Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Mental Gap

I was halfway through this CNN article on gun proliferation when I just had to take time out for a rant. Early on, supporters of the Brady bill put the blame for this situation squarely on congress for not renewing the assault weapons ban:
[Robert Tessaro for the Brady Campaign] lays the blame squarely on lawmakers who allowed the assault weapons ban to expire in 2004.

Designed to be fired from the hip, assault rifles such as the AK-47 can spray at a rate of up to 600 rounds a minute in full automatic mode. It is the weapon of choice for guerillas and gangsters.

Now, if we're going to get technical about things here, the AK-47 is a fully-automatic assault rifle, which is currently illegal, and has been illegal since 1934 (Wikipedia article). So we're already seeing some misdirection here, but it's possible that legally-acquired weapons are falling into the wrong hands and being used by criminals. Is that the case here?

Hmmm, later on the article reveals that:

"The streets of South Florida are being flooded by AK-47s and assault weapons from old Soviet bloc countries. It's driven the price down, making the availability greater," said Chief Timoney.

Really, from old Soviet Bloc countries, you say? Meaning, probably not imported by an authorized arms dealer or legally sold?

I'm all for solving problems, but one reason for letting the Brady bill lapse is that it isn't solving the problem. Criminals aren't going to buy a legal, semi-automatic assault rifle when they can buy an illegal, full-auto version for cheaper. They're not worried about breaking the law -- that's what makes them criminals in the first place.

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