The House Judiciary Committee took testimony Tuesday on proposed legislation that would ban so-called “assault weapons,” during which Virginia Republican Congressman Ben Cline declared that the hearing was designed to “villainize one of America’s most popular sporting rifles.”
The hearing seemed lopsided from the outset, with more witnesses favoring a ban than those opposing the idea. Testifying against the proposal were Dianna Muller, a former Tulsa police officer and founder of the “DC Project,” a woman’s group that annually visits Congress to support the Second Amendment. She was joined by Amy Swearer, senior legal policy analyst for the Heritage Foundation.
Republicans are outnumbered by Democrats on the committee as well, and there were some comments that clearly suggested those Democrats know little about the firearms they wish to ban, save for the fact that they have been used in some high-profile mass shootings.
But there are estimates of at least 15 million modern sporting rifles in private hands today, and more are being purchased on a daily basis. Gun control talk on Capitol Hill often translates to increased sales.
As noted by Fox News, during questioning, Muller told the panel that if Congress adopts a ban on semi-auto rifles, she will not comply. That was one of the stunning moments of the nearly three-hour hearing.
Muller also suggested that the ban could turn millions of law-abiding gun owners into criminals, while real criminals would ignore the law anyway.
Swearer opposed the ban, and noted that many of the cosmetic features on AR15-type rifles actually make them safer to use. That was countered by David Chipman, senior policy adviser at the Giffords Law Center. He argued that the same feature would make it easier for a mass killer to retain control of a rifle if he opened fire.
Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) observed, “As I read the Second Amendment, it doesn’t say the right to bear arms shall not be infringed unless the gun has scary features.”
Currently, the White House is looking at different proposals in the current push by Congressional Democrats to “do something” in response to the mass shootings of this summer. In addition to banning AR15 rifles, there are demands for so-called “universal background checks” and other measures that would appear to inconvenience and penalize only law-abiding citizens while criminals continue committing crimes.
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