The Democrats think, for some reason, that crusading for the ban of “assault rifles” is a winning issue. The very term is one of deception, since “assault rifle” would tend to conjure images of a fully automatic machine gun, which are decidedly not the problem when it comes to American mass shootings and are extremely difficult to obtain in any case. But the term is used to describe semi-automatic guns like the AR-15, which have in fact been used in many of the most sensationalized shootings of the past ten years. Not necessarily because they are “weapons of war,” as the anti-gun crowd likes to claim, but precisely because these guns are literally everywhere. The AR-15 and its clones are among the most popular rifles in the country, which makes it nearly inevitable that they will be used in these shootings more often than…less popular guns. Duh.
But the Democrats don’t want to admit that simple truth because it would undermine their whole argument against these guns. They have to get Americans to believe that these guns only exist to kill kindergartners and concert-goers. And that’s a relatively easy narrative to paint when this is the only time a lot of people are exposed to these guns. If there were a news segment on the air every week showing Joe Bob Nobody taking his AR-15 to the rifle range or wiping it down admiringly with a soft cloth, the country would understand that these guns are far from rare.
In the absence of that, we have the NRA to push back hard when a Democrat accidentally goes too far and instead of just insinuating that AR-15s are the sole possession of mass killers, actually comes right out and says it. That’s what Dianne Feinstein tried to do when questioning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh about his legal opinion on the constitutionality of an assault weapons ban.
In his writings, Kavanaugh has said that such a ban would almost certainly fall afoul of the Second Amendment and prior case law, seeing as how there is nothing exceptional or rare about semi-automatic rifles. They are, he said, in “common use.”
This is the phrase Feinstein objected to.
“I’m talking about your statement on common use,” she said. “Assault weapons are not in common use.”
Kavanaugh replied: “Semi-automatic rifles are widely possessed in the United States. There are millions and millions. That seemed to fit the [definition of] ‘common use’ and not being a dangerous and unusual weapon.”
Feinstein, though, shifted the goalposts to say that the definition of “common use” hinged on how often the guns were actually used…as though we could possibly have a statistic on that.
“If the Supreme Court were to adopt your reasoning,” she said, “I fear the number of victims would continue to grow.”
The NRA released a statement last week blasting Feinstein for her creative use of the English language.
Citing stats that show that more than 16 million AR-15 (and -alikes) have been sold in the U.S. over the last twenty years, they took her to task for denying the ubiquity of the rifles.
“Needless to say, there is nothing ‘reasonable’ or moderate about banning what is literally the most popular class of rifles in America,” the NRA wrote.
Perhaps Feinstein’s embarrassment from being involved in this debacle led her to try and save face with the Christine Blasey Ford letter.
Makes about as much sense as any other part of this disgraceful hearing.