I’ve never had the desire to own an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and I’m willing to bet that this is true with the majority of gun owners across this country. Maybe not the AR specifically, but every gun owner can point to models that were just never a part of his or her wish list.
For me, my personal interests in owning firearms fall into two simple categories — hunting and protection for myself, my family and my home. I don’t own a single gun that could ever be called an “assault weapon.”
Or do I?
This past week, California U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced a bill to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. As you’ve heard about it in the news over the last week, that’s about the best description that has been given to the proposed legislation.
And I’ve yet to see a single talking head on CNN to speak of anything other than “military-style” firearms when telling about it. The truth behind what could become law, however, goes much deeper.
Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 “bans the sale, transfer, manufacturing and importation of:
• All semi-automatic rifles that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one military feature: pistol grip; forward grip; folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; grenade launcher or rocket launcher; barrel shroud; or threaded barrel.
• All semi-automatic pistols that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one military feature: threaded barrel; second pistol grip; barrel shroud; capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip; or semi-automatic version of an automatic firearm.
• All semi-automatic rifles and handguns that have a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
• All semi-automatic shotguns that have a folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; pistol grip; fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than five rounds; ability to accept a detachable magazine; forward grip; grenade launcher or rocket launcher; or shotgun with a revolving cylinder.
• All ammunition-feeding devices (magazines, strips and drums) capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.”
• 157 specifically named firearms
The legislation excludes the following weapons from this bill:
• Any weapon that is lawfully possessed at the date of the bill’s enactment;
• Any firearm manually operated by a bolt, pump, lever or slide action;
• Assault weapons used by military, law enforcement, and retired law enforcement; and
• Antique weapons
The legislation protects hunting and sporting firearms:
• The bill excludes 2,258 legitimate hunting and sporting rifles and shotguns by specific make and model.
The legislation strengthens the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and state bans by:
• Moving from a two characteristic test to a one characteristic test.
• Making the ban harder to evade by eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test.
• Banning dangerous after-market modifications and workarounds.
• Bump or slide fire stocks, which are modified stocks that enable semi-automatic weapons to fire at rates similar to fully automatic machine guns.
• So-called “bullet buttons” that allow the rapid replacement of ammunition magazines, frequently used as a workaround to prohibitions on detachable magazines.
• Thumbhole stocks, a type of stock that was created as a workaround to avoid prohibitions on pistol grips.
• Adding a ban on the importation of assault weapons and large capacity magazines.
• Eliminating the 10-year sunset that allowed the original federal ban to expire.
The legislation addresses the millions of assault weapons and large capacity magazines currently in existence by:
• Requiring a background check on all sales or transfers of a grandfathered assault weapon. This background check can be run through the FBI or, if a state chooses, initiated with a state agency, as with the existing background check system.
• Prohibiting the sale or transfer of large-capacity ammunition feeding devices lawfully possessed on the date of enactment of the bill.
• Allowing states and localities to use federal Byrne JAG grants to conduct a voluntary gun buy-back program for grandfathered assault weapons and large- capacity ammunition feeding devices.
• Imposing a safe storage requirement for grandfathered firearms, to keep them away from prohibited persons.
• Requiring that assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices manufactured after the date of the bill’s enactment be engraved with the serial number and date of manufacture of the weapon.”
By design, the wording of the legislation doesn’t sound so bad. They’re just going after the “bad guns,” right? The reality of it is, though, that it encompasses far more than the mythical assault weapon that Feinstein wants you to believe she’s after.
Just consider, a semi-automatic shotgun specifically designed for turkey hunting that features a telescoping stock and pistol grip, as mine does, would now be illegal. I’m sure that the ones currently made will fall into that list of 2,258 “legitimate” hunting guns named by make and model, but that’s nothing more than a backhanded trick to crush the gun industry.
You see, by listing them by make and model within the law itself, gun manufacturers would never be able to make the slightest change, even cosmetically, to introduce a “new model” to the public and boost their sales as every industry does with every product out there.
My little .22 squirrel gun will officially become an assault weapon, too. It’s a semi-auto that’s capable of holding 30 rounds.
Both of my Glock pistols would be affected. Yes, I know it says that this ban does not include guns owned before the potential enactment of this legislation, but they’re playing with words again on this one.
Sure, it won’t stop me from owning them, but let’s say I decide to sell them or even give them away. It won’t be legal for me to do so unless I come out of pocket and buy two new magazines that hold no more than 10 in each. The ones that came from the factory with them hold 12 and 15 and could never be sold or transferred to someone else.
As if that’s not enough, if I chose to sell or give away my turkey gun or my .22 rifle it would be my responsibility to see that the buyer passed a background check.
I have joked of this in the past but, as we are swallowed up by more ridiculous attempts to infringe on the rights of the people, I’m starting to feel more inclined to follow through.
If, as they’ve threatened, Texas were to secede, I might just have to apply for citizenship in that new “Lonestar Nation.”