Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Politics Government

Assault Weapons Ban 386

Posted by michael
from the put-a-cap-in-someone-today dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With all the Constitutional arguments that appear on /., perhaps some readers might be interested in this BBC Article about the expiration of the Clinton assault weapons ban. Both presidential candidates have spoken in favor of it, but no one is willing to vote to keep it."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Assault Weapons Ban

Comments Filter:
  • by Skyshadow (508) * on Friday September 10, 2004 @03:14PM (#10215355) Homepage
    See, the best part about paying for Slashdot is that I see articles like this coming and have time to don my aesbestos underoos.

    This is one of those issues which wouldn't be complicated if we could sit down and work out a reasonable comprimise, but of course that's not how we work in America anymore. Gotta stick with either-or's, and the other side are a bunch of wackos or nutcases. But, even though I know it's gonna get my ass flamed, I'll take a swing at it. I'm not scared. I got my aesbestos underoos on.

    Obviously guns don't cause people to shoot each other, there are more complex reasons for it. That said, however, it's the access to high-capacity weapons (like the ones that were banned) that enables these folks to go out and kill half their highschool. Preventing gun makers from building these guns obviously makes it tougher for people to get them, which is a Good Thing -- nobody has a legitimate reason for owning a 30 round clip.

    But the GOP are all a bunch of whores to the NRA, who don't let reason creep in on their paranoia about pinko lefties coming to take away their guns and kick over their stills or whatever. They, combined with a few people on the extreme left who don't think people ought to be able to hunt or whatever, combine to paralyze the whole damn debate.

    But then we're down to the apparently unresolvable gun control back and forth. But that's okay, 'cause I got my fireproof underoos. Flame away.

    • but the GOP are all a bunch of whores to the NRA
      Remember debate class? Name calling is not allowed in Flight Club.

      Anyways, two points I felt to make that a lot of people forget is that this ban only bans large gun clips, and certain models of guns. There are many guns with exactly the same features that are legal.

      Second point is that its only been illigal to make new guns, not illigal to own or even sell an existing gun. Though these gun prices have gone way up and are generally bought by collectors, and
      • by Phillup (317168) on Friday September 10, 2004 @04:53PM (#10216514)
        Second point is that its only been illigal to make new guns, not illigal to own or even sell an existing gun.

        Yep.

        I never really felt the need to own a gun. But, when both the house and senate passed this bill (1994) I went out and bougt a shitload of the subject material before it got signed into law.

        I felt that as soon as my government started limiting guns was about the time I needed to get real interested in owning some.

        So now... the only guns I own... are assault weapons, purchased as a direct result of this laws passage.

        Go figure.
      • Same muzzle velocity, same barrel length, same everything that is important ...

        But no flash suppressor. Big whoop dee doo! Like I need a flash suppressor.

        As for the clip ruling. You just count your shots. When you have one left (in the chamber) you drop the old clip and slot a new one. With a bit of practice, you can do this in under 2 seconds.

        Also, the larger capacity clips are still legal (just as you've pointed out with the weapons themselves). But private citizens are only allowed to own ones from be
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Awwww...you started off soooo good. Then you broke down into spouting rethoric against the GPO, dead kids, and a baseless "Good Thing" claim.

      I am not GOP
      I am not a member of the NRA
      I don't hunt

      Not only should the Assult Ban be lifted, I should be able to buy a tank if I so wish. The Constitution didn't give the right of arms so that we could protect ourselves from rabid dear, steat thugs, or cheating wives...it was so we could protect ourselves from the tyranny of an oppressive government.

      And a couple
      • "The Constitution didn't give the right of arms so that we could protect ourselves from rabid dear, steat thugs, or cheating wives...it was so we could protect ourselves from the tyranny of an oppressive government."

        I agree, but...
        What happens when Bill Gates buys a million tanks and sends them all at Linux users?

      • I don't own a gun, have no desire to do so, and I *still* think that bans on civilian gun ownership are stupid.

        The function of the Second Amendment, which is to avoid totalitarian regimes hated by the populace, is provided to me even if I *don't* own a gun, as long as enough civilians own weapons comparable to those provided to the military.

        Note that I don't want civilians to own *bombs*. The idea is to provide rough equality between a soldier and civilian -- in a fight, one soldier == roughly one civili
        • SOrry, its not an either or thing. If you think weapons should be freely ownable, I should be able to own a nuclear bomb. The constitution doesn't forbid it, after all.

          If you can ban bombs, you can ban types of guns. There's no constitutional prefernce to one type of weapon over the other.

          Personally, I think civilians owning guns is not permitted by the constitution, and that militia means a state army. But I do think this is an area where compromises can be reached.
          • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Friday September 10, 2004 @04:41PM (#10216389) Journal
            SOrry, its not an either or thing. If you think weapons should be freely ownable, I should be able to own a nuclear bomb. The constitution doesn't forbid it, after all.

            That's absurd. The Constitution was written in a time when nuclear bombs didn't *exist*. The game thory associated with the weapons of the times -- soldiers have rifles, citizens have rifles -- made guns a moderating influence. The game factors associated with nuclear bombs is *wildly* different from that associated with guns.

            This is exactly the sort of thing reason that the judicial branch is allowed to interpret the Constitution -- to deal with technological advances.

            For example, if the military gets the ability to run around with autonomous sniping helicopters and that becomes the main method of exerting military force, then civilians need to be able to have Stingers. That maintains the same balance as was present in the Constitution's authoring period.

            Personally, I think civilians owning guns is not permitted by the constitution, and that militia means a state army. But I do think this is an area where compromises can be reached.

