There were two horrific shootings in America yesterday. Actually there were probably a few more than that if you count Chicago and Baltimore, but there were two that made the headlines. There were two that were instantly politicized. There were two that reminded us that politicians don’t always think before they speak.
The Washington Examiner posted an article yesterday about Senator Kamala Harris’ response to the shooting in Texas:
California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris gave details about her gun control proposals in the wake of the deadly El Paso, Texas shooting after she addressed union members at the AFSCME forum at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Saturday.
When asked by the Washington Examiner if her plan would include legal gun owner databases or gun confiscation via law enforcement visits to residents who own banned firearms, she replied, “I’m actually prepared to take executive action to put in place rules that improve this situation.”
She continued, “I also have as part of my background and experience working on this issue, when I was attorney general [of California], and we put resources into allowing law enforcement to actually knock on the doors of people who were on two lists — a list where they had been found by a court to be a danger to themselves and others.
“They were on a list where they were precluded and prohibited from owning a gun because of a conviction that prohibited that ownership. Those lists were combined and then we sent law enforcement out to take those guns, because, listen, we have to deal with this on all levels, but we have to do this with a sense of urgency,” Harris added.
First of all, what firearms is she going to ban?
In June 2016, The Federalist reported:
But before we dive into whether the assault weapons ban was merely dumb, or if it was monumentally stupid and counterproductive, it’s important to define what the previous federal ban covered and how it defined an “assault weapon.” The 1994 assault weapons law banned semi-automatic rifles only if they had any two of the following five features in addition to a detachable magazine: a collapsible stock, a pistol grip, a bayonet mount, a flash suppressor, or a grenade launcher.
That’s it. Not one of those cosmetic features has anything whatsoever to do with how or what a gun fires. Note that under the 1994 law, the mere existence of a bayonet lug, not even the bayonet itself, somehow turned a garden-variety rifle into a bloodthirsty killing machine. Guns with fixed stocks? Very safe. But guns where a stock has more than one position? Obviously they’re murder factories. A rifle with both a bayonet lug and a collapsible stock? Perish the thought.
A collapsible stock does not make a rifle more deadly. Nor does a pistol grip. Nor does a bayonet mount. Nor does a flash suppressor. And for heaven’s sake, good luck finding, let alone purchasing, 40mm explosive grenades for your rifle-mounted grenade launcher (and remember: the grenade launcher itself is fine, just as long as you don’t put the ultra-deadly bayonet lug anywhere near it).
The complete unfamiliarity with guns and how they work that led to the inept definitions in the 1994 law was on full display in a now-infamous television interview with Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a New York congresswoman who backed the so-called assault weapons ban. In the interview, Tucker Carlson asked McCarthy to define “barrel shroud,” a firearm feature regulated by the law. Here’s how she answered:
CARLSON: I read the legislation and it said that it would regulate “barrel shrouds.” What’s a barrel shroud and why should we regulate that?
MCCARTHY:The guns that were chosen back in those days were basically the guns that most gangs and criminals were using to kill our police officers. I’m not saying it was the best bill, but that was they could get out at that particular time.
CARLSON: Ok. Do you know what a barrel shroud is?
MCCARTHY: I actually don’t know what a barrel shroud is. I think it’s the shoulder thing that goes up.”
Senator Harris, you can confiscate all the guns and rifles you want and criminals will still manage to get them. At that point you have created an unarmed general population that is more vulnerable to gun crimes. Is that what you really want?