Assault weapons avoid the axe as Illinois joins Concealed Carry Nation

Assault weapons avoid the axe as Illinois joins Concealed Carry Nation
image: politicalcartoons.com

Overriding Governor Quinn’s veto and proposed changes to the bill, the Illinois legislature voted concealed carry into law on Tuesday as required by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The Court had previously ruled that Illinois’ ban on concealed weapons was in violation of the Second Amendment set a July 9th deadline for the legislation.

To many this bill that has been long overdue. Illinois is the last state in the nation to adopt a concealed carry policy. To others, it may be completely counter-intuitive in light of Chicago’s epidemic gun violence, so extreme that Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honore has called upon Quinn to enlist the help of the National Guard to reclaim the streets of Chicago.

From my perspective, it makes no sense to try to stop the law-abiding from carrying guns when you can’t stop the lawless from carrying them. Paradoxically, I don’t think the two issues are related and no law or lack thereof is going to stop criminals from breaking the law or from carrying the best firepower they can afford.

The only way to stop gang warfare is to eliminate the black market at the center of the conflict. While legalizing the most profitable drugs may not be anyone’s panacea for the ails of society, it may be the only way to stem the violence. Our little experiment with Prohibition made that clear.

Had Governor Quinn been successful in his efforts, the bill would’ve included a ban on assault weapons. As it is, individual municipalities will have to pass their own assault weapon bans and then deal with the challenges.

My wife asked me how I felt about Quinn’s ban on assault weapons. I told her that I wasn’t sure and that I could probably argue both sides of it, a claim she quietly challenged. So here goes:

I think assault weapons should be banned primarily because of their destructive firepower. When he wrote the 2nd Amendment, there was no way James Madison could have envisioned today’s weaponry. I’m sure it seemed to him that a muzzle-loading musket behind everyone’s door was a good idea, especially considering that the British may have wanted to re-visit the issue of America-as-colony.

The first four words of the 2nd Amendment, “A well-regulated militia” should make it perfectly clear what it was that Madison had in mind. There is no way these isolationist, white supremacist, backward-thinking yahoos out in the woods with their Bushmasters and AK-47s can be considered “well-regulated” militias.

There are many types of weapons one can’t own. Hand grenades, dirty bombs and sarin gas are but a few. It’s a specious argument, at best to suggest that the 2nd Amendment protects your right to massive firepower. If the words, “Sandy Hook” don’t conjure up images of destruction enough to make the point, you may be Wayne Lapierre.

I see banning assault weapons as a fool’s errand. Simply defining what is and what is not an assault weapon is challenge enough. Then there’s the shape and capacity of the magazines, feed rates, etc. There’s always going to be a way around that type of technicality.

More than that, though is the very real possibility that your life and the lives of your family may depend on the very type of firepower that can only be provided by a weapon that can deliver hi-powered loads quickly. How you ask? Good question. Here’s just one example:

We know that the Chinese have thousands of hackers busily burrowing into our most “secure” internet connections. We’ve seen rolling blackouts on the East Coast and a near shut-down in Canada. Imagine what would happen if they (or anyone) could knock out a significant portion of our power grid or take out crucial parts of the internet.

No power. No food. No gasoline. No heat or no A/C. No ATMs. No 9-1-1 operators. Sound fictional? Think again. This is only one of I-don’t-know-how-many scenarios that could cause a temporary collapse of civilization as we know it.

Any of dozens of terrorist groups could release a deadly virus, poison or nuclear weapon. We already know how an attack such as the one on 9/11 can shut down our nation. If you ever need to turn your home into a fortress, having significant firepower could be the key to your survival and that of your family.

How’d I do honey?

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