Over the weekend, The New York Times ventured down to Florida because the Sunshine State is where assault rifles are considered “good, clean fun.” To be honest, the article wasn’t necessarily bad. It involved a day at the range with former police officer Eddie Pereira and his 15-year-old son, as they shot the ultimate personification of evil for anti-gun liberals: the AR-15 rifle. Moreover, it also showed that gun owners are open to gun control legislation that makes it harder for criminals and the mentally ill to obtain firearms, but added that the current Democratic agenda, which includes a renewed assault weapons ban, is “futile.”
Many gun enthusiasts express deep exasperation of their own. They argue that most non-shooters do not understand the technology and appeal of modern weapons that are widely used for target shooting and, increasingly, hunting. They say proposed bans would do nothing to prevent crime or even lessen the toll of mass shootings.
“From my experience, the bad guys are always going to get the guns, and gun control is only going to affect law-abiding citizens,” said Oscar Plasencia, 57, a retired police officer who was practicing on a recent Saturday at the Markham Park range.
Mr. Plasencia uses an AR-15 model with just a five-round magazine when hunting deer, and said it was no different from many other semiautomatic hunting rifles.
“I have a 30-round magazine in my AR at home, for home defense,” he added.
Here at the gun range, opinions varied on gun control more broadly, with some saying they could support stronger efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally disturbed. But nearly everyone seemed to feel that controls on semiautomatic rifles and large magazines would be futile.
Yet, some people the Times found at the range were open to closer monitoring of people who buy ammunition in bulk. At the same time, the person who had this opinion also viewed assault rifle bans in the U.S. as “pointless.”
Yet, these folks are right about the futility of the proposed ban on assault rifles. First, they’re usually pieces of legislation that are dead on arrival. Second, rifles and shotguns are rarely used in crimes, and the 1994 ban did little to curb gun violence. The rifle’s rise in sales and appeal is quite simple. They’re fun to shoot. Oh, and the Obama administration’s gun control agenda, along with the anti-gun sentiments with the Democratic Party, make the left an exceptional sales team.
While support for an assault weapons ban was usually popular, new NYT/CBS News and Washington Post/ABC News polls showed that for the first time in 20 years, more Americans oppose it than support it. In 2014, anti-gun groups said they would stop actively fighting for such bans as well.