The House narrowly approved a ban on so-called "assault rifles" late Friday afternoon, prompting loud and raucous cheers from the bill’s supporters.
But the celebrations are likely to be short-lived.
It’s almost certainly doomed to failure when it reaches the Senate.
And even in the unlikely event that the Senate approves it, the bill won’t pass constitutional muster in the courts.
The final vote was 217-213, with five House Democrats breaking ranks to oppose the measure: Henry Cuellar of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, and Kurt Schrader of Oregon.
Two Republicans joined Democrats to/ approve the ban: Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Chris Jacobs of New York.
Prior to its approval the hyperbole and BS was so thick and deep that members should have been cautioned to wear hip-waders before entering the House chamber.
Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., a New Jersey Democrat, was especially graphic when describing a standard semi-automatic sporting rifle.
"A bullet from an AR-15 war weapon can travel nearly triple the speed of sound," he said. "It liquefies tissue and vaporizes bone. Republicans value their war weapons more than dead kids. Today we vote to ban them."
Liquefies tissue? Vaporizes bone? Sounds like we simply dropped AR-15 rounds on Hiroshima and Nagasaki near the close of World War II.
Rep. Lucy McBath, a Georgia Democrat, was if anything even more descriptive when describing the AR-15’s explosive power — literally.
"With assault rifles, exit wounds can be a foot wide. The victim’s skull explodes on impact. Organs rupture, bones shatter, the shards serve as shrapnel and tear tissue to pieces," she said.
McBath added, "There is a reason we never see the images after a mass murder — many of the bodies no longer exist."
In truth, an AR-15 is chambered to accept either 5.56mm, or .223 cal. rounds (yes, just slightly larger in diameter than a .22 cal. squirrel gun).
And the reason AR-15s aren’t used for deer hunting, is that a hunter would more-than-likely seriously injure the poor animal without killing it, which would be cruel.
All that aside, it’s going to be next to impossible to get the bill approved by the Senate, which requires 60 votes to get past its filibuster rule.
Although the Senate approved a gun control measure in late June 65-33, bringing 15 Republicans onboard, the bill lacked any real teeth and primarily provided funding for states to implement a number of their own measures, such as mental health and school safety programs, and to enact red flag laws.
But a ban on modern sporting rifles goes above and beyond.
The National Shooting Sports Federation, America’s premier firearm industry trade association, estimated that as of July 20 there were well over 24 million AR-styled modern sporting rifles in circulation in the United States.
As Bearing Arms editor Cam Edwards observed, that make these weapons "more common than even Ford F-150 pickup trucks."
Would the Senate want to suddenly make nearly 25 million rifles illegal?
Even if Congress were to grandfather in those already in circulation, it would suddenly make them nearly worthless. They couldn’t be sold or traded in for another firearm — they couldn’t even handed down from father to son, mother to daughter.
And their very proliferation would make banning them unconstitutional.
District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), which was decided when liberals dominated the Supreme Court, held that:
- The Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess firearms that are "in common use at the time" for lawful purposes.
- The Second Amendment is an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia.
- Conclusion: at over 24 million in circulation, AR-style modern sporting rifles are certainly "in common use" and their possession should therefore be protected.
Congress is looking more and more like a hamster on one of those treadwheels. It doesn’t matter how fast he runs, he’s not going anywhere. He’s just spinning his wheels looking busy.
Will Rogers, one of America’s best-loved 20th century humorists, often said, "I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts."
One such report went "With Congress, every time they make a joke it’s a law, and every time they make a law it’s a joke."
The so-called "assault rifle" ban will be the latest joke if it gets passed and signed into law.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to Newsmax. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. Read Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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