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Obama should not reinstate assault weapon ban, gun enthusiasts assert

Man aims a .50-caliber rifle during an exhibition in this 1996 file photo.

Last week's announcement that 730 people across the United States had been arrested during a 21-month investigation targeting Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel underscored the scope of a simply-described cross-border problem that cannot be easily solved.

Cartel members smuggle drugs into the U.S., where demand is insatiable and worth billions, and smuggle high-tech weapons from the U.S. into Mexico to protect their interests against rival drug leaders and Mexican authorities.

About 6,000 deaths in Mexico during the last 13 months have been attributed to the narco-war, and it's feared a similarly high level of drug-related violence will spill into the U.S.

But is reinstating a ban on the sale of so-called assault rifles in the U.S. part of a solution? Probably not.

U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder said during a news conference last week that the Obama administration ought to consider renewing a 10-year ban that expired five years ago.

Naturally, hunters, target shooters, general gun enthusiasts and supporters of the 2nd Amendment cringed. Many countered that the ban did not reduce crime in the U.S. and that any spike since the expiration cannot be attributed to the resumed sale of semiautomatic weapons to private citizens.

Mexican soldiers patrol the main drag through Rosarito Beach past a sign that advertises one of the seaside tourist town's most popular destinations.

"The problem of criminals breaking the law to acquire forearms and illegally smuggling them across the border is not remedied by legislation that would violate the rights of Americans to own semiautomatic firearms," Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said in a news release.

"These types of firearms, which are erroneously called assault weapons, are used by millions of Americans for hunting, sporting and personal defense purposes."

Interestingly, the 1994 ban applied to semiautomatic weapons, which automatically reload but fire only one round per squeeze of a trigger. Ownership of fully automatic weapons, such as machine guns, has been heavily regulated since 1934.

But such points are moot. Banning the sale of either type of weapon in the U.S. probably would do no good.

As long as the Mexican cartels can make billions selling drugs across the border, they'll continue to line up like salmon at the mouth of a stream -- in this case border towns beneath California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas -- and do what it takes to push their product.

If they can't purchase their weapons in the U.S., they'll acquire them elsewhere. If the weapons exist, the cartel warriors will own them.

Sadly, the only surefire solutions to this problem are a) persuading millions of Americans to kick their habit, and/or b) legalizing best-sellers such as marijuana and cocaine, making the illicit and bloody market far less lucrative.

Neither seems likely, although the latter solution appears to be gaining more support after every big massacre.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo (top): Man aims a .50-caliber rifle during an exhibition in this 1996 file photo. Credit: Patrick Downs / Los Angeles Times

Photo (bottom): Mexican soldiers patrol the main drag through Rosarito Beach past a sign that advertises one of the seaside tourist town's most popular destinations. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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Comments (76)

Target, sports and hunting are three distinct but equal activities. The concept of banning semi-auto rifles is akin to banning sports cars. There is no need to drive a red Corvette to work, and fast cars kill (way more people than all homicides combined) - so ban them too?

Fact and Truth is: People who legitimately own firearms for sport, target, self-defense, hunting, ect... take great pride in their safety and stewardship of public lands, other people and laws in general. Truth and Fact is: Firearms ownership _is_ a right, just like drinking an 18-pack of beer is a right. Truth is: Nobody would suggest beer should only be sold in ten-can packs... it's asinine to suggest that would lower drunk driving fatalities. Truth is: The government _IS_ doing the right thing in Aurora - they are prosecuting the coward. (The right thing would have ended the saga in the parking lot of the theater, but I digress... the law was followed.).

Nobody gave me a mental qualification test before I was issued an M16 and sent to Iraq. I earned my right to own whatever weapon I choose to own. I am a protector of this nation, not a terrorist against it. To be painted in the same box as a murderous coward, because I own a similar firearm, is a slanderous insult to veterans, the civilian shooting sports and me personally.

The liberals have been fighting for years to promote social depravity, lower standards, bash religious institutions, buck authority and propagate the ethos of anti-authority revolt in society since the Vietnam war... and now we have socially depraved, Godless, entitlement-driven cowards in society - whom the liberal establishment created - causing problems.

My guns are not a problem for America. Liberals are.

AK posted " If I want to download kiddie porn, it's my business and not yours."

You're crazy!!

