Over on the Kontradictions blog, a self-described leftist wrote a very cogent piece on why we should not reinstate the Clinton-era Assault Weapons Ban.
It’s not easy being a leftist who loves guns. It’s like being a Republican who listens to NPR or supports single payer health care. But being a leftist, I get exposed to all the liberal publications and media that invariably call for gun control every time someone does something stupid with one. Being a gun enthusiast, I also get exposed to the political Right’s oversimplification of those liberals as somehow lacking moral fiber or true appreciation of freedom. Rather than agreeing with both, I tend to end up arguing with both. It’s exhausting to always feel like I’m apologizing for the other “side”.
This article takes a point of view, but aims to do so in a way that members of both sides of the political spectrum can understand. I’ll try to give some idea as to why we on the political left roll our eyes at the rhetoric of the NRA, and how we in the “gun culture” can possibly defend something called “assault weapons”.
We all know the cycle by now: Tragic incident occurs, both sides attempt to use it for their political gain, both sides act shocked that the other would attempt to use it for political gain, insults are flung, statistics are cherry-picked, rinse, repeat.
I began writing this some time after the Aurora massacre, but it was just this morning that news started coming in of the mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. I knew the wave of cries for a renewal of the “assault weapon” and “high capacity” magazine bans hadn’t yet faded from Aurora, and that they would be reinforced by this next event, regardless of how relevant either of the topics were to the incident.
So in order to get around to why the assault weapons ban was an utter and absolute failure in its attempt to deter violent crime, I have to start with mass shootings.