Harry Reid's Sorry Excuse for Suddenly Supporting an 'Assault Weapon' Ban


Office of Harry Reid

Today Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reversed his longstanding opposition to a renewed "assault weapon" ban, explaining his new stance this way:

We must strike a better balance between the right to defend ourselves and the right of every child in America to grow up safe from gun violence.

I'll vote for the ban because maintaining the law and order is more important than satisfying conspiracy theorists who believe in black helicopters and false flags. I'll vote for the ban because saving the lives of police officers, young and old, and innocent civilians, young and old, is more important than preventing imagined tyranny.

In short, Reid will vote for an "assault weapon" ban because he has suddenly discovered, to his dismay, that the people who are against it are a bunch of crazy conspiracy theorists. He does not explain how prohibiting certain arbitrarily selected, functionally unimportant firearm features serves "the law and order" or saves people's lives, probably because there is no credible reason to think it will do either of those things. In fact, if the choice is between believing in the effectiveness of "assault weapon" bans and believing in "black helicopters and false flags," I'm not sure which is crazier.

Another sample of Reid's logic, this time explaining why he might vote against requiring interstate reciprocity for concealed-carry permits, despite having supported such legislation in the past:

I think we've all learned a lot in recent years, about first graders mowed down, people watching a movie being victims of an attack, a courthouse in Las Vegas.

I am not saying that Reid would necessarily be wrong to vote against this particular amendment, which raises serious federalism issues that need to be considered along with Second Amendment objections to overly restrictive concealed-carry policies. But since concealed-carry policies had nothing to do with the attacks he mentions, his explanation for having second thoughts makes no sense, just as it made no sense when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) cited the Sandy Hook massacre as a reason to expand background checks for gun buyers.

One more example, from the same New York Times story, of substituting emotion for logic in the case for stricter gun control:

Senate Democrats, trying to simply hold their ranks together behind a background check amendment written by Senators Manchin and Toomey, met for an emotional luncheon on Tuesday. Mr. Manchin gave a tearful, impassioned appeal for his measure as former Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona looked on. Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, retold in detail the story of the professor at Virginia Tech who threw his body in front of a door to save students during the massacre there in 2007.

"It was really dramatic and convincing," said Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

Dramatic, yes. Convincing, no. Since the Virginia Tech gunman bought his pistols from a federally licensed dealer after passing a background check, the lack of a background check requirement for private sales was irrelevant. The story of that heroic professor therefore does not strengthen the argument for Manchin's amendment one iota. The fact that people who think it does are in charge of making our laws is more than a little alarming.