WH Press Secretary Josh Earnest Fails Miserably Defining What Constitutes An Assault Weapon

Posted: Jun 14, 2016 11:00 AM

Last December, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was a total disaster explaining which new gun law could’ve prevented a mass shooting in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack. The question was posited to him from The Wall Street Journal’s Byron Tau. In that shooting, Tashfeen Malik and Rizwan Farook killed 14 people with AR-15 rifles. Now, we have him struggling to define what a so-called assault weapon is from Politico’s Sarah Wheaton, where he reiterated that it’s a “weapon of war,” and that the ban on this type of weapon lapsed under the previous administration. He also said that he isn’t an “expert” on firearms (via Free Beacon):

“When you say assault weapon, what exactly do you mean?” Politico reporter Sarah Wheaton asked Earnest.

“Well, these are weapons of war,” Earnest said. “There was an assault weapons ban that was in place in the ’90s that lapsed during the term of the previous president, and the president believes that that ban on assault weapons should be reinstated.”


“The president feels strongly—I will acknowledge that the technology behind some of these firearms and the way that they comport with certain aspects of certain pieces of legislation is complicated,” Earnest said. “I’m certainly not an expert in them. But there’d previously been an assault weapons ban in place that took weapons of war off our streets. Certainly did not allow an individual to walk into a gun store and walk out that same day with a weapon of war, with a weapon that belongs on the battlefield.”

First, you can’t legislate something if you don’t know what you’re talking about. Second, we’ve been here before, folks—the so-called assault weapons ban did nothing to curb gun violence. Last point, rifles and shotguns are rarely used in gun crimes. So, while liberals whine and moan about lack of action from Washington, what could be passed that a) isn’t a monument to the imagination (like closing non-existent loopholes); b) isn’t unconstitutional (like incorporating the secretive and due process lacking terrorist watch lists into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System) and c) isn’t a complete waste of time because there are already included in existing federal gun laws.

What’s the point of doing something on an issue that would yield de minimis results? One could argue that’s worse than doing nothing, as it pretty much spits in the faces of the victims and their families with this veneer that government did something to prevent these mass shootings when in fact—that’s absolutely not the case. Earnest proved that last year, as more background checks, or an assault weapons ban, wouldn’t have stopped any of the high profile shootings that have occurred during Obama’s presidency since Sandy Hook.

Still, it’s a bit unnerving to see the anti-gun Left go after something that doesn’t exist. Assault weapons are not real—they’re merely figments of the progressive imagination.