Monday, September 13, 2004

BklynGirl's comments in their entirety

Here is an email I received from a good friend of mine, I didn't do it justice by chopping it up, so I will post it in its entirety.

I'm not from Texas, but I'll take a bang at it (get it? bang?...never

First off, you need to do your homework - what exactly IS an assault
rifle? An  AK-47?  But I know of several people who (legally)I bought
AK-47's this year. So clearly it's either (a) not an assault  weapon or
(b) an assault weapon not actually banned by the assault weapons ban.
Confused yet?

Under the terms of the ban, assault weapon is a term that does not
apply to a particular firearm (surprise!) - instead, it applies to a
mix-and-match set of *features* for certain firearms. As an example,
let's take an AR-15.  It was manufactured sometime after 1994.  The
federal law covers "any  semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to
accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2  of..." and then lists
five options. This means you CAN own that AR-15, but it can only have
ONE of any of the following  five features on it at one time:

1. folding or telescoping stock
2. pistol grip that protrudes "conspicuously" beneath the action of the
3. bayonet mount
4. flash suppressor or a threaded barrel "designed to accommodate a
flash suppressor"
5. grenade launcher

So under the just expired Assault Weapons Ban, you could have owned an
AR-15 with a grenade launcher and that's just fine with the government.
So even if you're all for gun control - maybe this law wasn't what you
thought it was, or wanted anyway huh? Maybe instead of just hearing
"Assault Weapons Ban" and thinking "Yeah - that's what we need" you
should have spent some time researching exactly what the law was before
blindly supporting it. It's like all those idiot Congresspeople - "Yes
I voted for the Patriot Act. No I didn't actually READ the whole thing
- did you see the size of that thing?" People, I beg you - Don't rely
on the "experts" on NPR and CNN (or even Fox News for those of you on
the Right) to tell you what to think - research it and think for
yourself - PLEASE. (But I digress. Sorry - that's a different rant
for another day)

Okay, back to your original question. Not to be too contentious, but I
find that the question - Why do you need to own an assault rifle
anyway? - really, really obnoxious. Hello - we live in America. The
great thing about America is, you don't need a valid reason to own
guns, any more than you need a valid reason to speak your mind, run
your own newspaper, assemble in a public place,  have the assurance of
being secure in your possessions... you get where this is heading,
right? Good - let's move on then.

It's funny that usually, but not always, the question seems to come
from someone who thinks the government should stay out of their
business in most things. Like legalizing marijuania is okay because,
hey, maybe they'd like to smoke a little pot on the weekends and who
does that really hurt right? Or maybe it's someone who supports gay
marriage because they (or someone they know) is gay and anyway, why
does the government need to get involved in a private matter anyway
right? So they'll call on those old libertarian principles of 'as long
as I dont hurt anyone what does it matter if I... (do drugs/have gay
sex/etc)'. But apparently we need to get the government involved with
people who legally obtain weapons and use them in a lawful, responsible
manner. Why is that?

So you explain all that to them and almost every single time the person
will give you some variation on "I really know nothing about guns
except 'they scare me' and people can get killed and Why do you need
one anyway?" Sorry - that's just not a good enough reason people.
Fortunately, most of our laws are not predicated on fear of inanimate
objects. Especially when those fears are based on an individuals
ignorance and overexposure to 'NYPD Blue' and CNN.

So the point is, theres no legitimate reason for me not to own an
assault rifle. I'm not a criminal and I have no plans to shoot up a
post office or a school. If I owned guns (which I cannot - because I
live in the Socialist state of NYC), I would be responsible - follow
all laws and gun safety rules. Your friendly government agent would
send me through an 'instant' background check to own it - which would
show that I'm a tax-paying, law-abiding citizen in full posession of
her faculties (believe it or not) so why shouldn't I own it? And why
isn't THAT the question we're all asking? What else in this country do
we have to justify by explaining "why" we want it or more specifically
"need" it. Do you "need" a Hummer, Veruka? I know you "want" one.
But considering your lifestyle & job, wouldn't a small compact car that
won't waste "precious oil resources" do just as well for what you do?
Cleaner air is good for all of us right? Yes. But no one seriously
considers making the case for a law against you owning a Hummer.

But you say that you still want some reasons? Okay, fine. How about

- They're fun to shoot (Yes, yes - at a range in a legal, responsible

- They're the last word in personal defense. Let's face it - if you
come in my home uninvited and I shoot you in the face, does it really
matter to you which gun I use?

- They keep government from getting too cocky - don't kid yourselves
people, government is a many-headed monster which can all too quickly
become corrupt and out of control. That's why our very smart
forefathers wrote the Constitution (including the 2nd Amendment). It's
worked very well so far - so leave it alone.

One more thing - Every now and then I see some talking head, saying
they're an expert, saying that because of the "potential for abuse",
guns must be taken out of our hands. Oh, okay - let's explore that to
it's natural conclusion... So if you live in an area where the speed
limit is 55 mph the government should force you to exchange your car
for one that won't go faster than 55, right? Because we can't trust
you to actually use the car in a responsible, legal manner if you have
the "potential for abuse". If we can save one innocent person from an
accident because someone else was speeding along the highway at 85 mph,
then it's worth it to get rid of all the cars that will go faster than
the legal limit. Think of the chillllddrreennn (/whine).

Seriously though, the bottom line is that assault rifles WILL get into
the hands of people who will use them for bad (evil, in some cases).
I'm sorry - but that is true. But it is true with or without this
Assault Weapon Ban. This ban only affect people who obey the law
anyway. And thus they make it harder for the law-abiding folks to
defend themselves against those people who don't obey the law.

I won't quote any statistics here (because usually I don't like them -
they can be manipulated too easily by either side of an argument), but
the facts that are out there support the idea that (a) the Assault
Weapons Ban had no significant downward impact on gun crimes and (b)
these so-called assault weapons weren't even being used in those gun
crimes in the first place. It's my understanding that law enforcement
folks keep records on what kinds of guns/calibers are used in gun
crimes, and these things don't even come close to the top of the list.

So does that answer your question at all?


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