Politics

Everything you need to know about the most recent gun-control debate (but didn’t have anyone to ask), Part II

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Jeff Winkler
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      Jeff Winkler

      Jeff Winkler is a Daily Caller staff writer covering firearms, as well as campaign advertising and fringe culture topics. He worked previously for several Arkansas and New Zealand publications. His byline has appeared in Slate, Reason, Good magazine, the Guardian, Washington City Paper and most notably, Worm Digest.

After some relatively quiet years, the national gun debate locked and loaded for another round last week after President Obama hinted his desire to reform the current background check system. Plenty has happened in the past few years with both sides entrenched in deep partisan arguments. To prepare readers for the onslaught of over-exaggerated political rhetoric, ambitious policies and former victims crying before the camera, The Daily Caller is launching a multi-part guide for readers not entirely up to snuff. Click here for Part I.

On Tuesday March 15, some of the staunchest liberals in Congress appeared with New York Mayor Michael “No Labels” Bloomberg in front of the Capitol to call for a “common sense” debate that just happens to include a whole host of new gun-control proposals.

The centerpieces of this “common sense” discussion are bills that would expand and “strengthen” the current National Instant Background Check System (NICS) and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines. (While gun clips and gun magazines aren’t the same, The Daily Caller will use the word “clips,” lest anyone think Congress is trying to ban publications promoting particularly potent weed).

Where ‘common sense’ favors pro-gun advocates

Since the 10-year Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) expired in 2004, gun-controllers have been gunning for high-capacity clips. Legislation introduced in both the House and Senate would ban any ammunition-fed device that allows more than 10 bullets. Gun-controllers have made repeated references to Tucson shooter Jared Loughner’s 33-round Glock pistol spray, which allowed him to kill six people and wound 19.

Gun-controllers offer the most common sense talking points — not to mention confidence — when it comes to the issue of high-capacity clips.

Illinois Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley, one of the Democrats who appeared at the Tuesday Bloomberg press conference, reminded the public that the recent Supreme Court rulings (Heller v. the District of Columbia and McDonald v. Chicago) don’t mean that there can’t be “reasonable” restrictions on gun access. While both the McDonald and Heller cases found that those “reasonable” restrictions were actually an impediment to basic 2nd Amendment rights, Quigley made clear what high capacity clips are designed for.

“[They] aren’t for protecting your home or hunting deer, they’re for hunting people,” Quigley told TheDC. “The Supreme Court made it crystal clear the 2nd Amendment is not an unlimited right — not everyone has a right to own whatever gun they want, wherever they want — and that includes limiting access to these weapons that serve no purpose other than to cause catastrophic harm.”

Gun-rights advocates say that law-abiding citizens should not be prohibited from using high-capacity clips at gun ranges and competitions, although the NRA dismissed legislation offering such exemptions as “rationing freedoms.”

Perhaps that’s why Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign, says the NRA “has a tough time making a case for why anyone needs to shoot 30 rounds in 15 seconds.” There’s also a whole list of common sense reasons that the head of the country’s most prominent gun-control group feels confident about the passage of the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act, introduced by Democrats Carolyn McCarthy in the House and Frank Lautenberg in the Senate.

“It’s a shorter bill, it’s easier to understand, it ties directly into the shooting in that [Jared Lee Loughner] had a 30-round clip,” said Helmke, who continued down the list. “It also ties to a law that used to be on the books, so people in the past who voted for the Assault Weapon Ban and are already on record as supporting this.”

The AWB was an amendment to the Senate version of the 1993 Crime Bill, which later became law. Of those 56 Senators who specifically voted for adding the amendment, 18 remain in the Senate. The entire crime bill itself passed with an overwhelming majority in both the House and Senate.