NRA Explore
APPEARS IN News

Prohibitionists Give up on Semi-Auto Bans? Not So Fast

Friday, September 12, 2014

For the last 25 years, banning so-called “assault weapons” has been at the forefront of the anti-gun agenda.  However, in recent days, an article from ProPublica and a “study” from The Center for American Progress indicated that the gun control establishment is shifting away from advocating for semi-auto bans and towards background checks/registration.  The “coincidence” of these publications appearing days apart hints at what might be public relations scheming, rather than a genuine shift in viewpoint.

While this supposed de-emphasis on semi-auto bans should be met with skepticism by all gun rights supporters, the items discussing the reevaluation of priorities are instructive in that they illustrate the quarter-century-long campaign against semi-autos was unjustified from inception.

The ProPublica article cites several prominent gun control activists who are now downplaying the importance of semi-auto bans.  Bloomberg mouthpiece Shannon Watts, who started Moms Demand Action specifically to target semi-autos, acknowledged to ProPublica that at some point she “realized that pushing for a ban isn’t the best way to prevent gun deaths.”  Similarly, Bloomberg employee Erika Soto Lamb mused, in regards to semi-auto bans, “we feel like it’s a more productive use of our time, effort, money, voices, and votes [to focus] on policies that are going to save the most lives.”  The Brady Campaign’s Dan Gross also noted a shift in focus, stating that semi-auto bans are not the “greatest opportunity” to “prevent gun violence.”

The ProPublica item goes on to cite the 2004 federally-funded University of Pennsylvania study that determined the federal semi-auto ban’s “impact on gun violence is likely to be small at best, and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”  NRA has been quoting this study’s findings for a decade.

For its part, the Center for American Progress’ “Assault Weapons Revisited” paper noted that there has been a shift in the gun control community towards supporting restrictions on “who” may own firearms rather than “which” types of firearms Americans can own.  Nevertheless, the paper also advocates for an array of policy options for restricting semi-auto ownership, just short of a total ban (see related story).

These acknowledgements and purported changes in goals are a far cry from the hysterical rhetoric we heard when gun controllers were advocating for the federal semi-auto ban in the early nineties and for its renewal in 2004.  In 1994, then President of Handgun Control Inc. (later renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence) Richard Aborn, emoted, “The case to ban assault weapons is so overwhelming that it need not be discussed further.”  In the statement, Aborn went on to insist, “While our children are crying out they are also watching… What message will we send them if the law refuses to respond to their cry for help by failing to remove weapons of war from their midst?”  A 1990 Brady ad referred to popular semi-autos as “drug guns.”

In the in the mid-to-late 2000s, the Brady Campaign attempted to gin up support for renewing the federal ban by exploiting the public’s fear of terrorism.  Prior to the ban’s sunset in 2004, Brady lamented, “we are on the brink of allowing a flood of that ‘mass-produced mayhem’ to be available to our terrorist enemies who seek the tools of violence.”  Other Brady materials called the sunset, a “dire threat to public safety.”

Needless to say, similar rhetoric has accompanied more recent “assault weapon” ban campaigns, with President Obama himself asserting in 2012, “weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don’t belong on our streets.”  New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) even indicated earlier this year that opponents of his expanded “assaults weapons” ban are extremists who "have no place in the state of New York."

A murder rate that has continued to drop since 2004, multiple studies on the nonexistent effect of the 1994 ban, and now the gun control activist’s own acknowledgements, make clear that the campaign against semi-autos was never about evidence-based public policy.  Instead, it was an attempt to use emotion to further a major front in the cultural war on gun owners:  banning guns – any guns – by any means possible.

Even though the gun control community’s emphasis may have shifted to background checks and registration, their tactics are the same.  Similar to the anti-semi-auto campaign, gun controllers continue to rely on wild rhetoric and misinformation.  The most notable recent example is the continued misuse of the statistic purporting to show that 40 percent of firearms sales occur without a background check, to impress upon people just how supposedly vital background check/registration legislation is.  Even though the statistic has been debunked by the Washington Post and the recent experience of Colorado, the website for Everytown for Gun Safety (among other gun control outlets) still promotes the fallacy.

