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Megan McArdle on the Assault Weapons Ban

Very good to see something like this in the Daily Beast, even though I’m a long time reader of Megan’s that predates her gig there:

That’s not really surprising, because long guns aren’t used in the majority of gun crimes, and “assault weapon” is a largely cosmetic rather than functional description; the guns that were taken off the street were not noticeably more lethal than the ones that remained. It was a largely symbolic law that made proponents of gun control feel good about “doing something”.

She goes on to speak about marginal regulations in general, but I think this particular issue goes even beyond many of those kinds of regulation which have disparate economic impacts. Sure, the AWB was an economic regulation if you’re a firearms maker. But laws on this subject generally go beyond that.

If you think an assault weapons ban is so important, you need to question whether it’s important enough to enable a SWAT team break down one of your neighbor’s door early one morning, pointing guns at his wife and and children, possibly shooting the family dog (often SOP for SWAT teams), and ransacking his house looking for evidence that he put the wrong parts kit on his legal firearm and a cop saw him at the range with it and took note. That is, fundamentally, what the assault weapons ban enables. And for what?

Our opponents often paint our opposition to these laws in selfish terms, as just a bunch of “guys who care more about their guns than they do children” but they often should look in the mirror. I don’t want to subject otherwise law-abiding hobbyists and enthusiasts to the wrath of the law so that the leaders of the Brady Campaign, Mayor Bloomberg, and CSGV, can feel better about themselves. How is that not as selfish as what they accuse us of?

11 Responses to “Megan McArdle on the Assault Weapons Ban”

  1. jerry says:

    never make it out of a house committee, and there are too many democrats in gun-friendly states (Heitkamp,Baucus, Tester to name a few) making it unlikley a gun ban of any type could clear the Senate. I suppose there could be the old executive order path, but I don’t see how that could withstand a court challenge.

  2. Jamie in ND says:

    I live in North Dakota where Senator elect Heitkamp is from. I don’t care what that liberal checked off on the NRA questioner, I wouldn’t trust that liberal phony to defend my 2A rights as far as could throw her fat a$$!!!

    • jerry says:

      Surprised she actually won, maybe she promised bigger federal bribes for North Dakota

      • Jamie in ND says:

        She campaigned as a Republican, same thing Dorkan,Pomeroid & Comrad did for years. I guess the people of my state still refuse to see past the BS. Our state govt is about as red as a state can get, I’m VERY disappointed RATkamp was elected.

  3. SPQR says:

    Sebastien, uh, her link in the blogroll goes to her Atlantic blog still … ;-)

  4. Brad says:

    Of course the real kicker is the various bans on so-called “assault weapons” have had the exact opposite effect intended. Instead of reducing the number of rifles and magazines in public hands, it has multiplied them manyfold.

    The fact is this entire field of what might be called paramilitary weapons was only a niche market until the anti-gunners tried to exploit that narrow appeal as an easy target, to bolster their campaign of gun prohibition. Boy did they miscalculate.

    Plus the timing of the anti-gunners couldn’t have been worse. Just as they began to have success in passing laws banning weapons, the market was flooded with dirt cheap imports of ammunition, parts and accessories dumped by former combatants of the Cold War. That lucky break certainly helped in the creation of the current constellation of domestic companies who specialize in manufacturing the “assault weapons” that were banned from importation.

    The final take away is just how fast and nimble the free market was in responding to the ponderous political threat posed by the effort to ban guns. Almost every step of the way the market side-stepped or outfoxed the law. It just shows how futile it is to attempt social engineering in a non-totalitarian society. Gun prohibition failed, just as alcohol prohibition failed. Heck even marijuana prohibition is beginning to fail.

    • HSR47 says:

      Beginning to fail? It has been a failure since it’s inception.

      • Brad says:

        Don’t misunderstand. I never meant to imply that the laws against marijuana ever achieved any of the goals desired by prohibitionists. When I said marijuana prohibition is beginning to fail, I meant that marijuana is slowly reestablishing legal status.

  5. SDN says:

    a cop saw him at the range with it and took note.

    Oh, you should be so lucky. Remember the guy across the street you called the cops on about 3 months ago because his amp really DID go to 11, and you have the broken windows to prove it? He notices your NRA bumper sticker and drops a dime on the anonymous tip line to the cops (or BATFE) that you’re one of them “bitter-clinger militia wingnuts.” You’ll never know what prompted that little visit. Ask Patterico how that works.

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