The Implications of the 2003 Assault Weapon for American Gun Owners A new and much more far-reaching ban on firearms has been proposed in the House of Representatives. The purpose of this document is to give a fairly concise overview of the newly proposed law, and how it will affect gun-owning Americans. Unfortunately, much of the wording of the proposal, HR 2038, does nothing but modify parts of the original ban. In order to get a decent idea of what the whole picture looks like you have to cross reference HR 2038 with Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 44, Sec. 922 of the United States code. For the purposes of this document, HR 2038 was referenced from http://www.thomas.loc.gov and Sec. 922 was referenced from the US Code Collection available at the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School, available at http://www.law.cornell.edu. This newly proposed law is a much more sweeping piece of legislation that will have a far-reaching effect much beyond the so-called ‘black rifle crowd.’ No one, from shotgun hunters to Olympic shooting competitors is left untouched. Those who wrote this legislation are engaging in nothing short of Orwellian doublethink. They have taken the original definition of what an ‘assault weapon’ is, completely discarded it, and are now reinventing it to cover a much more broad swath of firearms. 1) Hunters Most of the time legislators attempt to paint themselves as pro-gun by associating themselves with hunters, and pointing out that they would never attempt to take away anyone’s duck gun. Time to wake up. Under the newly proposed ban, any and all semiautomatic shotguns will be banned that have any of the following: Yes, I know that state law requires your shotgun to be plugged to a 3-round capacity. But since it’s not a permanent fix, you just lost your right to own many autoloading shotguns on the market. Admittedly, hunters are the least affected by this new law, but they are affected nonetheless. What’s worse, this bill would outlaw many shotgun configurations that are well suited to home defense. 2) Competition shooters Competition shooters are not left out, and the proposals are such that it hits pretty much every competitor from High Power to IPSC to International Bullseye shooters. A) Shotguns Since pretty much all autoloading shotguns are toast with this bill, don’t expect to be running one in an IPSC or 3 gun match. B) Action pistol The magazine ban is still in place. So if you’re an IDPA shooter you’ll still be limited to 10 round magazines. If you’re an IPSC shooter, you’ll be forced to pay the inflated price for standard capacity mags. Oh, and the burden of proof as to whether that magazine of yours is truly preban has been shifted from the government to you. More on this later. C) Bullseye pistol You think that Pardini is safe? Think again. This exact same ban was instituted in California. When it was pointed out that high-end competition guns like the Walther GSP fell under the ban, the legislature’s response was “So what?” D) Rifle competition Be it 3 gun or high power rifle shooting, these sports will now be essentially closed to any and all new comers. The AR15, FAL, and AR10 are mentioned by name, and the features listed all but put the M1 Garand and M1A on the endangered species list. Also, those with fixed-magazine guns are not left untouched. If you have a rifle with a fixed magazine that holds more than 10 rounds you have an assault rifle. So you can no longer skirt the law by attaching those 30-round fixed magazines to an SKS, and might, in fact, be committing a felony if you try to sell that rifle. Also, please note that in the original bill an assault weapon is defined as one with the ability to take detachable magazines, and includes at least two so-called 'evil features' (bayonet lug, flash hider, etc.) In this law an 'assault weapon' is defined as being semiautomatic with the ability to take detachable magazines and only including one "evil" feature. What they are doing is to redefine a genre of weaponry that doesn't exist in any professional sense among gun designers or the gun owning public. Here’s the real kicker to the whole thing, though: The sporting purposes clause is nowhere near ironclad. In fact, it reads: In other words, just because a particular firearm is suited for a particular sport is no guarantee that it is suited for a particular sport, at least as far as can and will be determined by some lackey working in the AG’s office, who undoubtedly has far more insight into the shooting sports than any of us. If a particular sporting weapon is derived from a military design, then it is considered to be suspect. Of course, the above is only in relation to firearms and whether or not they are particularly suited to a given sport. As far as one’s right to self-defense and the use of a firearm thereof, you’re out of luck. By the way, if you’re still reading this, you’ve just gotten through the good news. 3) Elimination of the sunset. It is what it says it is. The new law will have no sunset. We either kill this thing now, or fight a much harder fight in the future. 