Cats and Dogs, Living Together Part XXXVI

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The New York Times notices that, despite the expiration of the assault weapon ban, we're not all dead.

NEXT: Drudge at 10

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  1. The weird thing is that now even the gun control groups in that article are saying the ban was useless. I could be mistaken, but weren’t those the same groups that were going nuts when the ban was about to expire?

  2. It was Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein claimg our streets “Would now be awash in assault guns”. Fearmongers all.

  3. Yeah, I remember the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial page had apocalyptic visions of a post-ban world. But over this weekend, it ran an article saying that (paraphrase from memory, not exact quote) “according to both gun manufacturers and some proponents of gun control,” the ban was “so porous” that criminals were able to get the banned weapons anyway, so the expiration had little effect.

    They also had one expert say that nowadays, military-style weapons aren’t all the rage with the criminal element that they once were — they’d rather have a simple 9mm handgun. I’ll buy that — I’ve read that military-looking “assault weapons” were used in less than 2% of gun crimes in the first place.

    According the SLP-D editorial I read, deaths by assault weapon declined 65% since the ban. They didn’t give any absolute numbers, though. I tried to look up and crunch the numbers myself once (it was hard to find apples-to-apples figures), and came up with roughly 300 deaths per year due to assault weapons, at the outside. That’s about the number of toddlers who drown in swimming pools annually. By that figuring, banning swimming pools would save more lives than banning assault weapons.

  4. Good. Now maybe DC will repeal the equally useless handgun ban.

    (I won’t hold my breath)

  5. Stevo-

    What would the Puppy Pope say about dogs and cats living together?

    By that figuring, banning swimming pools would save more lives than banning assault weapons.

    Actually much more, because toddlers aren’t the only ones who drown in swimming pools.

    Won’t somebody think of the adults?

  6. Feinstein was still fearmongering in that article. Its great to hear her blather something and then have statistics and experts completely refute it in the next paragraph.

  7. Of course, the article still buys into two silly premises:

    That assault weapons were a problem, and that the ban had no real effect on anything because it was “porous”.

    That the term “assault weapon” is coherent.

  8. Matt Yglesias noted the other day that the Donkeys at large would be much better off letting gun control drop. I would tend to agree, since it is the pre eminent reason that no Democrat has ever gotten my vote. I could never find a counter to conservative friends who would say, “If Dems win, Schumer gets his way.”

  9. They always knew it was useless. The whole point was to get people used to idea of banning whole classes of guns.

  10. The repeal had at least one good effect: It brought down the price of magazines for my high-capacity .45 pistol. They were going for $100.00 a year ago; I just paid $35.00 for one at a gun show.

  11. Jason-

    I’m tempted to agree with you and say that the Dems would be much better off without gun control, but I’m not convinced. Don’t get me wrong, I oppose gun control as well, but I wonder just how much of a boost the Dems would get from dropping it. For starters, it’s one thing for them to announce a new position, but how many gun owners would actually believe that the leopard has changed its spots? And even among those who do believe it, how many would change sides based just on that issue?

    Also, in the aftermath of a close election just about anybody can point to any issue and say “This would give them the 1% that they need to win”, but there are always trade-offs. Not that die-hard gun grabbers would bolt to the GOP, but a certain number of activists and donors might become apathetic. And in the aftermath of a close election, it’s easy to argue that just a handful of additional activists and donors could have made the difference.

    Basically, the Democrats won’t change their minds on gun control just to eke out a few more percentage points. They’ll need to see a larger benefit.

    Perhaps if the Puppy Pope issued a papal bulldog proclaiming that gun ownership is OK… 😉

  12. thoreau,

    There are quite a few union NRA types who would vote Dem if gun control wasn’t pushed by the Democratic Party. On the other hand, I don’t see the Dem gun banners voting Repub just ’cause the Dems drop the issue, and most of them are not going to vote Peace & Freedom or Green on the basis of that issue, either. I think the Dems could net some votes by dropping gun control as an issue.

    I tend to think they would still be fighting a rearguard battle against the Repubs.

  13. Actually, in-line with my post above about magazines for my high-capacity pistol …

    Analysis of the assault weapon ban has largely skipped over one of the unintended consequences of the law. Unable to purchase 15- and 17-round magazines for their Glocks — the feature that had made the 9mm attractive to begin with — many gun purchasers regained interest in pistols that packed more punch into each shot. That revived interest in the .45 and created demand for new calibers like the .40 and the 10mm.

