Monday, March 01, 2004

Lansing State Journal Editorial Fisks itself

The Lansing State Journal today has an editorial advocating a renewal of the assault weapons ban on the grounds that...well they state the ban doesn't do anything so we ought to keep it as a small way to curtail the weaponry "in the community".

So lets begin our look at this editorial:

10-year-old federal ban on a variety of assault weapons will soon expire. Democrats were spending last weekend trying to marshal votes in the U.S. Senate to extend the ban. But Republican leaders in the House say they have no intention of voting on the idea.

Allowing this measure to lapse is wrong-headed, simply because there's a difference between weapons for hunting and self-defense and weapons or variants aimed for military use.

Hmm, are not "weapons or variants aimed for military use" by definition weapons for self-defense? Indeed the assault weapons banned are not even used by the military,but are used for hunting and self-defense.

The National Rifle Association wants the ban to expire. It argues, correctly, that statistics don't show a relationship between assault weapons and the rise and fall of crime. It also argues the ban intrudes into firearms that have multiple uses.

So the LSJ conceeds the ban has had no effect on crime whatsoever.

The group's Web site ( provides the legal definitions upon which the 1994 ban rests. Consider just one:

"A semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least two of the following: a folding or telescoping stock; a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon; a bayonet mount; a flash suppressor or threaded barrel; and a grenade launcher (included to scare people, since grenades and launchers are restricted by the National Firearms Act)."

We aren't military experts or gun makers, but doesn't this description leave one in mind of a military weapon? And isn't it possible to produce rifles for target shooting, for example, that don't have what appear to be military characteristics?

Yes, you definetly are not military experts or gun makers, and your emotional "isn't it possible to produce rifles for target shooting, for example, that don't have what appear to be military characteristics?" pleading makes no sense, considering that you just admitted you're not an expert in knowing what is a military characteristic. With your emotional argument, you conclude that a gun fires a bullet is enough to make it have a military characteristic.

And isn't our society better off, even marginally, with bans on weapon variants principally designed for military use?

How? you've already conceeded that there is no correlation between allowing law-abiding citizens the right to prurchase them and crime. Should we ban all other items in society that were once principally dsesigned for military use?

It may be possible to improve the assault weapons ban. There may be more precise language, or definitions that rest on different criteria. But the goal should be the same: to differentiate between weapons for self-defense, hunting and recreation and those meant for something else.

In other words you don't know the criteria, you've admitted they don't cause a problem, and you can't even define what you want to differentiate these weapons from but lamely declare it "something else" than hunting and recreation. News Flash to the LSJ: the so called "Assault weapons" are used by thousands of Americans for recreation, hunting, and self-defense, as such you're inconsistent when you want to renew such a ban.

The absence of an assault weapons ban won't spark a crime wave, just as its presence didn't eliminate crime. But it is a small thing we can - and should - do to curtail the weaponry in our communities.

In other words, it doesn't do anything to prevent or cause crime, but we should do it anyways, even after condescendingly noting in the editorial that the LSJ is not against people having firearms for self-defense, hunting and recreation, because the LSJ wants to curtail the weapons that could be used and possessed for self-defense, hunting and recreation.

Editors of the LSJ, by your own admissions, appeal to emotion, and contradictions, you unknowingly fisked yourselves.

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