On Fox News Sunday, California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein chose another tragedy to again push her heavy-handed, misguided anti-gun agenda.
Referring to the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle used by Jim Holmes to murder 12 people and injure many more, she portrays the popular sporting rifle as nothing but an instrument of murder and mayhem. “I have no problem with people being licensed and buying a firearm. But these are weapons that you are only going to be using to kill people in close combat,” said Feinstein. [emphasis added]
The AR designator stands for “Armalite Rifle” not assault rifle as the anti-gun liberals would have you believe. In fact, because it’s an AR-15 and not an M-16, it is not an automatic or select-fire weapon that would be used by troops in an assault. Instead, it’s a venerable sporting rifle used in competitions such as 3-gun, NRA high-power rifle (service rifle) and hunting.
The AR is a component-system, semi-automatic rifle which does not demand that it be used in close combat nor does it entice folks to shoot innocent people in close combat. Instead, it is a great platform for hunters and sporting shooters of all ages, genders and abilities. Some fit them with light, flat-shooting rounds for varmint hunting, others with heavy rounds to help deal with the feral swine (wild pig) infestation in the Southeast, and many calibers in between for everything from wolves to deer.
The fact that banning rifles like the AR-15 will amount to no fewer tragedies was not lost on Colorado’s own Governor Hickenlooper as he said, “”I mean, if he couldn’t have gotten access to the guns, what kind of bomb would he have manufactured.” Holmes’ apartment was littered with homemade bombs intended to kill. Blame the killer, not the tool.
Semi-automatic shotguns are used by today’s waterfowl and upland bird hunters as well as sporting clays shooters. The softer recoil and fire rates make the for better outings.
Rifles and shotguns are not purchased by millions of Americans in order to kill lots of people in close combat situations, in fact, they are almost never used for such purposes. One incident does not indicate the need to strip a huge portion of the American population tools they enjoy and use for legal purposes.
There is also the constitutional issue of the government limiting the ownership of firearms by its citizenry. Allowing the government to slice away little bits of that right will ultimately end with no rights at all. Today it will be AR-15s, tomorrow semi-auto shotguns, then pistols, then revolvers, then muzzle loaders, then black powder itself.
No amount of government regulation would have prevented the Aurora tragedy. In fact, rules disallowing concealed carry in the theater may have prevented that one person that could have halted the massacre as soon as it began. Instead, a psychopath was allowed to wander the theater knowing that his victims could do nothing – theater rules said so.
Outlawing semi-automatic sporting firearms will do no more to protect Americans than outlawing red-haired Phd students from going to the movies. The government cannot protect us at every step. We have to do that ourselves.