning guns.  But a barrel shroud just encircles the front of the gun to ensure that the shooter does not touch the barrel, where it’s too hot. Graves acknowledged that this, too, has no impact on the lethality of the rifle.

So, as the legislation is deconstructed piece by piece, it becomes very clear that it is both nonsensical and ineffective.  Going after assault rifles is simply not the answer.

“We need to look at the big picture,” Graves said. “Three hundred and fifty people have been killed with ‘assault weapons’ since the previous ban expired [in 2004].  Divide that by eight years, and you’ll see that 17 times more people freeze to death.” 

Moreover, when a criminal does use a firearm, they usually are not using an assault rifle.  Graves pointed out that it’s easy to stick four pistols in your pockets without anyone noticing, but it’s a lot harder to walk around with an assault rifle.

“If you go down to the police evidence room, take the last 100 guns seized, and find out the caliber, you’ll find that it was largely pistols or small caliber weapons,” Graves explained.  “That’s what gangbangers or bank robbers have.”  

Taken together, Feinstein’s bill amounts to nothing more than a PR stunt, an attempt to gin up feigned hysteria.  Meanwhile, real reforms that could actually make a difference, like armed guards in schools or monitoring mental health issues, fall by the wayside.

According to the Wall Street Journal, one of Majority Leader Harry Reid’s top aides said Democratic leaders hope to see a gun package on the Senate floor as early as next month. The gun package would contain many of President Barack Obama’s proposals, minus the assault weapons ban. 

Reid also told ABC’s “This Week” that, while he has not supported an assault weapons ban in the past, he is open to allowing Senator Feinstein’s bill to have a vote on the Senate floor.

But before bringing this bill to the floor, perhaps Democratic leaders should heed a word from Graves:

“Shooting kids is illegal already.  Taking guns into gun free zones was already legislated,” he said. “Adam Lanza was too young to possess a handgun.  That legislation didn’t work.  Extra charges on the dead guy aren’t going to work.”

Kayleigh McEnany is a writer and political activist who graduated from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and studied at Oxford University. She is the founder of www.RealReaganConservative.com.

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