    As a result, a large proportion of the pistols carries by concealed weapon permit holders are so-called “pocket rockets”: small pistols carrying a limited number of potent large-caliber rounds.

  14. thoreau,

    What would the Puppy Pope say about dogs and cats living together?

    It’s not just what the current Puppy Pope wants, it’s something that will have to take my congregation into consideration. Puppy Pope Rex made several promising overtures in the past, but final pronouncements will need much more collaboration.

  15. My apologies, high priestess. I know there are many bones of contention to work out.

    Don-

    I suspect you might be right. Dropping the support for gun control might be a net positive for Democrats. But even if it were a net positive it would probably be a small net positive.

  16. I notice that joe is conspicuously absent from this thread. He’s usually all over gun control topics. Is he sick today? Maybe someone should give him a call at home…

  17. J.D., Yes, compact .40s and .45s with slim, single column grips. More powerful and more compact (and concealable) than a high capacity 9. And, few shootings involved many shots fired in the first place, realistically if you have fired more than four or five shoots you are probably either done or out of time . . .

    thoreau, I think the Dems would have been happy with small net gains in 2000 and 2004.

  18. thoreau:

    You seem to be insinuating that the Jason Ligon constituency isn’t worth pursuing. Nooo! Can this be true? 🙂

    I keep hearing from all these Matt Y type Democrats, and I count joe among those, that my vision of what Dems are is stuck in a time warp. I shouldn’t be paying attention to Schumer or Pelosi to get a feel for what the party is all about. They are not about a humongous welfare state (except for healthcare), they are the Party of Fiscal Responsibility. They are actually pro growth and don’t REALLY want to crap on individual liberty. By this theory, the gun control crowd aren’t mainstream.

    I would have to see some evidence before I could be converted to this view of the modern Democrat, but these are things that Democrats tell me.

  19. Don-

    Good point. A small net gain in Florida would have been enough to change history.

  20. but wouldn’t such a strategy have resulted in a net loss of democrats who feel strongly about gun control?

  21. thoreau:

    More specifically to Don’s point. The Dems strategists more or less accept that guns lost them West Virginia and Tennessee at a minimum in 2000.

  22. Dems won’t let go of gun control because they don’t want to see the related shift of dollars. They have enough trouble with the likes of Nader now, imagine if he had the backing of someone like Soros. In the end, I think it comes down to timing, if the Dems shift too early they give an opportunity to the extreme “no guns” crowd to find a suitable place to run and if it’s too late they won’t draw enough votes to make a difference. But then again the reason to put Dr. Dean in charge may be to get that union NRA vote looking in the Dem. direction.

  23. High Priestess Snowball III and I have much to work through. The wounds of history make this difficult. Unfortunately, the Roamin’ Outside the Yard Again Cat-Lick Church has in the past been slandered as anti-felinic — a charge that is baseless; and also, we already apologized for it.

    We are still at the initial, tentative butt-sniffing stages. I hope for more ecumenical progress later this year. Ditto for the papal bulldog on the right to bear paws. Of late I have been much-distracted by the recent Terrier Schiavo case.

    More for another time. Dog bless you all.

  24. but wouldn’t such a strategy have resulted in a net loss of democrats who feel strongly about gun control?

    1) Few feel strongly, I suspect, but unfortunatly for the Dems they tend to be Party “movers & shakers”.

    2) Those that find the Greens (etc.) appealing at all are already gone.

  25. “According the SLP-D editorial I read, deaths by assault weapon declined 65% since the ban. They didn’t give any absolute numbers, though. I tried to look up and crunch the numbers myself once (it was hard to find apples-to-apples figures), and came up with roughly 300 deaths per year due to assault weapons, at the outside.

    Comment by: Stevo Darkly at April 25, 2005 12:22 PM”

    If (1) deaths by assault weapons decreased by 65% during the ban and (2) didn’t increase after it was lifted, doesn’t that suggest that the ban worked and people got out of the habit of using assault weapons to kill people?

  26. Syd,

    Those who spout such statistics are always changing the definition of the term “assault weapons.”

