Left just can’t give up gun control, no matter how futile or dangerous

If anything can be said about our friends on the Left, it is this: No matter how lousy the idea they hatch, no matter how ridiculous or dangerous to our hard-won constitutional freedoms, they never give up.

As if to prove that point, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and at least 23 of her liberal pals in the Senate have introduced an even sillier version of her laughably ineffective 10-year federal "assault weapon" ban that was allowed to quietly die in 2004. In the decade it was in effect, it wreaked havoc on then-President Bill Clinton and Democrats — ask Al Gore — and stands as a cautionary tale about political suicide and gun bans.

Clinton in 1994 signed into law the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act restricting how many military features — evil things such as bayonet lugs and flash hiders — a firearm could have and it banned large-capacity magazines. Mind you, those features do not determine a weapon's lethality and millions of the weapons and magazines were grandfathered in and remained in circulation.

It should be noted Feinstein was the architect of the 1994 ban that was arbitrary to the point of being asinine. It barred certain weapons but allowed others with many of the same characteristics. It targeted 19 specific kinds of military-style, semi-automatic firearms incorrectly labeled "assault weapons."

[Malicious or magnificent: Why the AR-15 is America's most popular rifle]

It was a bust then — and would be today. The firearms banned then and those targeted now represent only a fraction of the 300 million or so firearms in this country, and an even tinier fraction of weapons used in crimes.

Feinstein & Co. could not care less. After her ban expired, she said she gleefully would have banned and confiscated all the firearms she incorrectly labeled as assault weapons.


She tried again in 2013, but that bill cratered in the Senate 60-40. This time, an ever-hopeful Feinstein would expand upon 1994's ban "to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited." In S. 2095, she and her pals again want to regulate firearms they yet again incorrectly classify as assault weapons, along with their magazines and accessories, such as the now-infamous bump stocks.

Worse, in a clumsily transparent attempt to target AR-15 pistols, her ban would bar manufacturing "a semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm."  That, incredibly, means the popular Glock series of pistols, the Beretta 92, CZ75 and others would be banned.
Additionally, it would bar manufacture, import or sale of 205 specific firearms, along with semi-auto handguns and rifles with detachable magazines and only one "military characteristic" such as a pistol grip or telescoping or folding stock. Detachable magazines capable of holding 10 or more rounds would be barred.

Do not get me wrong. It is a hoot watching Democrats introduce dumb gun legislation that will go nowhere. They are eager to show us how far they would go if given their heads. It costs them dearly, and they appear even more ignorant about the very things they so desperately want to ban. It simply jumps out at you. In reality, pistol grips do not kill. Neither do threaded barrels or bayonet lugs.

[I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.]

Then there is their abject ignorance about how the firearms work. Assault weapons are fully automatic and heavily regulated; have been since 1934. The weapons Feinstein et al., want to ban are not. They have the same actions as millions of rifles and pistols and shotguns tucked away in closets and dresser drawers across the country. And a magazine ban? There is no practical difference between one 30-round magazine and three 10-round magazines or six five-round magazines. It only takes a second to reload.

Guns are not the problem. Many of us believe Democrats, even far-left dinosaurs such as Feinstein, know that, but choose to pursue guns to make it appear they are doing something, anything so they will not have to tell Americans the truth: that free societies can be dangerous; that people kill; that government cannot stop them all.

Instead of pushing again for something that absolutely will fail — that has been proved once already — why not shoulder the real work and try to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and people who have proved themselves dangerous? Why not make it tougher for criminals to get guns and punish them more severely when they do — and even more harshly when they use them? Why not enforce the thousands of gun laws already on the books?

That's easy. If anything can be said about our friends on the Left, it is this: No matter how lousy the idea they hatch, no matter how ridiculous or dangerous to our hard-won constitutional freedoms, they never give up.

Paul Jenkins is editor of the AnchorageDailyPlanet.com, a division of Porcaro Communications.

The views expressed here are the writer's and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary@adn.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to letters@adn.com or click here to submit via any web browser.

Paul Jenkins

Paul Jenkins is a former Associated Press reporter, managing editor of the Anchorage Times, an editor of the Voice of the Times and former editor of the Anchorage Daily Planet.