Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Gun Control Lobby Lobs a Lie

In our continuing focus on debunking liberal lies, I'd like to take a look at a major whopper perpetuated by the gun control lobby and unfortunately, widely believed. Here we go:

"The NRA wants machine guns to be legal"

I heard this one the other night, not for the first time, and the conversation always goes something like this:

me: "no they dont..."
lc: "yes!"
me: "no"
lc: "yes, they fought against the assault weapons ban..."
me: "assault weapons are just scary looking rifles, sometimes with large magazines. magazines can be regulated seperately if needed."
lc: "no, assault weapons are fully automatic"
me: "not true. you bought the lie."

For the real scoop, I reference the indispensible wikipedia for a full account of assault weapons.

Some highlights:

An assault weapon is generally defined as a semi-automatic firearm that is similar in name, appearance, or design to a fully automatic firearm or military weapon. An assault weapon may also be defined as a firearm that satisfies a certain set of conditions designated by one of several laws. This term lacks a concise definition and is considered by many supporters of gun rights to be pejorative. Note that this term is not synonymous with assault rifle, which has an established technical definition and is capable of fully automatic fire.

The close similarity to the term assault rifle and wide variety of definitions has led to considerable confusion over this term. In addition, inaccurate media reporting and political propaganda have created a common misperception that this term covers many items regulated in the United States by the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934. For instance, although grenade launchers are covered in many of the assault weapons laws, each individual grenade is controlled, registered, and taxed under the NFA.

Perhaps the largest area of confusion surrounding this term is the difference between a machine-gun and an assault weapon. A machine-gun is universally recognized as a fully automatic weapon, while the current statutory definitions for assault weapons describe them as semi-automatic. Further, the National Firearms Act of 1934 specifically addresses fully automatic weapons, and the private ownership and usage of them is extremely regulated.

There is also the perception that firearms that fall under this category can be easily modified for fully automatic fire. This is not the case since the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) regulations for manufacturers place certain restrictions on firearm product design to comply with the provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934 and the amendments to the McClure-Volkmer Act of 1986 that pertain to machine-gun ownership. These regulations require that semi-automatic firearms sold in the United States be especially difficult to convert to fully automatic operation.

The misconception that assault weapons are or can be fully automatic is extremely widespread and should be battled in the name of the truth. Even if you are a gun control advocate, shouldn't you be dealing in truth rather than deception?

Or is this where politics comes in?

Is it really OK to perpetuate untruths in order to acheive your political ends?

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