A few moms short

Steve Chapman:

An organization called the Million Mom March held a rally in Washington on Mother's Day to urge renewal of the 1994 assault weapons ban. If you must know, the turnout was about 997,500 short. But the advocates are not easily discouraged. Afterward, they launched a vehicle called the Big Pink Rig on a "Halt the Assault Tour." The bus will crisscross the nation between now and September, when the ban is scheduled to expire.
The 1994 law was a monument to Bill Clinton's distinctive political genius — which generally involved tiny symbolic changes that pleased particular constituencies without actually having much effect. It prohibited the manufacture, sale or import of 19 different firearms, along with magazines holding more than 10 rounds.


The features that flagged these guns as intolerable, such as bayonet mounts and folding stocks, are features that have nothing to do with their killing power. The ban is the moral equivalent of banning red cars because they look too fast.


Firearms manufacturers have eliminated the features that made their weapons unacceptable, and now the critics complain the weapons are still unacceptable. So why did they worry about those features to begin with? And why expand the ban to get rid of these semi-automatics while allowing others that perform identically?

It is still a battle of symbolism over substance. Weapons bans have a long history of failure. Samurai warriors banned non Samurai from having swords. This led to the development of all the exotic weapons seen in martial arts movies. It appears the mom Sauraai will continue to be hundreds of thousands of moms short of their symbolic marching formation.


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