NRA members understand the truth.  The gun control movement wants to eliminate civilian firearm ownership.  As the public would never support this, firearm prohibitionists need to take incremental steps towards their goal.  Any incremental step towards their ultimate goal is a victory for them, no matter how illogical or unsupported by fact.  When one of their proposals is soundly rejected, they simply shift to another one of their proposals, while temporarily shelving the other for a more opportune time.

Today the primary focus of the major gun control organizations is background check/registration legislation.  However, these groups would gladly shift back to primarily advocating for gun bans if given an opportunity to advance such legislation.  That is why, regardless of the gun control movement’s current pet cause, gun rights supporters must remain vigilant on all the various issues that affect our rights and the underlying tactics of emotional manipulation and disinformation our opposition uses to promote their agenda.

TRENDING NOW
Couric’s Under the Gun, Under Fire Again

News  

Friday, August 26, 2016

Couric’s Under the Gun, Under Fire Again

The film Under the Gun, produced and narrated by news anchor Katie Couric and directed by Stephanie Soechtig, took a major credibility hit soon after its May release, when it was revealed that the film ...

Massachusetts AG Renews Attack on Gun Owners

News  

Friday, August 26, 2016

Massachusetts AG Renews Attack on Gun Owners

Last week, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey added to the confusion caused by her decision to unilaterally ban common semi-automatic firearms by releasing a list of “Guns That Are Not Assault Weapons.” In other words, ...

Libertarian VP Candidate William F. Weld Continues to be Anti-Gun

News  

Friday, August 26, 2016

Libertarian VP Candidate William F. Weld Continues to be Anti-Gun

As governor of Massachusetts, William Weld supported various gun control schemes, including a ban on semi-automatic firearms.  Unfortunately, and despite being the Libertarian candidate for vice president, Weld continues his anti-gun ways.

Injunction Sought Against Texas Campus Carry Denied by Judge

News  

Friday, August 26, 2016

Injunction Sought Against Texas Campus Carry Denied by Judge

In July, University of Texas at Austin professors Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore, and Mia Carter filed suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and UT officials to ...

As Venezuelan Regime Loses Grip, Maduro Targets Guns

News  

Friday, August 26, 2016

As Venezuelan Regime Loses Grip, Maduro Targets Guns

Amid social and economic strife that threatens to topple the regime of Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan government is employing a favorite tactic of tyrants the world over, further gun control. Last week, Reuters reported that Venezuela Interior ...

Tennessee: Pro-Gun Law to Go into Effect Friday

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tennessee: Pro-Gun Law to Go into Effect Friday

During the 2016 Legislative Session, the Tennessee Legislature passed multiple pro-gun bills that promote and protect your Second Amendment rights

Virginia: Governor McAuliffe Gun Ban Proposal to be Considered on Wednesday

Monday, August 29, 2016

Virginia: Governor McAuliffe Gun Ban Proposal to be Considered on Wednesday

On Wednesday, August 31, the Department of General Services is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Governor Terry McAuliffe’s executive order to permanently ban the concealed carry of firearms in executive branch offices.

News  

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

NRA Statement on Governor Christie's Conditional Vetoes of Anti-Gun Bills

NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox applauds New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's heroic conditional vetoes of two anti-gun bills that would further restrict the rights of firearm owners throughout the Garden State.

California: Counting Down to the end of the 2016 Legislative Session

Friday, August 26, 2016

California: Counting Down to the end of the 2016 Legislative Session

As the California legislature enters the final days of the 2016 legislative session your action is needed on several bills. This week both a pro-gun bill, AB 2510, and an anti-gun bill, SB 1332, were ...

Massachusetts Attorney General Unilaterally Bans Thousands of Previously Legal Guns

News  

Friday, July 22, 2016

Massachusetts Attorney General Unilaterally Bans Thousands of Previously Legal Guns

On July 19, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey issued an “enforcement notice” that greatly expands the Commonwealth’s definition of “assault weapon.”  AG Healey alleges that the ban’s definition of “copy” or “duplicate” “assault weapons” has been misinterpreted ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.