            It's not a matter of compromise -- it can be *amended* if it's necessary to mean this. Please at least read and consider this [neusysinc.com] -- the framers very clearly referred to an armed citizenry.
            • by AuMatar (183847) on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:08PM (#10216668)
              And the constitution was written when assault weapons and handguns didn't *exist*. SO the same logic that bans nuclear bombs can be used to ban them.

              The constitution is quite clear- well ordered militias are allowed arms. Well-ordered means regulated, militias are strate armys. So each of the 50 states can have their own army, if they wish, and arm them. The stuff people spout about it being so people can revolt is pure bull, its a moddern idea espoused by a few far right nutjobs in the past century. There is no constitutional right to citizens having guns, so what they can have is pure comprimise.

              I'm actually not in favo of getting rid of itizens guns entirely. But stopping fellons from getting them easily, requiring registration, making resell illegal (unless reregistering), and limiting the amount of damage a gun can do before reloading are all decent comprimises.
              • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:40PM (#10216960) Journal
                And the constitution was written when assault weapons and handguns didn't *exist*. SO the same logic that bans nuclear bombs can be used to ban them.

                No, both assault weapons and handguns did exist in the Revolutionary War period. They weren't identical to the same as the guns we have today, true -- the concept of an automatic weapon didn't exist. An assault weapon was a bayonet-equipped musket. But it is necessary to provide someone an automatic weapon to keep them competitive with someone else with an automatic weapon. From the link above: Thomas Jefferson, for example, noted in 1803 that "None but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army. To keep ours armed and disciplined, is therefore at all times important." He later commented that "...we cannot be defended but by making every citizen a soldier, as the Greeks and Romans who had no standing armies."

                The constitution is quite clear- well ordered militias are allowed arms.

                I'll include another link [neusysinc.com] from the site. Sure that's what they meant?

                The stuff people spout about it being so people can revolt is pure bull, its a moddern idea espoused by a few far right nutjobs in the past century.

                A *modern* idea? How do you explain the Revolutionary War? The writings of our Founding Fathers?

                But stopping fellons from getting them easily, requiring registration, making resell illegal (unless reregistering), and limiting the amount of damage a gun can do before reloading are all decent comprimises.

                Do you know how Castro took power? Cuba had a gun registry. Immediately after his coup, he took a collection of soldiers around and confiscated everyone's guns. If you have three guns registered and you don't turn over three guns, you were executed. He did so before people had time to organize. Then, he retained control of the military, which controlled the arms. Hence, control of the nation.

                As for felons (people who have been convicted of a felony -- let's not try to isolate ourselves from them so that we can mistreat them without feeling bad about it) -- I could see limiting gun access to felons that have committed a felony using a *gun*. But how does it benefit anyone to have, say, an embezzler denied gun rights?

                Heck, I'm still amazed that in most states, people in jail for committing a felony are denied *sufferage*. That's astounding (and a major coup for the Republican party -- drug crimes have eliminated much of the black vote).
                • From the link above: Thomas Jefferson, for example, noted in 1803 that "None but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army. To keep ours armed and disciplined, is therefore at all times important." He later commented that "...we cannot be defended but by making every citizen a soldier, as the Greeks and Romans who had no standing armies."

                  Well, we have a standing army these days. This point is moot. Besides which, state militias would also qualify under this statement.

                  I'll include another link
          • I don't particulary agree with your assessment of the situation. Let's start with a list of all items starting from revolvers up through battle ships; we will call this list "Friendly Puppy". Now, everything on the "Friendly Puppy" list can be owned and used by free citizens. There are people who own enough land and have enough room that they can go fire howitzers without hurting anybody. Own your own private island? Why not protect it with a battle ship? Fire a couple of 16 inch shells for practice ev
            • But from a Constitutional perspective- equivalent. The secodn ammendment doesn't make exceptions. Either veryone can own any type of weapon without the government able to make laws restricting it, or the second ammendment applies only to well-ordered militias and the government can otherwise limit weapons, includign guns, as they see fit.
              • Fine, In that case I will take a lesson from the Liberals (They got to redefine "Assualt Weapon") book and do the following:

                From this point forward all nuclear weapons are now called "Energy Release Devices" (ERD for short). Anyone caught with an ERD without an appropriate license from the NRC will be in big trouble.

        • I would think it would be clear now that in the modern world, with the current state of military technology, unless you are unbelievably powerful, a standing army does very little good. Witness the effectiveness of standing armies in any war in the last 20 years when one side possesses significant military hardware. All a standing army does is paint a nice big spot on the ground for where to drop the heavy ordinance. I think you are deluded if you believe any form of citizen's militia would be able to ef
    • by hackstraw (262471) * on Friday September 10, 2004 @03:36PM (#10215589)
      "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence. From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events occurences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispenable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good."
      -- George Washington, Commanding General of the Continental Army, Father of Our Country and First President of the United States, in his address to 2nd Session of 1st Congress.

      "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in Government."
      -- Thomas Jefferson, Author of The Declaration of Independence, and President of the United States.

      nobody has a legitimate reason for owning a 30 round clip

      I personally do not own weapons, don't want to. But I feel a little better knowing that there are those paranoid bastards out in the woods packing fully automatic weapons waiting for the government to get "really evil".

      I personally feel as though murder should be decriminalized. Think about how much crime would be reduced and law enforcement's job would be made so much easier.

      Now let the flame wars begin...

