Hartford Courant OpEd: 2nd Amendment does not include “assault rifles”

In an opinion piece published in the Hartford Courant today by Noah Feldman, a constitutional law professor at Harvard, Feldman outright states the 2nd Amendment does not include assault rifles. His reasoning comes down to this*, with my emphasis.

… there’s something special about weapons that can be used both for self-defense and for militias … those are the weapons that the men who ratified the Second Amendment had in mind.

Today, that includes handguns. But it doesn’t include assault rifles. They’re great for military purposes, and no doubt fun to shoot on the range. But they aren’t useful for self-defense, almost by definition.

I’m going to assume Feldman is using the now traditional gun-controler’s definition of an “assault weapon” including simple, semi-auto rifles and outright tell him he is wrong.

First, the government’s definition of an “assault weapon” has been changed and manipulated beyond belief. It started in 1994 – or before in some attempts at the state level – with the so-called Assault Weapons Ban that literally changed the definition for political purposes. They lumped in rifles with “special features” into the assault weapon category. You know… special deadly features like adjustable stocks (oh, the horror) and shoulder things that go up.

Prior to 1994 and after the 1934 National Firearms Act, the term was used in the government exclusively for certain military firearms that could be set to select fire or full auto. President Obama and many other gun control activists to this day lie, defining semi-automatics as fully automatic. They know the difference and are purposefully claiming “assault weapons” equal “machine guns” to ensure confusion. There is no other explanation other than “they are lying for political purposes, targeting people who know little about firearms.”

Oh, and there have been so few machine guns, sub-machine guns, or fully automatic firearms used in crimes, it’s almost immeasurable. But back to the topic at hand, Feldman’s claim…

But they aren’t useful for self-defense, almost by definition.

Again, wrong. In January 2013, the Department of Homeland Security put out a bid for a rifle to be used by law enforcement in the US that would be “suitable for personal defense use in close quarters…” The request for proposal is still available right here. I wrote about it in January of 2013. In short, Homeland Security stated the personal defense weapon of choice for law enforcement in close quarters was – in generic terms – an AR-15 capable of select fire (3-round burst) and full auto. Funny huh? And yet Feldman does not think the semi-auto version of the gun is useful for self-defense?

Don’t worry professor, I’m not done. Along with law enforcement all over the country pulling their semi-auto, select-fire (somewhat rare) and full-auto (very rare) rifles out of the racks or the trunk when they know they are going into a situation where they would have to defend themselves or others, in a majority of instances, it makes sense for these rifles to be used for home defense.

I’m certainly not saying this is the best choice for everyone, but here is a list of valid reasons I’ve written before, in no particular order.

  1. You can mount a light, red dot sight and/or a laser to the rifle to make it easy to use and aim during the day or night.
  2. They have a reasonable recoil, making the gun – for many users – easier to shoot as compared to a defense-caliber shotgun or pistol.
  3. They can be customized to “fit” a variety of body types and shooting styles. They can be configured and adjusted for different shooting distances (less than 5 yards to more than 200 yards).
  4. The .223/5.56 self-defense round is absolutely appropriate for use within a home, even in an urban environment. Ballistic experts have found rounds from these calibers “dump energy” quickly and break apart or begin to tumble after penetrating the first barrier. Will rifle rounds go through walls? You bet. Will pistol calibers like 9mm, .40 and .45 go through walls? You bet. Will shotgun rounds go through walls? You bet. That said, there is significant evidence the .223/5.56 self-defense rounds penetrate no more than, and often less than traditional handgun calibers and many shotgun rounds.
  5. A rifle is much more capable of stopping a threat as compared to a pistol.
  6. Semi-automatic rifles are more accurate than a pistol or shotgun.
  7. Ammunition is (normally) readily available and (normally) priced within reason.
  8. You (some of you) can buy high-capacity magazines for many semi-automatic rifles. In a self-defense situation, you want to avoid manipulating the firearm at all except for pulling the trigger straight back. Law enforcement and civilians do not favor high-capacity magazines so they can shoot more rounds, they favor them so they can manipulate their gun less. If reloading is needed, it is possible but let’s be completely honest, in many self defense situations, ten rounds may not be enough.

