On Feb. 14, 2007, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) introduced H.R. 1022, a bill with the stated purpose, "to reauthorize the assault weapons ban, and for other purposes." McCarthy's choice of words warrants explanation.
Obviously, what she means by "assault weapons ban" is the now-discredited Clinton Gun Ban of 1994. Congress allowed the ban to expire in 2004 for multiple reasons, including the fact that studies by the Congressional Research Service, congressionally-mandated studies, and studies by state and local law enforcement agencies showed that guns affected by the ban had been used in only a small percentage of crime, before and after the ban was imposed.
Reauthorizing the Clinton ban would be bad enough. The guns that it temporarily banned--very widely used for target shooting, hunting and home protection--are still used in only a small percentage of crime. But McCarthy's "other purposes" would make matters even worse. H.R. 1022 would ban every gun banned by the Clinton ban, plus millions more guns, including:
- Every gun made to complywith the Clinton ban. (The Clinton ban dictated the kinds of grips, stocks and attachments new guns could have. Manufacturers modified new guns to the Clinton requirements. H.R. 1022 would ban the modified guns too.
- Guns exemptedby the Clinton ban. (Ruger Mini-14s and -30s, and Ranch Rifles; .30 cal. carbines; and fixed-magazine, semi-automatic, center-fire rifles that hold more than 10 rounds.)
- Allsemi-automatic shotguns. (E.g., Remington, Winchester, Beretta and Benelli, used for hunting, sport shooting and self-defense. H.R. 1022 would ban them because they have "any characteristic that can function as a grip," and would also ban their main component, called the "receiver.")
- Alldetachable-magazine semi-automatic rifles-including, for example, the ubiquitous Ruger 10/22 .22 rimfire-because they have "any characteristic that can function as a grip.
- Target shooting rifles. (E.g., the three centerfire rifles most popular for marksmanship competitions: the Colt AR-15, the Springfield M1A and the M1 "Garand.")
- Anysemi-automatic shotgun or rifle an Attorney General one day claims isn't "sporting," even though the constitutions of the U.S. and 44 states, and the laws of all 50 states, recognize the right to use guns for defense.
- 65 named guns (the Clinton law banned 19 by name); semi-auto fixed-magazine pistols of over 10 rounds capacity; and frames, receivers and parts used to repair or refurbish guns.
H.R. 1022 would also ban the importation of magazines exempted by the Clinton ban, ban the sale of a legally-owned "assault weapon" with a magazine of over 10 rounds capacity, and begin backdoor registration of guns, by requiring private sales of banned guns, frames, receivers and parts to be conducted through licensed dealers. Finally, whereas the Clinton Gun Ban was imposed for a 10-year trial period, H.R. 1022 would be a permanent ban.