    The stats are doctored whenever convenient. If it helps their cause, they’ll classify an SKS as an assault weapon. When they want to tout the benefits of the ban, which an SKS isn’t covered under, they’ll quietly remove it from the definition.

    I don’t remember the exact numbers — it’s been awhile — but the SKS is the most common rifle found in crime statistics. However, it’s still dwarfed by the use of cheap, small caliber pistols.

  27. None of the weapons covered by the ban were actual assualt weapons to begin with.

  28. Also, the SKS is the most common RIFLE used in crime because

  29. Damn, I lost my first line. (Apparently because of a lack of closed bracket.)

    It should read:
    _________
    Also, the SKS is the most common RIFLE used in crime because it’s cheap, and readily available.
    _________

  30. Nice Ghostbusters reference, Julian.

  31. f (1) deaths by assault weapons decreased by 65% during the ban and (2) didn’t increase after it was lifted, doesn’t that suggest that the ban worked and people got out of the habit of using assault weapons to kill people?

    Well, no, because one has to look at the overall murder rate and see what sort of substitution effect took place. Or, as Archie Bunker once remarked to Gloria when she lamented the number of people killed by handguns, “Would it make you feel better if they was pushed outta windows?”

  32. Ever since the mid-eighties, when Florida made its concealed handgun law shall-issue, every time the subject of civilians with guns comes up the anti-gun folks have predicted disaster. Fender-benders will turn into firefights, blood will flow in the streets, pilots will shoot their passengers, assault rifles will massacre people, fifty caliber rifles will shoot down airliners, Five-n-seveNs will slaughter police, etc. For twenty years, over dozens of predictions, they’ve been wrong every time.

    I keep waiting for the members of the press, trained to ask the hard questions, to notice this trend and start inquiring as to why the sky is really going to fall this time.

  33. Well, Larry pretty much said what I was going to say . I glanced over the article, and my thought was that if even the gun-banners say the ban was meaningless and ineffective, why the hell didn’t the reporter ask “So why, only a few months ago, did you predict Armageddon if it was allowed to lapse?” The cynical part of me says the answer to that is “because the reporter doesn’t want to piss off his parent, best friend, bedmate, or whichever crony it was he got that quote from.”

    Another part of me, equally cynical but perhaps more paranoid says “Of course the antis legitimately didn’t think it went far enough, because it wasn’t ‘Mr. & Mrs. America, turn ’em in’, but anything that gets people used to arbitrary bans is fine by them.”

  34. Of course, there’s the one element to the story that almost everyone has ignored: assault weapons are EXPENSIVE. Most people won’t bother to go out of their financial way to get one.

  35. Personal anecdote –

    When the assault weapon ban was about to go into affect, I checked around gun stores in northern Nevada to see about the availability of the guns. I found that every store had sold out their stocks of “assault weapons” at 50-75% markups, along with magazines, slings and other paraphenalia.

    I have no nationwide figures, but I imagine that similar phenomena were observed at other retail gun establishments across the country. The reason that there was no big surge in assault weapons sales when the ban was lifted is probably because the people most likely to buy them loaded up before the ban went into effect.

    oblomov81’s point is also a good one – even legal, assault weapons are quite expensive both to purchase and operate. It makes a lot more sense for gunowners to use 10mm and .40 S&W handguns, which are cheaper and easier to use and conceal.

  36. Contrary to popular belief, the AWB’s expiration has not caused “assault weapons” to flood the streets. I was hoping to pick up 5 or 10 as they floated past my house. All I managed to get were those three cars that got caught in my net. And I still have this stupid Zodiac boat sitting in my front yard.

  37. A point on statistics:

    Per FBI data, in 1990 – 92, four police were killed with semiauto rifles (out of over 400 killed, including 39 with own weapon, 21 by other police, and a total of 20 by rifles of all types).

    In one day in 1993 (at Waco, Texas), four police were killed by semiauto rifles. As many as over the previous three years combined.

    That’s a significant % increase–due to a single incident. When your total numbers as statistically insignificant, it is easy to obtain huge % increases that don’t mean anything (or decreases, for that matter).

  38. An assault weapon is expensive? Depends on what that “assault weapon” is and when you bought it. An SKS, which as I’m sure you all know becomes evil when it has a detachable mag, flash hider, bayonet lug, etc., only cost(s) about $150.

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