Maybe, just maybe Feldman is confused about what rifles we are talking about here. Maybe he’s so illiterate about the subject he really thinks full-auto rifles are what we’re talking about? I’m not going to give him the benefit of the doubt, he’s a Harvard professor for goodness sakes.

* The Courant’s article is behind a paywall this morning. I excerpted the article above, but here is the three paragraphs I paraphrased.

That leaves the view that there’s something special about weapons that can be used both for self-defense and for militias. According to Scalia, those are the weapons that the men who ratified the Second Amendment had in mind.

Today, that includes handguns. But it doesn’t include assault rifles. They’re great for military purposes, and no doubt fun to shoot on the range. But they aren’t useful for self-defense, almost by definition.

It emerges that a careful, responsible originalist wouldn’t apply Second Amendment protection to weapons that aren’t simultaneously for self-protection and for hypothetical militias.


Is federal funding for highways being “chipped away?”

So says the first line of The Hartford Courant’s story this morning. Connecticut is talking about adding high-tech tolls to stretches of I-95 and I-84 in the state, but is the reasoning valid?

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“Balanced” budget for Connecticut … ticking fiscal time bomb?

Just asking, is all. Yesterday I took a completely fair and balanced whack at Connecticut’s legislature’s fair and balanced budget. The newspaper’s headline. “No New Taxes”, probably made most in the Constitution State sigh with relief. But not me and not because I’m just a negative cranky Yankee either. Because as Dan Haar (bless you Dan Haar) points out this morning … there’s nothing balanced about it. All the legislators did was rob from your Federal pocket full of change to pay the bills in the state pocket. Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! (Emphasis mine)

In a $19 billion budget, we had a $1.7 billion gap to fill for the fiscal year that starts July 1. We did it by assuming we’ll get another $366 million in federal stimulus money; shirking on a $100 million payment to the state employees’ pension fund; inventing a $140 million surplus in the current fiscal year, mostly by shifting money around; and the big nut, selling $996 million in bonds.

To pay back those bonds, we’ll have to steal $136 million a year from electric ratepayers, including $28 million a year from a fund designed to help residents and businesses improve energy efficiency.

Oh yes, there was a grand total of $31 million in real cuts — “tough spending cuts,” as a triumphant press release Wednesday evening called them.

Read the whole doggone thing, cause it’s the only truth you will hear today. Let’s take these points one at a time. The Federal stimulus money IS your money, and Georgia’s, Tennesee’s, Flordia’s and the other 56 states.

Delaying pension payments is a time bomb in itself. The pension bubble will burst someday. Someday these payments which clearly we can’t afford as taxpayers, will come due, and that’s when the real weeping and gnashing of teeth by state workers will begin. In California its the underpinning of its impending bankruptcy. We, a well as most other states and municipalities, are facing a similar fiscal calamity.

The “rate payer” tax is disgusting. Democrats say “Hey, your utility bill will still drop … just not as much as otherwise.” But in reality it’s one of those “don’t worry, the dumb ass people of Connecticut will never notice they are actually footing the bill” taxes. Abominable.

The stranded costs had been scheduled to expire, but now 33 percent of the costs will be paid by ratepayers to the state. As such, ratepayers will see a reduction in that portion of their cost of 67 percent, rather than the full 100 percent reduction that would have occurred otherwise.

For example, the average homeowner who uses 700 kilowatt hours per month and who currently pays $7.50 for the “stranded cost” portion of the bill will now pay $2.47 per month – rather than saving the full $7.50 when it expired.

Dan Haar gets it. So why don’t state legislators. Oh, and by the way, thank you America for helping Connecticut balance its budget because we can’t do it ourselves.

Hartford public schools welcome ACORN

In this today’s Hartford Courant, we learn about the ACORN’s visit Hartford Public. ACORN – the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now – has been caught up in a bunch of voter registration scandals around the country and is as liberal as you can get.

The money line from the Courant’s article? Keep reading to find out.

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Hartford Courant media bias on display

It’s not a Republican war you idiots. It’s a war on terrorism – you know, the Axis of Evil folks that want Americans either converted to their poluted form of Islam or our heads cut off. 

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