Claim that “Assault Weapon” Definition is Unimportant

Second Amendment

“Assault weapon” under proposed Florida ballot initiative. “Assault weapon” in New Jersey, 1990-2018. Banned in Australia.

U.S.A.-( A political activist on twitter posted a non-argument about “assault weapons” on 4 August, 2019.  He got over 8 thousand retweets and 57 thousand likes. How many of those were bots is unknown.

Jason Isbell wrote if you argue about the definition of an “assault weapon” you are part of the problem. He claimed his opponents know what an assault weapon is, and know they do not need one.

The rifle pictured above has been one of the most popular hunting rifles in the United States. It was legally an “assault weapon” in New Jersey from 1990 to 2018. It is proposed as an “assault weapon” in the Florida petition to amend the state Constitution. It is banned in Australia.

The term “assault weapon” has never been clearly defined in dictionaries. It is a legal term. From the outset, those pushing for a disarmed population have deliberately sought to confuse the public about the term and what it means.

They point to fully automatic firearms on TV ads, then they include common, everyday rifles, pistols, and shotguns in their legal definitions.

Below is the tweet meant to convince people that facts and definitions are not important. Tweet that assault weapon definition is unimportant.



Isbell may or may not be as clueless as he appears. Some activists that wish for a disarmed population have done their homework and know how slippery the legal definition of an “assault weapon” is. They do not want the electorate to know.

The most important part of any law about “assault weapons”, after the obvious infringement against Second Amendment rights, is the legal definition. Arguing that ignorance is strength is an old, Orwellian tactic.

Most of the people who are liking this tweet probably fall into the category of the consciously unarmed. They have chosen to be unarmed, and they do not want anyone else to be armed, because they are acutely aware of the power differential between armed and unarmed people.

There is an easy way to understand how many of people who want you unarmed think.

Assume you have deliberately chosen to be unarmed. Being armed requires effort. Being unarmed requires far less effort. Being armed requires you to be responsible, to practice safety and to train. You have to face unpleasant choices and prepare for them. It takes money and time and thought.

Being unarmed does not require these things. It is much easier. Part of choosing to be unarmed is not having to learn about weapons, weapons technology, or tactics, or even the history of weapons and tactics.  People who have chosen to be unarmed, often don’t want other people to be armed, except for the government, which they have to assume is always beneficent and available to provide armed security, when it is necessary.

This is how the desire to disarm the population works. It appeals to emotion, bypassing fact and argument. Those who have chosen to be unarmed do not care if gun owners are harmed or if gun owners rights are trampled on. They are not gun owners. They do not intend to be gun owners. If they gain a tiny advantage, while gun owners rights are destroyed, they think they have achieved something for nothing. They are wrong.

It is the responsibility of gun owners to educate them.

The consciously disarmed need to realize that gun owners are a positive force in society. They need to realize they are getting a free ride on gun owners’ responsibility, training, and use of firearms.

The left has done everything it can to demonize gun ownership. Isbell’s tweet illustrates the educational challenge Second Amendment supporters face.

It can be done. We are winning. Show someone who thinks they support banning “assault weapons” what they really ban. Show them they are being manipulated. I remember explaining the “assault weapons” ban to a fellow veteran 15 years ago. He was shocked. He thought the meant machine guns!

People do not like to be manipulated. Remind them that semi-automatic guns have been common in the United States for over a hundred years, but mass murder with semi-automatic guns is a recent phenomena, promoted by the media. Remind them the media makes profits from the tragedies and use them for ideological purposes.

Take a non-shooter to the range. Have them shoot a .22, with hearing protection, at a close target.

Many people become gun owners from such an experience.

Show people, who are not gun owners that guns are used for defensive purposes every day.  From the Center for Disease Control:

 Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed (Cook and Ludwig, 1996; Kleck, 2001a). Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010). On the other hand, some scholars point to a radically lower estimate of only 108,000 annual defensive uses based on the National Crime Victimization Survey (Cook et al., 1997). The variation in these numbers remains a controversy in the field. The estimate of 3 million defensive uses per year is based on an extrapolation from a small number of responses taken from more than 19 national surveys. The former estimate of 108,000 is difficult to interpret because respondents were not asked specifically about defensive gun use.

Second Amendment Supporters are winning. The facts, the Constitution, and the culture are on their side.

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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