      Not yet. 1st, it is not normal to want to kill someone. Aside from a psychopath that cannot feel empathy or guilt, It is against any human's natural will to kill someone. Its instinct to grab someone who steps out into the road, its not because we were taught this. It goes against instinct to go against self and species preservation.

      By legalizing murder, it would keep people in check. Basic reinforcement theory says that learing takes place when the reinforcer (reward or punishment) is near the action. If Johnny kills Billy, and Billy's friends or family think that it was wrong for Johnny to kill Billy. Well, Johnny better watch his back!

      I personally feel as though the incidence of murder would actually decrease if it were legal. Just a theory.
      • by Zeinfeld (263942) on Friday September 10, 2004 @03:51PM (#10215774) Homepage
        "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence.

        The quotation is a well known fake. The typewriter font it is written in did not exist in Washington's day.

      • by RWerp (798951) on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:52PM (#10217057)
        I personally feel as though murder should be decriminalized. Think about how much crime would be reduced and law enforcement's job would be made so much easier.

        I have never seen before as naive statement as this. After the Roman Empire collapsed, Europe was ruled by barbarian tribes' laws, which had the same opinion on murder as you do: that it was up to victims' family to deliver justice to the murderer. Firstly, they had vendetta. This was bad, because one murder resulted in a lot of further deaths (murderer, his relatives, some people from victims side, etc.) So the custom allowed to close the deal with a money transfer. Opportunity of earning lot of money made victims' families feel even more vindictive. Somehow, the chiefs and kings decided that it was not The Best Thing To Do (tm) and decided to take away the right to punish the murderers from the people and institute a "monopoly on punishment" as we have it today. You may say "just another example of Europen despotism", but this was a wise thing to do. When murder is not punished by the state, people will only feel safe when they have enough strong family to defend them. People with enough money would fell free to kill, and later bribe the victims' relatives to forgo vendetta. The society would reduce to small isolated outposts, distrustful of outsiders, because of the possibility of "hit and run" kill (if the guy flees, nobody else apart from the victims' family will risk his head to help to catch him).

        If that does not convince you, go check examples of countries which today have no rule of law, where murder is not punished by the state. They are: Iraq, Chechenya, Afghanistan. Not the best places to live under the sun, eh?
    • You just wait until the armies of the undead come
      knocking. You'll be wishing for a belt-feed.
    • Perhaps you can explain away New Zealand or Switzerland. As Michael Moore figure out with Bowling for Columbine, it's not the guns.

      The idea of citizens controlling the same weaponry as the military has several purposes.

      • Firstly, it creates a strong defensive force for the country in case of invasion. That doesn't seem as likely now as it did then, but I'd rather have it than not have it, kinda like the 3rd Amendment.
      • Secondly, it keeps the government in check by allowing the people the means to hold a revolution if necessary. England regularly rounded up swords in Scotland to keep it under its control (way back when, of course). Stalin did the same thing in many Soviet republics. China does it now. (I've heard they resort to using bombs now instead of guns. Much more safe, right?)
      • Thirdly, there is much evidence in England and Australia that the outlaw of weapons invariably leads to the criminals being the only ones that own them. Their home-invasion rates are also through the roof.

      Regardless of your personal opinion on what the law should be, the highest law of the land says we are a nation of gun owners. It is my belief that the original intent of the 2nd Amendment did not allow for all of the current laws and regulations concerning firearms. I personally have never submitted to a background check and refuse to participate in registration programs.

    • BOTH sides in the assault weapon ban are being totally retardo. The GOP is retardo for obvious reasons--who the hell needs a machine gun? The Dems though are almost as retarded--in that there are plenty of guns just as dangerous as these, the only real objection is that these so called "assault weapons" look like nasty-ass guns you see in movies. Who the hell cares if I have a gun with a bayonette? Is there a great epidemic of criminal bayonette-ings? Sure, these guns are semi-automatic. LOTS of guns
    • Do you realize what a high-capacity magazine is?

      It's a metal box.

      Any high school metal shop has the tools to make high-capacity magazine.

    • by Sevn (12012) on Friday September 10, 2004 @04:45PM (#10216430) Homepage Journal
      I'm just REALLY GLAD [gunbroker.com] that these laws have made it NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE [gunbroker.com] for the average citizen to get their hands on ASSAULT WEAPONS [gunbroker.com]. I mean, if people could easily get a HIGH QUALITY, 2 MOA .308 CALIBER WEAPON REALLY CHEAP [gunbroker.com], or HIGH [gunbroker.com] CAPACITY [gunbroker.com]magazines and ARMOR PIERCING AMMUNITION [gunbroker.com]anyway, and all of this was COMPLETELY LEGAL, people would think these laws were FUCKING STUPID, ABSOLUTELY POINTLESS, and accomplished ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

      I know I'd be about pissed if my tax dollars were wasted on a war on a STYLE of weapon that accomplished ABSOLUTELY NOTHING but make people purchase the hunting rifle version of the guns that ONLY LOOKED more dangerous. Especially if YOU COULD BUY THE FUCKING THINGS ANYWAY. Man. I'd be even more pissed if you could do it over the Internet.

      Thank You.
    • This is one of those issues which wouldn't be complicated if we could sit down and work out a reasonable comprimise, but of course that's not how we work in America anymore. Gotta stick with either-or's, and the other side are a bunch of wackos or nutcases.

      I would (once again) point people in the direction of Fisher's Deduction:

      "The more issues a person attempts to crudely shoehorn down into an artifical liberal/conservative dichotomy, the more certain you can be that the person is an American."

