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PostWatch
 

Monday, November 04, 2002
 
3:19 PM

The scary-looking gun ban... This story mentions Maryland gubenatorial candidate Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's proposal to place the Bushmaster rifle, the .223 that the DC sniper apparently used, on some kind of special banned-weapons list in that state. But there's nothing unique about this so-called "assault weapon" that distinguishes it from presumably less scary-looking .223s used for hunting, competitions, and target practice. You can put a scope and the exact same cartridge in any number of long arms. And to its credit, this story points out that the actual Bushmaster in question was acquired out of state. Townsend's law accomplishes nothing other than imposing another senseless restriction on citizens who obey the law. Classic.

This is spelled out nicely in a letter from Rob Van Hoose Salon, of all places, in response to a story that lies behind Salon's premium firewall.

Sugarmann lies. He invented the term "assault weapon." Look it up. Every one of his proposals sound reasonable unless a person knows anything about firearms and their design. You should have asked him to define "sniper rifle," since that's the flavor-of-the-month with the gun-control crowd. The truth is that any center-fire rifle with a telescopic sight could fall under the umbrella of "sniper rifle." You can't just ban "powerful" guns either.

The .223 Remington cartridge used by the Beltway sniper is a relatively weak cartridge. It's not legal for hunting deer in most states because it doesn't have enough power. My point is that this incrementalism that he advances is based on lies and half-truths. Either we want to allow private guns in this country, or not. If he wants to ban them all, then he should have the courage to say so.






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