On Monday, 13 September 2004, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994—colloquially known as the Assault Weapon Ban—expired.
While responsible owners of firearms cheered the sunset of this nefarious ban, the anti-gun movement swore they would be back, and they are—with a vengeance!
Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) recently introduced new anti-gun (read anti-freedom) legislation in the House. The bill, HR1022, is titled the Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2007. It could more appropriately be called the American Disarmament Act of 2007. The bill is not only far more restrictive than the original ban, but in fact makes the original appear mild by comparison. The following are just a few examples:
In the original Assault Weapon ban, pistol grips were “bad.” Some manufacturers got around this by using a target-style thumbhole stock, but they are specifically excluded in the new bill. If the bill goes through, buying a new Olympic-style rifle with a thumbhole stock could be prohibited.
Vertical foregrips (VFGs) will also be prohibited. Apparently there have been a lot of drive-by beatings with VFGs that did not make the news and were only reported to members of Congress. Kind of like all the drive-by bayonetings that demanded that bayonet lugs be banned on the prior (and this) AWB.
Another nebulous term is the banning of “barrel shrouds.” As defined in the bill, a shroud is “attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel of a firearm so that the shroud protects the user of the firearm from heat generated by the barrel, but does not include a slide that encloses the barrel, and does not include an extension of the stock along the bottom of the barrel which does not encircle or substantially encircle the barrel.”
Let’s look at that last one a bit more closely. While the bill was obviously written by someone who knows as much about firearms as I do rocket science, I can only assume that a “slide that encloses the barrel” is talking about slide (pump) action rifles and shotguns. The part about “does not include an extension of the stock along the bottom of the barrel which does not encircle or substantially encircle the barrel” means virtually any rifle or shotgun that does not have a full-length stock. If one was to literally interpret this passage, Marlin and Winchester lever-action rifles have barrel shrouds!
Does that mean Winchesters and Marlins will be on the banned list? The truth of the matter is, the final decision will be up to a bureaucrat in Washington. Yeah, I’ll bet my way of life on that!
The above only scratches the surface of HR1022. Click here for a full read of the bill.
Make no mistake about it, those who would spit on the Bill of Rights are not after “assault weapons” this time—they are after all our firearms. The first ban did nothing to prevent crime and neither will this one. One major difference, however, is that this bill does not have a sunset provision. Once enacted it will become the law of the land forever.
I urge all readers of S.W.A.T. to contact their elected representatives and tell them enough is enough. Letters are the most effective means of persuasion, with phone calls next and emails the least effective. Whatever you do, though, contact them immediately!
Until next time, stay low and watch your back.