Sounds like there is a solution to the guns and drug problems that politicians would love. TAX that export! With the drugs that are smuggled in with a street value of billions, tax that too! You have seen what happens when people do not pay the tax (except for obama nominees), the government sends people with guns to collect. For all the fully automatic weapons that Mexico is transferring in, there is a tax that BATF wants collected too. This would help reduce obama's deficit.

Really...comparing the difference between an American who takes the oath of office and who lives up to it, to a democrat who lies through the oath of office, then goes all wack-job attack the constitutiion like a crazy wench on crack- well, I just truly cannot understand why NOBODY in law enforcement has arrested the crazy narcissistic sociopathic murder pig democrats who, no matter how nice they claim their intentions are, ALWAYS END UP KILLING PEOPLE> If someone admits to being a cheap scum thieving fascist traitor murder pig democrat- have them arrested and put into a rubber room.... or test out the new guillotine... Ask your local policeman why he has not arrested a democrat today!

The assault weapons ban of 1994 was nothing short of liberal democrats trying to bully the American citizen. Endorsed by Bill Clinton and the rest of his political friends who bought into it. I see that the majority of posts here are pro-gun. That's a great thing. The back bone of our nation are those who are willing to fight, it has always been that way and it will always remain that way or we won't have a nation worth speaking of. From a political standpoint, Obama will probably go down in history as the one president who managed to divide this nation. His cabinet is now full of every radical liberal he can fit. Hillary is certainly no exception. This notion of Assault Weapons is and has always been a radical "left wing" issue. They are people who cannot be trusted with your liberty any more than they can be trusted with your children. Bill Clinton was simply the proof of it.

CNN reported that 95% of black voters voted for Obama. What that tell me is how little many black voters cared about Obama's track record than they did his race.
He came speaking with all the high hope in the world and brought with him all the oppression he could muster with people like Eric Holder who doesn't believe that the second amendment applies to an individual right regardless of the Heller VS. D.C. case. A huge victory for gun owners across this nation. These are the very people this nation should rid themselves of and yes, should the time come, by force. The only people capable of that are the armed citizen who cries out the age old words "give me liberty or give me death"!

When I think of the history of my country I often think of the Nathon Hale's, Alexander Hamiltons, and minutemen who's lives and convictions long rest in the ground of this country and find so few this day who measure up. As for what this country use to be, I can only hope it will return. As for the God fearing nation it use to be, Ya never know. As for those who are willing and able to fight with the convictions of the founders second amendment. Arm yourself with all the ammo you can. Practice with your AR-15 or your AK and remember where you came from. I have personally come to believe that there a little more pathetic than an unarmed man and the only thing worse is the coward who is unwilling to fight!

With gun sales higher than they have been in the history of this nation, concealed carry, castle doctrine and stand your ground laws abounding as well. Maybe it's more than the fear of gun control that's coming.

Brett, no offense but you don't know anywhere near as much as you think you do. I am a former law-enforcement officer and I can tell you that semi-automatic sport utility rifles are the best weapons available today for the two most critically important reasons to be armd: personal defense and resistance to tyranny. The Second Amendment is NOT about "hunting" or "sporting purposes", and gun control isn't about controlling guns but about government controlling people.

Think an "assault weapon" is overkill for personal defense? Every cop out there is trained to grab a long arm if they have reason to believe they're walking into a possible fight, and the shotgun is being phased out in favor of rifles such as the AR-15. An AR15-style rifle - such as my wife uses - when properly loaded, is less likely to penetrate a standard building wall than even a handgun round (the bullet fragments) while still giving far better stopping power than any handgun. Such a rifle is easier to use under stress than a handgun, and it has far less recoil than a shotgun which means practice is easier which means greater skill is attainable. The collapsible stock can be adjusted to fit my wife's smaller stature as well, which makes it that much easier for her to use. Further, a shotgun is not the "death ray" that will "liquify" what you shoot at. At household distances the shot pattern is barely larger than the muzzle diameter, which means you STILL have to aim a shotgun, and people hit with a full charge of buckshot - even a slug - have sometimes continued to fight effectively.

I'm sure you scoffed when I mentioned defense against tyranny, but then most leftists do. The fact is that if and when the ballot box should fail the so-called "assault weapon" is the best tool in the hands of an armed citizenry to fend off totalitarian government, and in my opinion every American who genuinely believes in Liberty has both the "right and duty" to be properly armed. Think that's extreme? My opinion is based upon the words of no less than Thomas Jefferson, who flatly stated that he felt it was every American's "right and duty to be at all times armed."

