Stupid Lawsuit of the Day

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The Brady Campaign and the Million Mom March are suing the Justice Department for failing to stop gun manufacturers from selling certain new parts for assault weapons that were grandfathered under the 1994 assault weapon ban.

So, you might ask, how many people are being killed by these life-extended "assault weapons?" You won't find an answer to that obvious question in the Brady Campaign's "Press Q&A" on the lawsuit.

They claim that "the policy has resulted in thousands more assault weapons being available for criminal use than would be the case if ATF?s enforcement policies had followed the law," which attempts to blur any distinction between the mere existence of a weapon and whether it is used in a crime.

Go here for information on the use of "assault weapons" in crime.

NEXT: Not in Front of the Children

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  1. Russ,

    I like the way you think …

  2. Neb, are you saying it’s appropriate for the government to ban weapons based on their destructive potential?

  3. You can bet your ass that if the AWB lapses this fall I’m buying a few of them, just because I can. And them I’m going to stockpile as many “high-capacity” (actually they are just normal capacity, but whatever…) magazines for as many different guns as I can afford. Because rest assured some twit will shoot somebody with an “evil assault weapon” and this whole lame cycle of legislation will start all over again.

  4. joe – I thought neb was just cataloging definitions. How about this… using a .50 bmg to shoot abandoned cars in the desert seems like a swell idea to me, and I’d have plenty of fun doing it (especially since repeated ballistic impact is the pnly agency reasonably available to spedd the decay and assure the disappearance in our lifetimes of large scale automotive litter in desert environments), but I’d support harsh penalties for anyone using the thing to plink out the gophers in a suburban backyard. I don’t want to devolve into simplistic ‘personal responsibility’ arguments, but just owning the thing ought not to be criminalized.

    When it comes to it, I wouldn’t mind using a seige engine to throw boulders at the things, either.

  5. What these asshats don?t seem to realize is they?ve merely banned cosmetic features.

    I can still buy an ?AR-15? but because of the ban it has to be called a ?Colt sporter.? Looks practically the same, functions the same, has a muzzle break instead of a flash hider. The only difference between pre ban and post ban weapons is their dollar value.

    As an avid gun collector, I?m counting down the days till the ban expires. Sure, I have a few pre ban items that will probably loose value, but it?ll be made up for in cheap new stuff. And as GoonFood points out, there will be attempts to re-ban the stuff.

    Note to all capitalists: this is going to be a great investment opportunity come September!

  6. joe said:


    “Neb, are you saying it’s appropriate for the government to ban weapons based on their destructive potential?”

    joe, are you saying that you’re a nitwit? 😉

    Why is it that people think it’s clever to paraphrase someone as saying something completely different.

    So, what you’re saying is that you like killing babies and eating their tasty flesh?

    I said is that the BATF determines the type of permit required to own a weapon based on diameter of the barrel – and this applies to potato guns as well.

    If you’re confused about what I said, go back and read it again.

  7. I care not a whit one way or another on this one. However, when Alissi links to an obviously partisan site where every referenced study is over a decade old and then ignores reference from the Brady Q&A that the use of “assault weapons” used in crime has dropped 66% (from a small number to a tiny number, for sure), complete with a link to a current study, then I get my antenna up.

  8. Buy some Pamprin, Neb, just trying to start a conversation.

  9. Gadfly:

    That statistic is fascinating to me, and I’m not being sarcastic this time. If you buy firearms at all you know, the ban did literally nothing but change the cosmetics of certain weapons and make the taboo cosmetics much more expensive.

    I don’t even know that the ban drove up prices on the post ban Clinton friendly models. I am baffled as to how this law could have any effect at all. Is it perceived scarcity? Are they counting any handgun with a magazine of greater than a 10 round capacity as an ‘assault weapon’?

    The world needs at least one firearms economist …

  10. Its the divide and conquer strategy. Pit bullseye target shooters against spray-n-pray shooters. Pit over/under bird shooters against hand cannon shooters.

    The solution is for us to buy one of each kind of gun. Then it will always be “our” guns they are banning.

    Come to think of it, I don’t own a single-action revolver…

  11. If the issue was speech, these regulations and the lawsuit in question would constitute prior restraint.

    jason – by the same logic that makes a derringer that will chamber a .410 a “sawed-off shotgun”, yeah.