      Quote it
    • I disagree with your statement about 30 round clips. (Yeah, I'm a gunowner)

      I own a m-14 which can use 30 round clips. Something most firearms can't. I can even fire that weapon in fully automatic mode. That's 30 rounds from a .30-06 in around in around 6 or 7 seconds. Why? Because it's a lot of fun. Where? shooting ranges or family land in the country. At what? targets, trees, old tractors, ect.

      I have a liscense for this rifle, it is regestered, and if anyone were ever shot in my area with a fu
    • by lynx_user_abroad (323975) on Friday September 10, 2004 @06:03PM (#10217146) Homepage Journal
      It is my pleasure to reply to a suitably armored poster.

      ...nobody has a legitimate reason for owning a 30 round clip.

      I always get annoyed when discussions about the Second Amendment come up and everybody immediately starts thinking about gunpowder. That's not what it's about.

      The Second Amendment (Right to Bear Arms) is not a result of the wildly successful 1776 Sportsman's PAC. It wasn't meant to authorize individuals or groups to assassinate government officials in case they went insane. And it wasn't an attempt to ensure people could keep trading old flintlocks like so many Disco albums from the '70's.

      It was an acknowledgement of a problem which faced the fledgling Colonies at the time, and is still quite relevant today.
      You can pass a law making it illegal for people to keep and bear arms, but the people most dangerous to the survival of the Nation aren't going to listen. Because of this, we need to be sure this nation can survive even if we face an enemy that doesn't play by our rules. In this respect, outlawing guns works against us, in that it allows us to implement policies that, if the subjects had guns, we could never get away with. So instead we outlaw the practice of disarming the populace.

      It's a way of saying to prospective government organizers: "if you want to run this place, you have to figure out how to make it work without taking away people's weapons. If you can't, you're not worthy of running this place. Period. Just like if you can't figure out how to run this place without favoring one religion over another, or shutting down the free press, or silencing your critics, or preventing peaceful assembly, or violating peoples privacy, or searching their homes, documents, things, or imprisoning people without charges or due process, or holding onto a suspect indefinitely without letting him see a lawyer, or torturing prisoners, or trying to make a Federal Law to ban powers reserved to the States, then just go away, because you're not up to the job. Sure, running the country is easy if you can do that stuff; but we have higher standards."

      The rise of gun violence should not be seen as being caused by the availability of guns as much as it should be viewed as a failure of our society to remain violence free in the face of weapons availability. Don't curse the NRA, they're just the weather vane.

      Should we read the Second Amendment to say that we should all be packing porta-nukes? For the safety of the Nation, of course. No. What it means is that we should strive to build a country that can survive even if our next door neighbor decides to pack a porta-nuke. Because, the reality of the world is (and will always be) that our next door neighbor just might be packing a porta-nuke.

      In a world like this, the only possible way to be safe is to first make sure that nobody in their right mind would have a reason to light-up their porta-nuke, and second to understand that occasionally we will encounter a person or two who isn't in their right mind, who's going to kill a lot of people and cause a lot of damage (kinda like one of those Hurricanes) and that we better just be prepared for it to happen, and be prepared to deal with it when it does. An approch which says "we'll prevent a hurricane from ever happening here" can only be followed by "we don't need FEMA anymore, now do we", which shows clearly how backward such an approach is.

      On September 11th, 2001, the U.S. saw an example of an attack which some claim represents a new kind of threat to this nation. But was also saw a flawless demonstration of the kind of defense against that threat which our Founding Fathers hoped we would deploy, and knew even then would be effective. On Flight 93, the attack failed, not because of some smart weapon posessed by the U.S. army, or because some airport screener matched-up two names on a No Fly list, but because of the democratic defense;

  • "assault" weapons (Score:5, Informative)

    by jwriney (16598) on Friday September 10, 2004 @03:21PM (#10215425) Homepage
    Let's see how long this takes to get modded into the toilet.

    It's funny that the article mentions that this law bans "military-style" weapons, because "style" is mostly what this law is about.

    From the Beeb article - "The move means that ordinary citizens will be allowed to keep heavy assault weapons in their homes."

    Bzzt, wrong, thanks for playing.

    Take a look at this page for some interesting info.

    http://www.ont.com/users/kolya/ [ont.com]

    --riney
  • by JohnnyX (11429) on Friday September 10, 2004 @03:26PM (#10215465) Homepage Journal
    Commentators from both sides of the gun control debate have gone on record as saying that the Assault Weapons Ban didn't have an effect on crime. Certain guns were banned because of how they looked (folding stock, pistol grip, etc.), not because of how they functioned (all the banned guns fire the same caliber of bullets and at the same speed as ordinary hunting rifles). In addition, large rifles are not weapons of choice for committing crimes. Criminals prefer handguns.

    The ban is sunsetting because it didn't really do any good and nobody is willing to risk their political career on renewing it. Even if it did come to a vote, I'm not sure Kerry would risk the swing state votes by voting to renew it. Bush would probably be forced to eat his words when it comes to signing it.

    The whole thing is one great political football. The assault weapons I'm worried about are those that are being used on both sides of our failed war in Iraq [badnarik.org], not the ones sitting in a gun collector's safe.

    Yours truly,
    Mr. X

    ...common-sense...
  • Terrorism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adam mcmaster (697132) on Friday September 10, 2004 @03:26PM (#10215467) Homepage
    It seems strange that at a time when preventing terrorism is a priority that they would be willing to let weapons such as these enter circulation...
    • by PaulBu (473180)
      Do you REALLY think *terrorists* would purchase their weapons in corner gun store???