Study some history, Brett. I'd be willing to bet you think the U.S. is a "democracy" too, don't you?

The debate lies whether you have a God given right to protect yourself or whether you should be relient and beholden to the Federal Government for that. Whether a cell phone and dialing 9-1-1 will save your life from both a criminal intruder or government intruder or whether a Glock .40 S&W will save your life. A government that is afraid of its people which it governs will always look for ways to disarm them. Our founding fathers were guaranteeing that if we stuck to the principals behind the Constitution, we would always live as a free people. They were so afraid of a strong central goverment they wrote a whole seperate document defining individual God given rights to which the new government would not be allowed to infringe upon so that America would always be a land of people free to pursue their own liberty and happiness.

ABC news has photos and videos of the "assault weapons" used by the Mexican gangs (and their military). None of those were covered under the previous ban, and are unobtainable by the "ordinary" citizen. The previous ban covered semi auto only, and not the full auto used by the gangs and military. The quantities involved makes individual conversions impractical. Their source of full auto assault weapons brought in from the U.S. is those shipped from the U.S. govt to the corrupt Mexican govt. Half of their military is on the drug cartel payroll.

For the uninformed, it is good justification for obama to push for his new bans.

The only reason that pelosi is against the ban at this time is because holder tried to steal all the attention, and brought it to the media without following protocol. He did not acknowledge pelosi's power and position, and did not get permission to talk to the media about it, without talking to her about it first, so she could get credit for it also.

Where in the Constitution does it say ANYTHING about hunting?
"To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." -- Senator Richard Henry Lee, 1788

Nobody actually seems to have the same reasons I do for opposing such a ban, or at least aren't expressing them.

Fact is, the second Amendment prohibits "infringement" for a reason, as opposed to "prohibition", etc. The gun banners know full well that in order to ban all firearms they have to get a foot in the door first. The Federal government does not have the authority to ban any firearm whatsoever, and they know it. So among much meaningless hoopla about hunting or whatever, they try to sneak through a ban on something that looks like a gun. If they can make that stick, then they can ban another category (it was ok for assault rifles, why not hunting rifles?) and then another until their actual goal is achieved, banning all guns. Then they can work on totalitarianism.

"Gun show loophole" translates to backdoor registration, once they know where they all are, they'll be coming for them. Freedom isn't free, guys, and assault weapons don't do anything any different from other classes of rifles. Try to support freedom in your everyday lives, not find reasons to interfere with your neighbor's life when it does not concern you.

It's illegal to kill people but that doesn't seem to stop them. But, somehow magically putting a law in place not allowing a type of weapon will clean things up...I don't think so. Crime is a social problem. Always has been, always will be. You have to deal with that. Have we stopped the drug trade? No, if we did...maybe these battles wouldn't take place.

For the folks that say "assault weapons" have no place but other guns do. You have to remember that the definition of assault weapon differs by individual. The AWB of 1994 banned features of guns but other weapons that didn't "look" the same, would do just as much damage. That is a useless law and every piece of data collected from that time supports that.

Truly, ignoring the border STILL being wide open, is as much an act of treason as is the thought of disarming innocent people. Why disarm victims, if not for EVIL INTENT. So great, we have a government proposing EVIL against innocent people. Criminals are the cause of crime. Whether they occupy the white house, or are slithering under a border fence! Dismember criminals WAY before disarming Americans!

I have 2 M1 Garands and 2 M1 carbines from WW2. Because they are semi auto and fire a FMJ (full metal jacket) projectile am I considered a criminal. They consider it an assault weapon, and it uses HP ammo ( surplus WW2 ammo). It makes no sense. All I do is collect pieces of history and shoot targets with my son. The lawmakers need to figure out what the hell they are talking about. I have NO criminal record and vote. Guess you can ascertain I didn't vote for Obama, the liar. This is gonna get crazy.