4)Repealing prior exemptions in the 1994 law. Got a rifle/shotgun/pistol that you want to sell? Better check with the law first. If it falls under the nebulous and ever-changing definition of what an assault weapon is, you’ll have to transfer the gun through a dealer. That’s right, all guns are equal, but some are more equal than others. It will become illegal to transfer one of these firearms through a private transaction. In other words, no, you cannot sell your rifle to your next-door neighbor who has been your best friend since you were both in Kindergarten. If he/she wants it, you’ll have to go through an FFL. The law states: Yes, that’s right, no more private party transactions. And it gets even better (by which I mean worse) when we get to the bit about magazines. 4) Regulation of buying/selling standard capacity magazines So once you decide to sell a weapon governed by this law, you cannot sell any magazines with it. Please note that this also applies to firearms with fixed magazines that hold more than ten rounds. Doing so will result in punishment- So basically, if you decide to sell a semi-automatic firearm, you are prohibited from selling any magazines with it, lest you get tossed in the clink for a few years. 5) Strengthening the ban on ‘large capacity ammunition feeding devices.’ Are you a cop or law-enforcement officer? In the old law there were a few hoops you could jump through and if you were lucky enough to have a cool boss, you could even keep those ‘high capacity’ magazines that you bought (with your own money) for your service sidearm. Not anymore. The new law reads: Ok, so that sounds like a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo. Striking? Subparagraph C? redesignating this as that? What? The old sub paragraph C from the original 1994 bill reads as follows: In other words, once those involved with law enforcement retire, they are considered to be just as untrustworthy as the rest of the civilian population. B) The burden of proof shifted regarding magazine possession is shifted from gov’t to individual- Basically a gun dealer is now prohibited from selling a pre-ban magazine, unless he first certifies it with the AG’s office. So while it would still be legal to own pre-ban magazines, it is now a major hassle for both the dealer and customer to get them. This will drive the prices up even further, or cause many gun dealers to stop selling pre-ban magazines all together. This particular part of the law stinks even worse because it shifts the burden of proof from the government to the owner of a magazine. In other words, according to the old law, the government would have to prove that the magazine you have is indeed a pre-ban or illegal post ban. Now that has been switched around. It is now up to the accused to prove that a given magazine from his/her collection is indeed a pre-ban. This is called ‘guilty until proven innocent’ and last time I checked is illegal according to the US Constitution. Insanity, it has been said, can be defined as repeating the same thing and expecting different results. The 1994 ban is a proven failure at reducing the rate of violent crime. Instead, it created a miasma of confusing rules and regulations that are nearly impossible to follow unless one is well versed with the letter of the law. It established an ever-changing definition of what an ‘assault weapon’ is, and has relegated the American gun owner to the rank of a second-class citizen. We must fight not only the expansion of this bill, but the reauthorization of it, too. ----------------------------------------------------------------- GUN OWNERS put Bush and a lot of other Republicans in office, and this is how we get repaid. Make you mad? You CAN do something about it. READ ON: PHONE CALLS are a very important means for politicians to keep their finger on our pulse. They figure if you’ll take a few minutes and spend a couple of bucks for long-distance calls you’re SERIOUS about your message. No, there’s no way to measure the influence of calls, but Congressmen continually tell us this is how they know what issues to support or not to support. We tend to believe them. Remember, their goal is NOT to protect the Constitution (except perhaps Ron Paul of Texas) but to get RE-ELECTED. Listening to their most active and vocal constituents is how they do it. HERE YOU GO -- JUST DO IT! YOU’LL LIKE YOURSELF BETTER AFTERWARD. START WITH Speaker of the House, Republican Dennis Hastert — (202) 225-2976 THEN CALL House Majority Leader, Republican Tom DeLay — 202-225-5951 THEN CALL Senate Majority Leader, Republican Bill Frist — (202) 224-3344 THEN CALL The White House — (202) 456-1111 HESITATING? HERE’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CALL: They say “Hello, Rep X’s office.” Tell them you want to leave a comment. They’ll say “Sure, go ahead.” Just something like “If the Clinton gun and magazine ban is renewed, I will not support/vote for (Bush, Republican Party, etc).” No need to get emotional or speak volumes. The phone handler on the other end will mark your comment on their issues list and say “Thank you,” and you’re done. It’s easy.