Update on the Dallas Shooting — No “Assault Weapon”

Following up on what I wrote last week about assault weapons — a news report said the Dallas shooter used an SKS, which is a Soviet-designed semi-automatic carbine that’s been around since the 1940s. The standard SKS has a fixed magazine rather than a detachable one, which means it doesn’t qualify for anybody’s legal definition of “assault weapon.” There are models of the SKS that have detachable magazines, however, and these are illegal in California (at least). But because these weapons lack many of the other standard features attributed to “assault weapons,” they may not be considered assault weapons in some state codes even if they have detachable magazines.

This is an excellent example of why pushing for an “assault weapons” ban is stupid. Ban semi-automatic firearms, period, I say.

11 thoughts on “Update on the Dallas Shooting — No “Assault Weapon”

  1. I am too. (With you on that.) One of the unintended consequences of the Assault Weapons Ban was that when it expired, the AR-15 and other noteworthy firearms that had been banned previously, became a badge of membership.

    On top of that, if we’re lucky, we’ll have one big push to accomplish something. The NRA is expert at bogging us down wherever we may choose to make a stand. So, let’s stand where we know that it will do some good. We don’t have time for “feel good” victories. If we lose, at least we lost fighting for something worthwhile.

    Now, it’s the time when a gentleman retires for a bracing cocktail.

  2. Maha, are you in favor of banning semi-automatic handguns as well, or just long guns?

  3. If you don’t mind, I’m curious as to your reasoning on that. Do you think that semi-automatic pistols should be banned because they are significantly more dangerous than double-action revolvers? Or because of the difficulty in drawing the line between the largest handgun and the smallest long gun? Or some other reason?

    For my part, I’m against banning semi-automatic handguns because I think (as the Supreme Court has held) that ordinary citizens shouldn’t be banned from owning ordinary firearms, and a Browning semi-automatic pistol seems to me (subjectively) to be as “ordinary” as firearms get.

    • I’m for banning all semi-automatics because they ARE the weapon of choice for mass shooters, and we’ve learned from “assault weapons” bans that trying to selectively ban just some but not all semi-automatics has no effect. That double-action revolvers are not called semi-automatics also is, IMO, a semantic issue. A great many countries ban all automatic and semi-automatic weapoons, but that still leaves a lot of firearms people can own for sports and self-protection.

      Australia does not allow civilians to possess automatic and semi-automatic firearms, self-loading and pump action shotguns, handguns with a calibre in excess of .38in with only narrow exemptions, semi-automatic handguns with a barrel length less than 120mm, and revolvers with a barrel length less than 100mm. If a Brownie semi-auto pistol wouldn’t qualify as any of those, then we could talk.

  4. Semi-automatic ban nations: An important statistic to note might be the “how many of these countries governments suddenly turned totalitarian as a result of citizens not having these weapons” one. Well, that, and maybe a detailed table of nations/laws/background checks/casualties… could be useful.

    • //An important statistic to note might be the “how many of these countries governments suddenly turned totalitarian as a result of citizens not having these weapons” one. // I’m guessing that would be zero. I certainly don’t know of any.

  5. Bill brings up an interesting point. A while ago, I found an article that actually detailed the gun related laws passed after Hitler came to power. Evidently, those laws actually made it easier to have firearms, unless you happened to be Jewish, of course.

    On top of that, according to a BBC documentary, Stalin encouraged Soviet citizens to form rifle clubs and have frequent shooting competitions, even in small villages and towns.

    Of course, in our times, several decades later, we have a broader selection of vicious dictators to choose from. Some of them probably did round up all the guns. But, if Hitler and Stalin didn’t, Second Amendment enthusiasts have lost two teeth of their old saw.

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