Assualt Weapons Ban, now there is another good idea. the Gov cant stop drug or people smuggling. Think of all the cool stuff the cartels could start smuggling in then. RPG's, full auto AK's, grenades, mortars. Sounds like a great idea, huh?

yeah the new administration is sadly deceived. I think they really mean for the good of the nation, but they are completely mistaken on what good is. Our forefathers new that when a government tries to disarm it's citizen, the rest of the peoples rights follow. This is why it is a constitutional individual right! The 2nd Ammendment isn't at all about hunting. And i also believe that even machine guns that were banned in 1934 would the forefathers would have seen this as infringement on our rights because now the government has weapons that we cannot own to defend ourselves. No I'm not saying I want everyone to have full autos, but we need to stick to the theory of armed citizens, and not government subjects.

Banning one type of firearm will lead to others; Of all the property that people own,guns are the only personal property mentioned in the U.S Constitution that are protected.

The ignorance that abounds on this topic is amazing. People need to get their facts straight:

1. The "assault weapons ban" did not ban semiautomatic weapons. All of the gun "features" that were banned were purely cosmetic except for the magazine ban.

2. Using the term semiautomatic is not just a "word game." A semiautomatic rifle is most definitely NOT an automatic rifle. Semiautomatic means one shot per trigger pull. Automatic means multiple shots per trigger pull.

3. Semi-automatic weapons are NOT assault weapons, but there are popular semiautomatic rifles that look like commonly used military weapons. LOOKS DO NOT EQUAL FUNCTIONALITY. The original ban DID NOT ban any of the components related to semiautomatic operation.

4. Semi-automatic rifles are rarely used by criminals, who prefer cheap handguns obtained through illegal routes such as theft and unlawful sales by unscrupulous dealers. If we want to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, these are the areas that need to be approached. Laws only apply to the law-abiding, criminals aren't going to hear about the new law and think "uh oh, looks like I have to surrender my rifles to the police since they are illegal now". It is already illegal for a known criminal to posses ANY modern firearm, so it is totally unnecessary from an enforcement standpoint to ban certain styles of firearm to target criminals. Again, the guns in question are not even weapons favored by criminals.

Traits favored by criminals: Cheap, concealable, disposable.
Traits of semiautomatic rifles: Expensive, large and not concealable, difficult to dispose of.

As the author of this blog implies, the only possible way to cripple Mexican organized crime and the drug-dealing gangs that operate in our cities is to legalize the drug trade and put it in the hands of Americans. That, however, is another topic altogether.

In 1934 when ownership of automatic machine guns were severely restricted the government blamed them for the extra crime and violence caused by the failed policy of alcohol prohibition.
Today the government is trying to ban some of the most popular and common guns today by blaming them for the increase in crime and violence which is clearly caused by a failed policy of drug prohibition.
Hopefully now we can learn from history, prohibition of popular drugs or alcohol doesn't work! Regulation does.

Hey Brett and Jack....

How about lumping dangerous behaviors in along with dangerout items as things to be outlawed? Just because when you two engage in buggery you try to be safe, just think of all those lives lost to AIDS because of irresponsible anonymous homosexual disease-spreaders. Be reasonable and collective in your thinking--just because you want that particular 'thrill' doesn't mean the rest of us should be endangered, right? Raid the bathhouses, bug the bedrooms of the 'suspected'...if it saves one life from the ravages of disease, isn' it worth it? And while we're at it.....100,000 lives and billions of dollars lost to alcohol abuse...Prohibition redux, whaddya think?

Got a deal for you two...as long as I am a responsible citizen, you stay away from my gun cabinet, don't frigging purport to tell me what I 'need' for anything, don't even try to lay the 'Mexican civil war' guilt trip on me...and I'll stay out of your bedroom and out of your basement bar....

You people that say "you don't need an assault weapon" and talk about the founding fathers having flint lock weapons are the real morons! The real point here is that their government also had flint locks. The point of the second amendment was to be armed in case your government became oppressive. IT'S NOT ABOUT HUNTING! The need to be armed in order for our government to know that we can and will revolt if we are given the need is just as serious as it was in the times of our founding fathers. Nothing has changed since then. I love hunting and I do realize that these laws can indeed affect hunters but when will people realize what the 2nd amendment was all about. Once we are disarmed and have no chance of ever fighting off an oppressive government we have given up our power. Kind of like the cold war. Citizens just having arms keeps our government in check without firing a shot. WAKE UP! We are a FREE nation and risk is something that comes with freedom. If you want someone to make sure you are safe and take care of all your needs for you move to Europe!

