Sunday, June 19, 2016

Does the Truth Matter?

Publications from the Washington Post to Newsweek to the Huffington Post published screeds against the AR-15 and “assault weapons,” and politicians, pundits, and celebrities alike rushed to signal their liberal virtue by attacking the rifle and calling for banning automatic weapons.
“I believe weapons of war have no place on our streets,” said Hillary Clinton. “Ban automatic weapons,” tweeted “Family Guy” creator Seth McFarlane. The AR-15 “is the weapon of mass destruction that has killed … innocent party-goers in Orlando” reads an image published on Facebook by the Huffington Post.
There are just a few glaring problems with this narrative — there’s no such thing as an “assault weapon”, automatic weapons are already illegal, and Islamic terrorist Omar Mateen didn’t use an AR-15 in his attack.

Truth is usually the first casualty in politics.

Indeed, it is this stunning ignorance of firearms that seems in part responsible for liberals’ hatred of the AR-15. Mr. MacFarlane’s call for an automatic weapons ban is just a little late. Automatic firearms — firearms in which one trigger pull releases multiple rounds — have been regulated heavily in American since the National Firearms Act of 1934, and in 1986 the Federal government banned completely the sale or transfer of new machine guns to civilians.
Fine, the gun control advocate might say. Automatic weapons might already be illegal, but surely there’s no reason for civilians to have military grade assault weapons. That gun control advocate would be wrong again.
“Prior to 1989, the term ‘assault weapon’ did not exist in the lexicon of firearms. It is a political term, developed by anti-gun publicists to expand the category of ‘assault rifles.’” wrote Bruce H. Kobayashi and Joseph E. Olson in the Stanford Law and Policy Review. And of course by that time “assault rifles,” or machine guns, were already illegal.

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