As you already know, the Texas church massacre represented another opportunity for the Democrats to blame guns and push this narrative through politicians and the mainstream media. Yesterday, another case of this clear way of politicizing a tragedy occurred on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, when Willie Geist interviewed Sen. Angus King (I-ME) to ask some questions on this topic. While the audience expected this politician to execute the anti-gun rhetoric, the truth is that everyone received an unpleasant surprise.
In a very interesting moment that the liberal show didn’t expect, the Independent from Maine said he would not support a ban on assault rifles. The reason? Because he assured he doesn’t like banning things based exclusively on the appearance.
Everything started when Geist asked him if it was time to ban military-style weapon, after explaining that gun control advocates were allegedly saying that no private citizen should own it. Additionally, Geist pointed out that this was the type of gun the shooter used in the church, an AR-15 style weapon.
Far from getting the answer he was expecting, King immediately said no and assured everyone should look at that issue very carefully. The senator explained that the problem he sees is that he’s from a state that has one of the highest gun ownership rates in America and at the same time, one of the lowest rates of gun crime. Naturally, this was an argument that completely debunked the theory that gun ownership is somehow connected to more crime
In fact, a Harvard study from 2007 concluded that the more guns the United States has, the less criminal activity. The study cited data from the Centers of Disease Control, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the UN International Study on Firearms Regulation.
After providing that interesting fact to Geist, King told him that an assault weapon is just a semi-automatic hunting rifle in costume with a different kind of stock. However, he pointed out that its functionality is exactly the same as those that legitimate hunters use. Given this reality, the senator claimed that he has a huge problem with banning a weapon just because of the way it looks. Also, he said that one of the problems he had when it was done before was that the appearance was changed a little bit and the ban doesn’t apply.
After King spoke about the solutions he would prescribe –including magazine limitations-, Geist continued the interview as if he hadn’t explained why it doesn’t make sense an “assault weapons” ban. Believe it or not, he asked the senator if the hunters he´s talking about in Maine say they really need an AR-15 to hunt a deer.
Basically, Geist wanted to execute some pressure and ridicule him with this question. However, King explained they don’t say that, and insisted that this is the same gun, but just looks different. Finally, he explained that they use conventional semi-automatic rifles for these activities.
As you might know, the 1994 federal assault weapons ban, to which the Senator alluded in his conversation with Geist, was one of the most disastrous laws. This one banned semi-automatic rifles only if they had certain features in addition to a detachable magazine.
These features included a pistol grip, a flash suppressor, a collapsible stock, a bayonet mount, and a grenade launcher. And that’s it. Not even one of those cosmetic features has anything to do with how and what a gun fires.
Unsurprisingly, this law –which expired in 2004- had little to no effect on gun violence. In fact, a 2004 Department of Justice-funded study noted that the weapons banned by this law only covered between 2 percent to 8 percent of the firearms used in crimes. Furthermore, the study concluded that if the law was renewed, the ban’s effect on gun violence is likely to be extremely weak in the best case scenario. Additionally, the study conducted by Daniel J. Woods, Christopher S. Koper and Jeffrey A. Roth noted that assault weapons were rarely used in gun crimes even before the ban.
— Chuck Woolery (@chuckwoolery) November 8, 2017
While the ban also covered some large capacity magazines, the main focus was military.-style assault weapons, which, as stated by King, are cosmetically but not functionally different from semi-automatic rifles.
While the facts don’t fit with the liberals’ rhetoric, they are betting everything in their war against assault weapons. After all, this can easily be used to convince voters that scary-looking rifles are more dangerous than other semi-automatic firearms.
While King’s remarks likely won’t change their narrative, at least it made them look ridicule live on air.