When the moronic hoplophobes of the liberal-left began clamoring for gun bans back in the late 60s/early 70s, the object of their prohibitionism was the handgun. Now the Heller and McDonald decisions are the law of the land, in which handguns are explicitly set forth as examples of the type of weapon protected by the Second Amendment as applied to the states.
So, today the object of hoplophobic obsession is the so-called "assault weapon", which the hoplophobes rather blithely imagine Heller exempts from constitutional protection.
But which weapon, if you had to guess, is used in the vast majority of gun-related crimes?
You guessed it: the handgun. "Assault weapons" (i.e., mere semiautos cosmetically patterned after military arms) are used in about one-fifth of one percent of all violent crimes and about one percent in gun crimes.
What, oh what, is a hoplophobe to do!?
Well, "let's not think about that dilemma", says the libby-left hoplophobe. "My brain hurts."
"Nevertheless, I think banning 'assault weapons' is clearly a commonsense sort of thing for us to do."
Really now? And what, pray tell, is an "assault weapon?" Is this an assault weapon?:
Colt Model 1911
No? How about this?:
Marlin Camp Rifle
Mmmmm, probably not. Doesn't look military enough, and besides, it's a "camp rifle", you say.
OK, well how about this?:
No. A hunting rifle, you say? OK, well then surely this is an assault weapon:
Yes, that last one is clearly an assault weapon. It's an AK-47, right?
Wrong. It's a semiautomatic version of the AK-47 called the M70AB2. And like all the the three foregoing weapons, which you say are not "assault weapons", it fires one bullet with every pull of the trigger. It is the same self-loading technology that the old Colt semiauto handgun in the first photo above reflects: one squeeze of the trigger; one bullet. This technology has been around since the turn of the 20th century. Oh, and here's that "hunting rifle", the Ruger Mini-14, dressed up a little differently:
Starting to feel a little silly now, are you? If not, you should be.
A true assault weapon is a selective-fire weapon (i.e., capable of automatic fire in addition to semiautomatic fire), which in the full auto mode is able to "spray" bullets by merely holding the trigger down, and is generally available only to police and military. The semiautomatic firearms falsely called "assault weapons" that you want to ban so badly are merely dressed up as military arms. But they operate no differently than the Colt handgun: one pull of the trigger; one bullet. What increases or decreases their potential lethality is a detachable component called the "magazine":
L: 30-round AK mags. R: 10-round AK mags.
If you were halfway intelligent (and halfway principled), you'd seek to ban the high-capacity mags instead of the firearm itself. But then you'd be faced with a further dilemma: there are gazillions of these mags already in circulation, and even if there weren't, they are easily manufacturable and tradable on the black market. So, it would seem you're stuck with semiauto "assault weapons" whether you like it or not. Ban them, and you'll still have millions of other semiautos, which are functionally no different than the banned "assault weapons", with gazillions of high capacity mags.
OK, you say, we're stuck with them, but maybe we can at least make people who own semiautos register their weapons.
Except that you can't. Pass a registration law, and the vast majority of Americans who own these weapons will not comply, just as the vast majority of such gun owners in states that have registration laws have refused to comply with those laws. They are not so stupid as to register their guns with the GOVERNMENT, for crying out loud. The guns are meant to control government, not the other way around, and besides, Americans are under no constitutional obligation to register their arms, regardless of what some lawmaking body might decide.
So, you can't really ban or even "control" so-called "assault weapons", because the millions upon millions of semiautos that are already owned are not in any way, shape or form true assault weapons (including the much smaller subset of several millions of them that have military configurations), and the vast majority of all those millions upon millions of semiautos will remain "paperless" (i.e., unregistered).
Oy, what, oh what is a hoplophobe to do!?