Stacker.com’s Ellen Dewitt, that is. While I’m generally pretty good with a search engine, I am unable to find contact data for Dewitt. If anyone can find her address, please pass it on so I can share my thoughts about this ridiculuous piece of urinalism.
I admit, it some ways this is far from the worst — overall, anyway — example of the genre. Some things are merely mildly annoying.
Firearm Owners Protection Act
Enacted in 1986, the Firearm Owners Protection Act addressed aspects of the 1968 law that were seen by many as going too far. It loosened regulations of interstate transfers, some gun sales, and record keeping.
I’d have stressed that it “loosened” interstate transport, banned federal gun/gun owner registration, and killed new NFA machine gun sales.
Assault weapons ban
The Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act of 1994 aimed to get certain semiautomatic weapons off the streets. It expired 10 years later.
It banned not a single existing firearm. It banned — for a ten year period — sales and imports of new “assault weapons.”
And speaking of “assault weapons,” let’s move on to the point where Dewitt’s idiocy shines, and goes beyond “annoying.”
An assault rifle can fire in fully automatic mode, meaning when the trigger is pulled and held down, the weapon will shoot continuously until the trigger is released or the gun runs out of ammunition. Machine guns are assault rifles. It is a politically laden term, as major gun groups say it was made up by the anti-gun lobby and that guns don’t assault people.
Funny; in all the years I’ve been tracking this, I haven’t found a single bill or law that included any fully automatic weapon in the class of “assault weapon.” Probably because fully automatic firearms are already heavily regulated in federal and state laws.
“Assault weapon” bills do commonly included some revolvers. And single-shot rifles. And in jurisdictions that do legally define “assault weapon,” the descriptions vary; an “assault weapon” in one state may or may not be an “assault weapon” in another. There’s no such thing in my state.
An automatic weapon loads another round mechanically after the first round has been fired. It can be semiautomatic, firing one shot per single pull of the trigger, or fully automatic, loading and firing ammunition until the trigger is released, the ammunition is exhausted, or the weapon jams.
Well, she started out OK with the first sentence. Except that the term generally used in federal and state laws for what she describes is “machinegun” (or “machine gun,” as the term changed from the NFA ’34 to the regulatory language in the CFR).
But she went off the rails with the second sentence, where she begins describing a select-fire assault rifle. “Assault rifle” is a subclass of “machinegun” (automatic weapon). All assault rifles are machineguns, but not all machineguns are assault rifles.
And no “assault weapon” is a machinegun/automatic weapon.
Semiautomatic rifles fire one bullet each time the trigger is pulled, automatically loading the next round from the magazine into the chamber. They also are called self-loading rifles or auto-loading rifles.
Apparently there is no such thing as a semiautomatic handgun. All semiautomatic weapons are rifles?
Dewitt is in serious need of The Zelman Partisans’ GUN CULTURE PRIMER, particularly the “Types of firearms and ammunition” section. But it would hurt her to read the parts on Heller and MCDONALD.
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Seemingly endless debates revolve around its intent, what comprises such a militia, and the extent of its protection of individual rights to own guns.
Well, we have the settled law of Heller and MCDONALD. Maybe Dewitt should also check out TZP’s entries on Militia and Samuel Whittemore. What, and who, the militia is, is pretty damned definite.
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