      Paul B.
      • No, but they can obtain them from someone else who did.
    • Are you under the impression that the assualt weapon ban actually had any effect at all on weapons such as these? It didn't. AK-47s are cheap and legal to purchase, 30 round clips for them go for about $8. What did the assualt weapons ban do? Nothing, it was a totally ineffective, useless law that made no difference.

      Finkployd
      • Re:Terrorism (Score:2, Insightful)

        by GR|MLOCK (203716)
        No, no, no! I heard on a bulletin board the other day that terrorists are planning drive-by bayonnetings in major population centers.

        And the proper term is magazine, not clip. A magazine fully encloses rounds of ammunition and feeds it into the weapon's action. A clip is a piece of metal that holds rounds of ammunition together for easier loading into a weapon's magazine.
    • Except that laws like this don't keep these weapons out of criminals and/or terrorist hands...
    • ...then it's the terrorists who'll get shot.

      Terorists are going to have shady contacts to acquire guns regardless. Or make them, which isn't too hard if you have facilities for machining metal. So the only real difference will be whether or not you disarm the law-abiding potential victims.
    • A good point, but I don't think terrorists have shopped for their rifles at the local sporting goods store in a long time. And as for being a reasonable preventative measure, for a fairly reasonable price I could get a submachine gun within 3 days, regardless of the ban. Keep in mind that I'm little more than a humble computer geek. If you know the right people, laws cease to be a preventative measure and are only good for punishing people who get caught. But a criminal never intends to get caught, so reall
    • I think now is the best time to let these back into circulation. The terrorists on 9/11 weren't using these... they were using box cutters to gain access to planes... so maybe what we should ban are planes... and box cutters...
  • by Thag (8436) on Friday September 10, 2004 @03:34PM (#10215555) Homepage
    The Clinton ban did not ban "assault weapons," unless you use the term to mean "anything I want to call an assault weapon." It SPECIFICALLY does not ban "AK-47, Kalashnikov and Uzi rifles."

    In the US, automatic weapons are covered by the National Firearms Act of 1935, and can be owned by any citizen who can pass the background checks, demonstrate the ability to store them securely and pay the licensing fees. And then pay the exorbinant prices a machinegun commands on today's market, and pay for a private range membership to fire it at, and pay for all that ammo you would use up.

    In practical terms, the Clinton ban's main effect was to limit civilian handguns to 10-round magazines. And even then, preban magazines are still widely available for many models of handguns, and law enforcement officers can buy whatever they want.

    Jon Acheson
  • by j. andrew rogers (774820) on Friday September 10, 2004 @03:35PM (#10215579)
    I can't wait to see this die, and I wish sunsetting would be used for all our laws.

    The so-called "Assault Weapon Ban" was nothing more than a feel-good measure that had nothing to do with crime or safety. All it did manage to do was annoy and/or piss-off people who buy or own guns. No appreciable benefit to any constituency, and a big downside to a rather sizeable constituency. It is no wonder that most politicians don't want to touch this issue, and Bush knew full well that it would never end up on his desk. If you ignore the Democrats in "safe States" like California, who can soapbox on this issue all day without consequences, it is a "third-rail" issue everywhere else whether you are a Democrat or a Republican.

    The 1994 Congressional blood bath pretty much assures that gun control won't be touched again for a long time.

  • Crucial point (Score:5, Informative)

    by bofkentucky (555107) <bofkentucky&gmail,com> on Friday September 10, 2004 @03:41PM (#10215650) Homepage Journal
    Semi-Automatic: One pull of the trigger, one round fired
    Burst/Select Fire: One pull of the trigger fires 2-5 rounds, the MP5N and M16A2 IIRC uses a three round burst
    Fully Automatic: One pull of the trigger fires the gun until the trigger is released or it runs out of ammo.

    The article linked is incorrect that the AK-47 (and other fully automatic and select fire weapons ie M16, L85, M60, Uzi's, FNFAL, AK-74 and their chinese ripoffs , HK G36, G21, G11, and G53 series rifles, Glock 17 pistols) were banned as a result of the Assault Weapons Ban, it is actully banned under the 1934 National Firearms Act. To posses these weapons today, you must have a Class III Federal Firearms Licence, which includes a massive federal background check, and pay $150 tax per weapon.

    The assualt weapons only covers weapons that look different than a traditional deer rifle, there is no functional difference between a AR-15 (semi auto version of the M16) and a Deer rifle you could buy at walmart, they fire the same ammo (.223 Remington Magnum), as fast as you can pull the trigger.
    • Re:Crucial point (Score:5, Informative)

      by photon317 (208409) on Friday September 10, 2004 @04:02PM (#10215911)

      Your post is very informative for the relatively uninformed, but I have to point out that it is the Glock 18 pistol which is Full-Auto and thus illegal in the US due to the National Firearms Act (and still will be after the clinton gun ban expires). The Glock 17 is a the 18's semi-auto cousin, they look about the same and have interchangeable magazines, but the 17 is not full auto, and it a commonly owned pistol in the US. Glock specifically made slight changes in the dimensions of the parts in the 17 and 18 so that the parts aren't even interchangeable (for the most part).

      For lots more info along the lines of the parent post, try the info you can link from www.awbansunset.com, which is a site dedicated to stopping all the mis-information the anti-gun crowd (and many of its unwitting supporters) spread.
      • Thanks, I knew it was a 1x glock chambered in 9mm.
      • Just addding to the good information provided above.

        Now only has ful auto weapony been regulated since 1934, but the Glock 18 has NEVER been available for civialian consumption.

        The Gun Control Act of 1968 basically authorized the ATF to ban "not sporting purpose" weapony - which means foreign automatic weapons were out of the question. Only domestically manufactuered ones were available.