  12. Hey Russ, I own one of those derringers- talk about worthless.

    I could believe deaths by “assualt weapons” is down 66%. A person attacked with a Colt Sporter was not killed by an “assualt weapon”, but rather by a semiauto rifle. Never mind that its the same gun as the AR-15 “assualt rifle”, the kill will not fall into the “assualt weapon” death category. I’m betting, without doing the research, that if the 66% number is real (a big if), it is mostly due to the tec-9. They were cheap (in price and quality – IMO) and looked bad-assed enough that a gang punk would probably want one. Now they are less available so he (sorry for the sexism but its usually a he) is more likely to buy something more normal like a S&W model 910, or a 9mm Ruger, or more likely, an inexpensive import pistol – all of which are probably going to outperform the tec-9. The next person killed by said gang member will not have been killed by an “assualt weapon”, but by a “good” weapon. I know I feel better.

  13. Let me clarify that if those are illegal now, er, uh, I don’t actually own one…

  14. The 66% figure is bogus. They cite “gun traces”, but gun traces do not have a one-to-one relationship to gun crimes. Many, probably most, guns used IN crime ARE NOT traced; many guns that are NOT used in crime ARE traced. ATF has stated publically that gun traces CANNOT be used to measure gun use in crime.

  15. I did some research, and found out that ATF does indeed trace guns specifically use in crimes. They trace guns based upon requests from local law enforcement. However, not ALL crime guns are traced (it wouldn’t even be possible to do so), and there is essentially a biased selection of the guns to be traced. So the data is still worthless.

    The other issue is what, exactly, is an “assault weapon”? Are pre-ban ARs assault weapons, while post-bans are not? Almost everything you could get before the ban you can get now. Some, like the FN-FAL and G-3 clones are cheaper than ever. It is hard to see how this legislation could have helped at all.

    Of course, the early 90s were the time of major ganbang activity in the inner cities. All forms of gun crime have gone down since then. So a study of AW crime pre-94 to post-94 probably would show a drop, just as a study of revolver crimes will show a drop.

  16. “I’m betting, without doing the research, that if the 66% number is real (a big if), it is mostly due to the tec-9. They were cheap (in price and quality – IMO) and looked bad-assed enough that a gang punk would probably want one.”

    I’ve never seen evidence that TEC-9s were used in many shootings (I know that back in the day, the likes of Feinstein put forward trace data, part of gun control junk science). LA gangs tended towards handguns (often .38s), .22 rimfire rifles and shotguns. .22 rifles are quite (often more quite than silenced weapons), have no recoil, and for a gang member with a stolin weapon, disposable.

    When a semi-auto centerfire rifle was used, it was typically a Ruger Mini-14 or fixed-magazine SKS–neither of which were banned as assault weapons.

  17. Gadfly said:

    “the Brady Q&A that the use of ‘assault weapons’ used in crime has dropped 66% (from a small number to a tiny number, for sure)”

    …of course this would be true if manufacturers were making the same weapons – but changing cosmetic features so that they no longer fall under the invented definition of an “assault weapon”.

    People love the notion that they can change criminal behavior simply by passing a few laws.

    And it’s even easier to support that your legislation *worked* by eliminating weapons with identical mechanisms and ammunition by simply eliminating them from the scope of what you consider to be problem weapons (only for your stats though) so that you can justify widening the ban to cover new threats to the public (namely, the same guns you tried to ban before that have been modified to get around your silly cosmetic rules).

    If looks could kill, they might have something.

  18. Jason Ligon said:


    “The world needs at least one firearms economist…”

    It has at least one. John Lott.

    …and you can even email him your questions about guns and economics.

    Let us know what he says!

  19. Don,

    Most people called the Post Ban Bushmaster .223 used in the D.C. “sniper” spree an “Assault Weapon.” There are so many things you can call the gun grabbers, but consistent isn?t one of them.

    First, by their own definition, it should have been called a semi-auto rifle, not an assault weapon. Second, the fact that it was legal and post-ban proved what a stupid law the AWB is. Third, calling the unfortunate situation ?sniping? is egregious. Shooting from an average of 50 yards away is not sniping. Especially with a flat shooting .22 centerfire and a scope.