The essence of the gun ban argument is that because criminals and drug cartels use guns to commit crimes, the law abiding must give them up. But to ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the innocent and law-abiding that their rights and liberties depend not on their own conduct, but on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless, and that the law will permit them to have only such rights and liberties as the lawless will allow. Obviously, a law which restricts the liberty of the innocent because of the behavior of the guilty, that rests on the principle that the conduct of criminals dictates the scope of liberty the law will allow to the rest of society, in no sense “fights” crime. It is, instead, a capitulation to crime, born of a society in full-bore-retreat from crime, accommodating itself to crime. A society that was, instead, outraged over crime, would boldly direct its energies against criminals, angrily resolved to surrender no ground, forfeit no liberties to the lawless. For society does not control crime, ever, by forcing the law-abiding to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of criminals. Society controls crime by forcing criminals to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of the law-abiding.

most of what I have read here I agree with. However the idea that the 2nd amendment was written only for "flintlocks" is comical at best.
If we start to see the 2nd amendment in this light, then the people who wrote and agree with that comment must also consider loosing the 1st.

every one talks about assault rifles. does anyone know the definition of assault rifle. well the true definition is A FIREARM CAPABLE OF SEMI AUTO, FULL AUTO, AND BURST FIRE AT THE OPTION OF THE USER. they are already regulated under NFA which regulates class 3 firearms. as for the statement who needs a assault rifle, its not about need but i just might want to own one. as long as i obey the law and use it legaly whats the problem. from all the posts it would seem that as soon as i aquire one i will turn into a crazed killer. well i own several had them for years and haven't killed anyone . as a legal gun owner i obey the law, respect life, respect other peoples rights and property which the criminal dosen't. thats the differance. Bret when are you going to wake up and realize you can't legislate away crime, if you could we would living in a perfect world.

After reading the blog posts here, I decided to opine my own here. For the vast majority of Americans have read little about our constitution, much less read or studied the debates as it was being formulated. The Bill of Rights was ratified well after the Constitution was ratified. This Bill of Rights does not grant us our rights. Our rights are given to us at birth. The right to protect ourselves with any means necessary does not come from the government. It comes from God himself. The Bill of Rights only guarantees that our government will not infringe upon that right. Little if ever does anyone ever mention how the 2nd Amendment is supported by the 4th and the 14th Amendments. If one studies both the writings of these great scholars we call our founding fathers, you will understand their concerns. It's not only reflected in the wording of the constitution, but also in the state constitutions they developed as well. Most all the wording in the Bill of Rights comes from a similar one written for Virginia. Most all the youngsters who blog about gun bans don't remember that in 1942, governors were forced to call out the unorganized militia of this country to protect our borders from invasion. This militia was every able bodied man who owned a gun. People nowadays are taught differently than our founding fathers were. We are taught that we should rely on our government for all aspects of our lives. There is no personal responsibility. The men who wrote our constitution and Bill of Rights were well read in ancient forms of government. They knew Aristotle, Socroties, they understood 1638 English law. They knew of every form of government. It's a sad day for America that we vote with our emotions, live in a society of beggers, pass blame to others, have taken God out of our schools, homes, and society, and look to our government to right all the wrongs that we all have done from spending our childrens money with credit cards and frivoulous spending, to forgetting who we are as a people. For those that give up their guns will be enslaved to their governments. George Mason, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and the rest were well aware of this. They didn't care about what type of gun, although they debated that, they cared about the issue itself: that a strong central government would be inclined to corruption and would try and disarm the population at large. England tried it - which is what truely started the Revolution. They guaranteed our right to own any type of weapon we wanted to secure our personal freedom, everything else was secondary. Only in recent times have the uneducated tried so desperately to infringe upon those rights.

You have been suckered by the anti-gun gang's deceptive language. The AWB has nothing to do with assault rifles, none of which were or will be affected by either the old or the proposed new AWB. The AWB bans weapons whose only connection to assault rifles is their appearance...none of the banned weapons is an assault rifle, they just look like them. The AWB's, old and new are total frauds. "Assault weapons" are no more deadly than standard hunting rifles, and in most cases less deadly. Most of them are what knowlegable gun owners would refer to as "varmint rifles", unsuitable for anything much bigger than a coyote. The Brady bunch and their ilk are counting on your ignorance and emotional response to push this absurd farce through. It will have no detectable effect on crime here or anywhere else.



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