        Since the Glock 18 is an 80's era pistol, no can do. Since 1986 domestic manufacture of automatic weaponry for civili
    • Don't forget that it semi-automatic AK-47s [gunsamerica.com] are still easy (and cheap!) to get.

      And the only thing that fully automatic is good for is either display of banging noises, or laying down covering fire for an trench attack.

      Or really, really, really hunting Bambi hardcore style.
    • Re:Crucial point (Score:3, Informative)

      by crimethinker (721591)
      Mostly correct, and I applaud you, except:
      • The Glock 17 is a semi-automatic pistol. I ought to know, since I own one and carry it on my CCW. The Glock 18 is the full-auto version, and has NEVER been available for civilian purchse.
      • Many of the rifles you name, such as Uzi, AK-47, FN-FAL, are actually available in semi-automatic versions. But you are correct that the expiration of the 1994 law will not make a full-auto Uzi available again. (Sadly. I've shot one and they're not half bad once you unfold the st
  • by Daemin (232340) on Friday September 10, 2004 @03:46PM (#10215711)
    The reasoning behind granting everyone the unrestricted right to keep and bare arms was that a well armed populace is harder to oppress then an unarmed populous. I.e. he government should not have an excessive advantage over the populous in the amount of force at its disposal.

    Carrying this to its logical conclusion, citizens should be allowed to posses all the weapons the government is allowed to; if they cannot, there is no way a popular revolt could succeed. The government, with its tanks and other large weapons, could easily roll over any revolt by citizens.

    Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to James Madison,

    "I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of the government."

    No, you do not need an assault weapon for hunting. But you do need it for personal defense against an oppressive government. That is the justification for allowing them to be possessed.

    Aside from that, how am I going to kick the ass of a foreign army, marauding zombies, or invading aliens if I don't have a handy, insanely large supply of firepower?
    • how am I going to kick the ass of a foreign army, marauding zombies, or invading aliens if I don't have a handy, insanely large supply of firepower?

      Not with an Uzi, that's for sure. Everyone knows that nothing beats the good ol' American-ness of a shotgun blasting everything that moves. Especially zombies.
  • by Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) on Friday September 10, 2004 @03:56PM (#10215831) Homepage
    The law banned manufacture of large capacity magazines, except for sale to police. So in many towns, police traded in their old guns and large mags for new, and their old large mags went into the secondary market. Go to a gun store and ask to see the selection of large mags, if you don't believe me. There's a glut.

    The whole thing was about appearances, and giving people the warn fuzzies. Did you know the law banned bayonet lugs on the muzzle? Sure, I'm real concerned about being STABBED when someone's pointing a gun at me.

    Ever felt threatened by a folding stock? Banned.
    Anything that looks like a milspec gun? Banned.

    The EXACT SAME barrel, ammo, receiver, trigger action, etc? Not banned.

  • Of course no one will touch renewing this law. It was a law for soccer moms and for gun control advocates who wanted a foot in the door to confiscating and banning all guns. None of the gun laws we have on the books are Constitutional. And if any of them ever got tried in the Supreme Court, they would be blotted off the books.

    This was one of the worst laws because it robbed people of the full functionality of a class of weapon specifically protected by the Second Amendment, did nothing to affect crime, unr
    • United States Vs Miller [findlaw.com] : In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a 'shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.

      "Such an instrument" being a weapon forbidden by the Firearm Act.

      • Funny, the district court held that NFA '34 was unconstitutional.

        When it got to the Supreme Court, they never read or heard the defendants' views, heard only one side of the matter, the government's side, and declared that a short-barreled shotgun was not a "militia" or "military-type" firearm, at the time the Second Amendment was written (late 1700s).

        Short barreled shotguns have been used by the military since the Civil War. They are certainly appropriate weapons for the militia, as defined by the Second
  • If you've tried to stop Politics stories from showing up on your Slashdot front page by checking the appropriate boxes in your Preference page, you may still find them showing up. This is because of a bug in Slash [sourceforge.net] that's been outstanding since July, when CmdrTaco said it'd be back "soon enough". If you're tired of seeing Politics stories go leave a comment in hopes that this bug will be fixed before we go mad!
  • by CryptoEngineer (755293) on Friday September 10, 2004 @04:14PM (#10216043)
    Assault Weapons are submachineguns, which usually fire relatively low power cartridges. They are fully automatic - if you pull the trigger back, they'll fire until the magazine is empty. They are used for close-in assaults - clearing buildings, etc.

    The AWB does not ban these - they are covered under an earlier law which does not expire (they can still be owned under certain onerous conditions).

    The AWB, despite its name, actually covers semi-automatic rifles which resemble to certain assault rifles. Semis fire only one bullet each time the trigger is pulled, in the same way that a policeman's pistol or a cowboy's revolver does. They are not assault weapons since they cannot be fired in automatic mode. The AWB lists guns resembling certain assault weapons, or which have more than a certain number of specific features, such as a bayonet lug, a pistol grip, a flash hider, or a telescoping stock.

    The AWB bans semi-automatic rifles which look scary, ignoring the fact that the average deer rifle is far more powerful and has better range.

    I own an AR15 [bushmaster.com] which I use in CMP [odcmp.org] target matches. While this rifle fires essentially the same round as our soldiers are using in Iraq, in many places I could not even use it to hunt deer legally, since its too feeble a round. Something like this [remington.com] packs a much bigger punch. Of course, there is no talk of banning this rifle, since it does not look scary.