    I think it?s hilarious that they?re revealing to the more knowledgeable world how they can?t be trusted. I?m not sure if they?re stupid or devious, but either way they?re a danger to liberty.

  20. Ayatollah Usoe said:

    “The solution is for us to buy one of each kind of gun. Then it will always be “our” guns they are banning.”

    I think the AWbansunset site says it best:

    “It is only when you realize that the ultimate goal of organizations such as these is the eventual total ban of all private ownership of firearms that the movements to ban certain types of firearms (cheap guns, small guns, large guns, scary looking guns, etc.) makes sense, as each one represents a necessarily small step towards banning all guns.”

    SOURCE: AWbansunset.com

  21. Oh, and I forgot to mention – the anti-gun people have tried to ban all of the types of guns listed in my above post:

    cheap guns – “saturday night specials”
    small guns – pistols
    large guns – “.50 caliber rifles”
    scary looking guns – “assault weapons”

    The same groups back the same bans because as a whole, all of the different bans amount to a situation where only the wealthy and criminals have guns. Kind of like in New York City where (for the most part) only celeberties and politicians are allowed to have guns.

  22. kmw said:

    “Shooting from an average of 50 yards away is not sniping.”

    The news media calls the I-270 (Columbus, OH) Shooter a “Sniper” about half the time – even though he used a pistol and nearly always missed.

  23. Unless this statute has some citizen’s suit provision in it that I don’t know about (and I doubt it does since very few laws have it), these guys are going to get laughed out of court.

  24. The media doesn’t help dispel the myth.

    On Thursday, March 11th, 2004 on the NPR program Morning Edition, Larry Abramson reported that:

    “Automatic weapons may be against the law in the united states. But in
    the hands of an experienced shooter, this semi-automatic rifle comes…
    pretty close.”
    (2:41 seconds into the audio stream)

    In fact, full-auto machineguns are perfectly legal – even in cities where “assault weapons” are banned.

    Of course, Larry can’t let a 5 minute fact checking phone call to the ATF get in the way of a sensational story.

    Elsewhere, he explained that “assault weapons” are “designed to spray bullets”. To clarify, “assault weapons” which require one trigger pull for each round fired will only shoot as fast as you pull the trigger.

    A similar rate of fire can be achieved from an old fashioned cowboy pistol or Winchester rifle – so they must be “designed to spray bullets” too – right?

    This leads me to the conclusion that the only firearms not designed to “spray bullets” are muzzle-loading muskets.

    This brings us back to the stupid argument that the framers of the constitution only had muskets in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment.

  25. “the policy has resulted in thousands more assault weapons being available for criminal use…”

    Wouldn’t the exact same number of assault weapons also be available to thwart criminals? Has the Brady Campaign and the two-million mammary march already decided the use of the guns these parts go into?

    Here in the police state of NJ, these guns have been banned, so mere possession at home becomes “criminal use.”

  26. Well they certainly must have had 18th century style cannons in mind too, right Nab?

  27. Kind of funny that the last time a legally registered machine gun was used in a crime was by a police officer who stole it from the police weapons locker and gunned down a mob informant in the 1930’s. Legal guns generally are used to kill criminals. Rarely is anyone stupid enough to use a registered gun of any sort to do the deed. If assault weapons are so criminal, why do only criminals have them? It is because of the vision of the anointed folks over at the Brady Campaign and 3M that we honest individuals cannot properly defend ourselves.

    The real problem is that this lawsuit, if successful, will really screw with law enforcement’s ability to protect and serve. If they are unable to obtain replacement parts, then their weapons will become obsolete and useless.

    But this belies the real extortion that Brady and 3M are pervertly perpetrating on gun owners. What these groups want is to ban all gun ownership. This is just a small step towards that goal. Gun control advocates in this country are not stupid. They have to know that every dictator has limited the ability of people to individually and collectively defend themselves against the state and others. The most recent example is Haiti and Aristide’s use of armed gangs to enforce his vision of civil control while imprisoning those who could threaten his regime…gun owners and opposition members. The most blatant example is Hitler and his ban on all private ownership of weapons. This drastically reduced any (except the German military’s) ability to defend themselves against the German state or even Hitler’s S.A. Brownshirts.

  28. Joan, cannons are classified as artillery, not arms.

  29. “joan kerry” said:


    “Well they certainly must have had 18th century style cannons in mind too, right Nab?”

