Gun Industry Mostly Mum on Assault Weapons Ban

by Categorized: law, Manufacturing, Politics Date:

A day after Obama’s call for sweeping gun safety reforms, the firearms industry remains mostly mum — as thousands remain in Las Vegas for the annual trade show.

In Connecticut, as elsewhere, the firearms industry continues to portray the problem as access to firearms, rather than the equipment itself, in the few statements that are out there.

“The central issue involved in violence where a firearm is misused is the unauthorized access to the firearm. We believe it is critical to first focus on the unauthorized access to firearms by irresponsible persons and those not legally qualified to possess them,” a statement on the web site of the National Shooting Sports Foundation said.

The foundation, based in Newtown, sponsors the annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT show) and conference, which has attracted 60,000 industry professionals this week.

Local companies that make and market variants of the AR-15 rifle, such as Colt Defense, Colt’s Manufacturing Co.,  Sturm, Ruger & Co., Stag Arms and Springfield-based Smith & Wesson have said little or nothing about the debate. NSSF, for its part, is avoiding the sort of divisive comments and advertisements deployed by the National Rifle Association, which angered many with its “elitist hypocrite” advertisement calling attention to armed guards at the school that Obama’s children attend.

“All Americans share the goal of wanting to make our communities and children safer by reducing violence in our society, like the tragic incident that occurred last month in our community of Newtown, Conn.,” NSSF said in its web site statement.  “We are reviewing Vice President Biden’s recommendations with an open mind in hopes they will offer real means of achieving our shared goal.”

It added that it supports expanding the criminal database system to include mental health records — but did not directly address the three bans Obama proposed.

Clearly, defining “military-style assault weapons” will be a stumbling block as it was in the 1994-2004 federal ban — when manufacturers easily got around it.  I listed that and several other problems with equipment bans in a column right after the Dec. 14 Newtown tragedy.

A ban on high-capacity magazines should be easier to enact for two reasons: The magazines are not a big money-maker for manufacturers and it’s easier to define what they are in the law.  Still, privately, some people in the industry believe they can’t be out-front supporting any kind of equipment bans, for fear of a backlash from customers.

The industry is “misunderstood,” said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti, in his “state of the industry” speech at the SHOT show.  “We all must recognize that those who don’t agree with us share in our desire to rid the world of such monstrous acts; and they must recognize that we are not the evildoers. Ours is a responsible industry that makes and sells lawful products to law-abiding citizens.”


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11 thoughts on “Gun Industry Mostly Mum on Assault Weapons Ban


    Thank you for joining the NRA. We appreciate your interest in protecting and preserving our Second Amendment rights and promoting safe, responsible gun ownership.

    I could defend the NRA’s position. It’s called the 2nd amendment. Now, we can do it the easy way, or we can do it the hard way. I can assure you that millions of legal gun owners will not be bullied and stand down. As U.S. Marine Joshua Boston explained so succinctly to a CNN mannequin that was interviewing him: “An unconstitutional law is NOT a law.”

    All of the treasonous vomit that this so-called newspaper and the rest of the lamestream media feed to the masses will not change that fact. Time for them to face reality, before it faces them.

    Ask yourself how well is The War On Drugs working.

  2. Dan Haar Post author

    It’s unlikely that any federal court would strike down a restart of the 1994-2004 ban that listed specific features, though of course it was not as effective as supporters would have wanted. A broader ban on all semi-automatic rifles could be an issue, but we’ve had a ban on civilian ownership of fully automatic weapons for decades with no successful challenges.

    In general, comments like yours — mindless and vitriolic — hurt the cause of gun ownership rights. So, if you want to support Obama’s gun-control agenda, keep at it. Don’t read what columnists like me are writing with any particular care or attention, don’t debate the issue, just keep doing what you’re doing and you will give fodder to those who say, incorrectly, that gun-rights supporters are marginal extremists.

  3. Mitchell

    The problem, Dan, as many readers will agree,is that guns didn’t seem to be much of an issue in the Courant until the horrible and most tragic events in Newtown. I never saw any outcry from you or other columnists following what happened at Fort Hood, Va Tech, etc. Above all of that, the fact that more than 500 people killed in Chicago in 2012 by guns, that of course is Obama’s hometown where his former chief of staff is the mayor. But no outcry, not a word. So why does it take the tragic events of a Newtown for the media to get all wound up? Sadly, very little impact was made by the previous “assault weapons” ban of 1994-04, according to government studies. Why is it that in every case of these “mass killings” it is a mentally ill person who has committed the heinous crimes, not law-abiding people? The fact that more than 3,000 schools have armed security in them supports exactly what the NRA was proposing, yet it was widely decried by the media at large. But yesterday, Pres. Obama talks about incentives for “resource officers” at schools, am I to assume those are security? Not that there is any hypocracy there, but it would make sense. We’ve forgotten that law-abiding gun owners are not committing these crimes. The president talked about clamping down on gun trafficking, but where was the president and AG Holder when it came to “Fast and Furious” and where was the media following that? It would be nice if the media was made up of journalists and not political supporters of one party or another as there are a lot of issues that are not being addressed. And isn’t it interesting how it took one month for the government to react to the Newtown situation, Biden’s findings were due to Obama on Tuesday this week, but the Wednesday annoucements were planned far in advance. Why isn’t anyone connecting the pieces to what is becomming a circus?