    A good analogy to the AWB would be if the legislature decided to attack dangerous driving by banning fuzzy dice and chrome exhausts. It might make some people feel better, but actually attacks the wrong target. (The right target is the criminal, not the gun.)

    The (so-called) "Assault Weapons Ban" is a very silly law which did not ban Assault Weapons, or detectably reduce crime. I'm glad its dying. I'm not going out to buy any of the 'scary features' for my rifle - it's fine as it is. But I will like having the ability to do so if I wanted - that's what freedom is all about.

    • Assault Weapons are submachineguns, which usually fire relatively low power cartridges. They are fully automatic - if you pull the trigger back, they'll fire until the magazine is empty. They are used for close-in assaults - clearing buildings, etc.

      Not quite - "Assault weapon" is actually a term made up in 1988 by Josh Sugarmann, a writer for the Violence Policy Center. Submachineguns fire handgun cartridges, compared to rifles which fire rifle cartridges. SMGs are most often used by SWAT/counter-terror

  • Good riddance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Experiment 626 (698257) on Friday September 10, 2004 @04:49PM (#10216479)

    This has been a very ill-conceived and widely misunderstood law, and I will be glad to see it go.

    The affected weapons are mostly ones that outwardly resemble military firearms, while having nowhere near the firepower. Rather than firing bursts of ammunition like their fully-automatic counterparts, the so-called assault rifles fire one shot at a time, with less powerful ammunition than a hunting rifle. Pistols affected by this law generally had outward designs similar to fully-automatic submachine guns, but had only the same caliber and rate of fire as an ordinary handgun - with much bulkier size and weight.

    A criminal would be an idiot to choose a firearm from the affected class of firearms. They would use an ordinary handgun, or if they really sought something more powerful as defenders of the legislation claim, they would smuggle in some firearms that actually WERE military grade instead of just superficially looking like it.

    In practice, the only people affected by the law have been legitimate gun collectors, who disagree with the law but struggle to comply with it. What shape grips constitute a "conspicuous pistol grip"? When the law requires a barrel attachment to be "permanently affixed", do you weld it, super-glue it on, pin it, use lock-tight? Interpret the subjective phrases differently than someone at the ATF, and you become a felon.

    The other major provision was a limitation on ammunition magazines ("clips") to 10 rounds. Much like 640k of memory, this might seem to be enough for anybody. But, given that those who are most in the know about defending oneself in life and death situations (police, military, federal agents, etc.) generally carry larger magazines than this themselves, even with superior training to worry less about missing their target, perhaps there is something to be said for having a couple extra rounds just in case.

    The other flaw with the 10 round limit is that it was based on the arbitrary assumption that no civilian would ever need more than this to protect themself, but provided no guarantee to back this up. Why did the law not include language guaranteeing that before any civilian had fired the 10th shot in a life-and-death situation, police would had arrived on the scene and taken their attacker into custody?

  • This is great. I can finally get some 17-round magazines for my Glock at a reasonable price.

    The ban never really affected anything. Guns were either modified to be legal under the ban, (and functionally identical) or the costs of pre-bans was driven through the roof.
  • As long as I can get a Rifle that can hold more than one round in a magzine, (5 will do). If the times comes for revolution, (which if Bush wins a second term, there will be one), all I have to do is kill one solder, pick up his gun and the ammo on him, and procede to kill more solders, pick up their guns and ammo for my friends, and there you have it, we are now equally armed.

    Trained is another matter, though there are guns similar to the M16 that one could still get with an Instant Background check.
  • by mabu (178417) * on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:15PM (#10216749)
    There were some good details of this legislation, namely that it furthered the effort to enforce existing laws regarding background checks and waiting periods, but there were numerous loopholes.

    For example, gun configurations were banned, like large-scale magazines, weapons with built-in cleaning kits, bayonets, folding stocks, etc., however the individual sale of many of these components wasn't completely restricted so in many cases you could buy an SKS or AK-47, purchase a folding stock separately, and configure the weapon on your own. It was way too easy to get around this.

    The premise behind the law was sound: Who needs a "hunting" weapon that was exclusively designed for killing people in wartime? Who needs a folding stock or a 30-round magazine for hunting deer? Unfortunately, the passage of this bill didn't really reduce the availability of these weapons or their components in my opinion. I've always been able to go down the street to the gun shop and buy a cheap Chinese-made AK-47 for less than it costs to pick up a modest hand gun.

    What I found most ironic about the Brady Bill and Feinstein Amendment, was that the NRA blew the consequences of this legislation way out of preportion and suggested its passage was going to take guns away from law-abiding citizens. The facts since then have indicated otherwise - the more-stricly-enforced background checks have reduced the number of firearms getting into the hands of people who were prohibited from owning them. At the same time, the proliferation of many of the assault weapons has not been noticeably diminished. Ironically, the NRA, for all its anti-commie, freedom-lovin', second-amendment protecting propaganda, vehemently pushed for the opposition of this bill which mainly would have had the most profound impact on the substantive importation of communist-Chinese-manufactured assault weapons which have been flooding the US. This is a case of the NRA agenda helping directly fund a communist regime - irony of ironies, and a talking point they never brought up in all their dialogue on this law.

    • by timothy (36799)
      "The premise behind the law was sound: Who needs a "hunting" weapon that was exclusively designed for killing people in wartime? Who needs a folding stock or a 30-round magazine for hunting deer?"

      Not to pick on you in particular (except, well, that I am picking on you in particular ;), who needs an Anything?