    Umm, it’s “Neb”. Rhymes with Jeb.

    Cannons are categorized as “destructive devices” and are forbidden for civilian ownership.

    You can read more about “destructive devices” at the BATF website – it’s mentioned here in their “potato gun FAQ” (your tax dollar$ at work!).

    Essentially any projectile launcher with a diameter over a ceartain size is regulated. Especially if it fires explosive projectiles.

    I am not aware of anything banning Seige Engines though.

  30. sorry I got the name wrong. i hope you caught that i was joking about the cannons, not really serious.

  31. I like to camp. I’m not fond of national or state parks, or other developed recreational sites. These tend to be crowded, pre- and over-booked, and have “hosts” whose attitudes and behaviors remind of my third grade teacher. Happily, many other venues are freely available, not too far away. Typically, these are without cell phone, and sometimes without CB access. Calling 911, even if possible, would be silly- its a minumum 1 hour drive just to get to base camp. These spots aren’t as crowded as their developed and industrialized counterparts, but they are a shared resource. More and more often, we share them with marijuana gardeners, methamphetemine distillers, and other cozy types. What’s your basic white bread See-the-USA-in-Your-Chevrolet, kodak moment family gonna do? Other than not worry about an extra 6 pounds of lightweigh, accurate, .223 wholesome family value goodness strapped to the backpack, I mean?

  32. There’s a funny story about the mini-14, otherwise known as the “ranch rifle”. Its available in semi-auto only but has a military look to it (an “assualt weapon” to an idiot). It was included on the assault weapon ban bad-list until a legislature (forgot who) objected, saying something to the effect of “hey, I’ve got one of those. I use it to hunt turkey”. It was then taken off the list. Clearly a scientific process – if a senator hunts turkey with it, it simply can’t be an assault weapon.

  33. Jason Ligon:
    {I don’t even know that the ban drove up prices on the post ban Clinton friendly models. I am baffled as to how this law could have any effect at all. Is it perceived scarcity? Are they counting any handgun with a magazine of greater than a 10 round capacity as an ‘assault weapon’?}

    There was an interesting unintended consequence of the AW ban. Since new magazines could only hold 10 rounds pistol manufacturers quit designing handguns to hold a 15-round 9mm magazine or a 7-round .45 cal magazine. To replace the now-illegal guns they designed new ones using smaller 10-round .40 or .45 cal magazines. The result was smaller handguns with bigger bullets. Luckily for the manufacturers the new handguns came out when state after state was passing concealed handgun licensing laws, so they instantly became popular.

    The anti-gun folks who wrote the AW ban picked up on this trend, labeled the new sidearms “Pocket Rockets,” and indulged in their usual hysterical nonsense. Without admitting, of course, that their own legislation paved the way.

    Me? I get to legally carry a Glock 30. Considerably smaller than my old Colt 1911, it holds eleven .45ACP cartridges instead of eight. Since I carry a spare magazine, that’s a total of 21 instead of 15 rounds available, and the gun is much easier to conceal.

    Anti-gunners; be careful what you wish for.

    PS on “sniping.” Check out Metallic Handgun Silhouette competition. ( http://www.ihmsa.org/) Big bore handguns are shot at targets set out to 200 meters. Smallbore .22 cal pistol targets range out to 100 meters. Note these are handguns fired standing and unsupported, not rifles.

  34. kmw,

    The Bushmaster used in the DC shootings was a flat top with bipod, etc., essentially a semi-auto varmit rifle. The shooters originally had a Remington 700 (bolt action hunting rifle, that is the basis for most US sniper rifles), but they lost in in a field and stole the Bushmaster.

    Neb Okla,

    They wanted to ban “plastic pistols”, too.

    Larry,

    You are correct about the unintended consequence of the ban.

  35. Arms in the hands of citizens (may) be used at individual discretion…in private self defense… — John Adams, A defense of the Constitutions of the Government of the USA, 471 (1788).

    Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. … The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safegaurd against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proven to be possible. — Hubert H. Humphrey, Senator, Vice President, 22 October 1959

    The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed. — Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-8.

    Laws that forbid the carrying of arms… disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. — Thomas Jefferson in “Commonplace Book,” 1774-1776, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment, by criminologist Cesare Beccaria, 1764

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