    1. Dan Haar

      All good points. I wrote that a ban will not be workable and will not solve much, but it’s a good idea to tighten access rules. It’s like TSA security at airports — a big hassle and cost and a reduction of freedom and privacy for a small savings, but if the savings is you or your kid, it’s worth it. As for why we in the media didn’t take notice until now, I would say Newtown was a tipping point and we respond to tipping points.

  4. Richard

    Too respond to dan’s comment fully automatic weapons have not been particularly banned… just restricted. if you are able to obtain a class 3 gun license you are able to own any fully automatic weapon you want.. everything from fully auto m4’s m16’s and ak47’s to browning .50 cal machine guns mini guns and m60 light machine guns. non the less im sure that the NRA will not contest the section on tighter gun background checks when purchasing a weapon of any type and armor piercing rounds and high capacity magazines which has been labeled as standard 30 rd mags.. but I do expect the NRA to contest the ban on semi automatic weapons and Obama’s definition on assault weapons.

  5. Matt from CT

    >. A broader ban on all semi-automatic rifles could be an
    >issue, but we’ve had a ban on civilian ownership of fully
    >automatic weapons for decades with no successful

    There’s a difference — it’s a pretty hard case to make that automatic weapons are necessary self-defense. Even their primary use in military situations is “suppression” — spray bullets to force people to duck.

    Likewise, sound suppressors came under tight Federal controls at the same time as machine guns. No reasonable value to self-defense. (And oddly, many Western industrialized nations encourage their use for health & safety reasons as well as not bothering neighbors of gun ranges or hunting areas.)

    Semi-automatics have a very strong self-defense purpose; one trigger pull, one bullet fired. In stress, under attack one shouldn’t have to fumble with multiple operations for each bullet needed to be fired to save one own’s life.

    One trigger pull, one bullet fired is the exact same operation as any common revolver manufactured after the late 19th century.

    Handgun Control, Inc. (now the Brady Campaign) which was founded on the idea to eliminate civilian ownership of handguns and ammunition and the other gun control advocates were being so beat up politically in the 80s they created the new words “Assault Weapons” to describe a number of primarily semi-automatic pistols, rifles, and shotguns.

    It was a classic form of Orwellian Newspeak, designed to confuse and dazzle voters.

    The logic of the gun control lobby is clear — get a ban first on cosmetics of “assault weapons”. Then magazines. Then if you can regulate such minor features as pistol grips and whether a magazine that can be changed instantly holds 7 or 10 rounds, to go after semi-automatics completely.

    Eliminate semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and handguns — well, a double action revolver works just the same; one trigger pull, one shot. So we can legally ban those as well.

    This course of logic would at least allow the gun control nuts to knock us back to best of 1870s technology.

    So sadly we must waste time as a society standing up to the anti gun zealots who are now primarily attacking the form in order that in the future they can attack the function.

  6. Dan Haar

    If what you say is true, there will be no way to ban semi-automatic firearms per se. That would explain why it was not done in 1994, I suppose. Good points.

  7. Cincinnatus

    The original purpose and philosophy behind the Second Amendment was not to protect hunting or target practice, or even self-defence per se. It was to ensure that the power to resist tyranny or invasion was dispersed among the People of the United States, who are the sovereign, collectively, in our constitutional system of government. The ‘arms’ that the framers had in mind when they agreed to protect the ‘right to bear arms’ were the most advanced military equipment available at the time. Today, the equivalent would appear to be fully-automatic weapons, not merely semi-automatic. So it makes sense that citizens who have fulfilled the requirements to hold a Class III licence may lawfully own this type of weapon. It also makes sense to restrict criminals and mentally unstable individuals from access to any weapons at all, as their ‘bearing arms’ would not serve the purpose and philosophy behind the Second Amendment, and the danger to society from these categories of people having weapons outweighs any benefits. One remote danger could be, however, that whoever happens to be in power might define ‘mentally ill’ or ‘criminals’ to include political enemies or dissidents, as did the regimes in charge of the Soviet Union, China and 1930s-1940s Germany.

    1. Steven r

      So I guess by your logic we should be able to buy rocket launchers, artillery etc. o protect ourselves from mythical tyranny.

      BTW that same constituion also clearly defines treason which includes taking up arms against the US.

      1. g29marx

        Nice try, but the 2nd amendment covers “small arms”…which includes semi-automatic centerfire rifles, but not “ordinance” and “Artillery” like rocket launchers and howitzers. Knowing this would require you to have done research of the subject matter beyond parroted talking points, and it’s obvious you’ve done none. Go check out some of the recent supreme court decisions and ruling on the 2nd amendment and their analysis of it. It’s gonna make you mad and feel pretty stupid.

  8. John Adams

    It’s disingenuous to say the gun industry is mostly silent while it is speaking loudly through the NRA; accounting for about 3/4 of the NRA budget.

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