      The idea that things not specifically "needed" (as determined by whom?) are suspect or should need to be justified for some reason has implications that I don't like, most especially when applied bli
  • by Bob_Robertson (454888) on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:52PM (#10217059) Homepage
    Sorry I cannot spell that correctly, but I'm not German. The Germans, however, are the ones that invented and named the "assault rifle".

    It is a small, relatively under-powered sub machine gun. Small cartridges, so more can be carried because more are wasted.

    The Ban didn't effect "assault rifles", because those are already covered by the 1934 and 1968 laws.

    As was stated by the people who wrote the "assault weapon" ban, they were counting on the American public being duped into thinking that the rifles effected were "assault rifles", Machine guns, Actual military hardware. What we got was pointless regulation which demonized cosmetic features and created massive confusion and cost for everyone involved.

    Compare cartridge power of the dreaded AK-47, the 7.62x39, with the "standard" American deer rifle cartridge, the .30-06. The .30-06 fires a heavier slug far faster. Yet functionally identical AK's were banned, while "standard" deer rifles continued to be made and sold.

    Then there is the stupidity of prohibition. Every time it is tried it fails. Alcohol prohibition created the environment of criminal gangs, mafia, "organized" crime that is alive and well to this day.

    Few people call for alcohol prohibition, because "it failed." Many people are calling for an end to drug prohibition, because "it's failing." Yet many of the people who believe it's stupid to prohibit peaceful drug ownership call for prohibition of peaceful gun ownership. Where is the logic in that?

    There isn't any logic, of course. Any prohibition in a so-called "free" society is doomed. Either the prohibition is ignored, or the freedoms that would allow the law to be ignored are taken away.

    There has been continual prohibition in the US since January 16th, 1919. Government has grown titanic, organized crime are almost peaceful compared to the jack-booted thugs who hide behind their badges. "Citizens" are tracked like cattle, allowed freedom only in limited, carefully regulated bounds, while the police kill at will.

    And all because we forgot the most important part of the Declaration of Independence:

    But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

    The existence of prohibition is, on its face, such a usurpation. The fact that there are many prohibitions right now merely demonstrates that our masters are indeed persuing invariably the same object.

    Bob-

  • by NEOtaku17 (679902) on Friday September 10, 2004 @08:43PM (#10218201) Homepage

    "The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to posses arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so." -Adolf Hitler

  • by JimMarch(equalccw) (710249) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:21PM (#10231767)
    First point: the 1994 "ban" didn't do anything. Since there's no "core technical difference" between a standard semi-auto hunting rifle like this Remington:

    http://www.remington.com/firearms/centerfire/7400w d.htm [remington.com]

    and this "AR Pattern" rifle available in one of the *weaker* calibers Remington supports on the 7400 (the 308 Nato):

    http://armalite.com/sales/catalog/rifles/ar10b.htm [armalite.com]

    The Remington is pictured with a 5rd magazine but 10rd that poke out of the bottom of the gun are available now and with the ban on 10+ magazines gone, they'll be available there soon.

    Both guns are semi-auto, magazine fed. After midnight tonight, it will be possible to sell either with such accessories as bayonette lugs, flash dohickey on the end of the barrel, etc...none of which affect lethality.

    Because the guns that "look scary" aren't technically different from those that look more "sporting" like that Remington (one of many examples I could show), back in '94 Congress banned certain "evil features" that were purely cosmetic, in an attempt to home in on the "evil looking guns" and leave the deer rifles alone.

    Which made the law arbitrary and stupid, and is what's really causing it's death tonight.

    Which leaves two questions:

    1) Why would anybody want a "military pattern rifle" in the first place?

    A: first, parts are widespread and cheap. They usually share at least some components and accessories with the full-auto military versions which are banned; as long as the parts in question don't add full-auto capability, they're legal.

    Second, when rifles are engineered to be able to handle full-auto stresses and battlefield conditions via rigorous testing, they're tough as nails. Once the full-auto capability is stripped for the civilian market, they're even tougher as they don't need to cope with that. (Full-auto fire can wear out a barrel in just a few hundred shots in some cases, which is why real military machine gunners keep extra barrels with them for quick swaps.)

    Why have a tough gun?

    Because competitive shooters must practice a lot - practice levels beyond what hunting rifles can cope with. The vast majority of full-power rifle competition happens not with deer rifles or even high-accuracy target rifles, but with AR-pattern critters distantly related to the US military M16 family, hot-rodded for accuracy.

    The Remington probably has a total lifespan of a couple thousand rounds. Less in the hotter calibers like 30-06 or 270Winchester.

    AR-pattern rifle owners can sign up for a three-day class in riflework by nationally known instructors such as John Farnham, and shoot 1500 rounds in a three day weekend...and the gun will *probably* hold up. He has loaner spares just in case they don't, as that's one hell of a duty cycle...one that no "pure civilian origin" rifle could even hope to survive.

    -----------

    Which leaves the other, more controversial issue: the full-capacity magazines of 20 to 30 rounds, or the truly high-cap mags like the Beta-C drums of 75 - 150.

    Who needs that?

    Slashdotters of all people should know a critical thing: the majority isn't always right. If you thought otherwise, why don't we format all our Linux partitions and run Windoze? I mean, the market has spoken, right?

    Spoken in favor of rank idiocy. "The market" is made up of the same technoturnips that try and find the "any key" when the screen says "press any key to continue".

    That particular kind of idiocy is harmless. But every once in a while, the sheeple masses get violently stupid all at once. They riot in LA because of a court decision, or a bunch of morons decide to loot after a hurricane or other natural disaster.

    Those are recent examples; in both, homeowners and business owners often sto

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.

Working...