Representative Charlie Rangel, a Democrat from New York, appeared on MSNBC and was asked by the host about the assault weapons ban that failed in the Senate. The host lamented that they couldn’t even get 40 votes, let alone the 60 required to get it passed. She asked him what happened. Rangel explained that it’s all about the NRA money connection:
“I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s politics, and it’s money. The NRA has taken this position; there is no reason, there is no foundation. There is no hunter that needs automatic military weapons to enjoy the culture of going hunting. But you know it’s really basically the absence of the voices of good people…. We’re talking about millions of kids dying – being shot down by assault weapons, we’re talking about handguns easier in the inner cities, to get these guns in the inner cities, than to get computers. This is not just a political issue, it’s a moral issue and so when we condemn the NRA we should not ignore the fact that a lot of people that have taken moral positions have been solid on this big one.”
First of all, “automatic military weapons” are not what is at issue here. Although they are technically not illegal for civilian use, they are highly regulated, and they are rarely (if ever anymore) used in crimes. And of course he also has to invoke the tired hunting mantra as reason we don’t need fully automatic weapons.
If he’s so passionate about the gun issue, he should get his terms straight. The current debate is over semi-automatic weapons, and more specifically, semi-automatic rifles, which are no different in functionality than most handguns. Ironically, they are also rarely used in crimes.
We could give him the benefit of the doubt, but then he goes on to refer to “kids dying, being shot down by assault weapons.” I guarantee that not one child has ever been shot down by an assault weapon. People are murdered by other people. Criminals can use any instrument they want, but those instruments are inanimate objects, incapable of shooting or harming anyone on their own volition. They don’t have volition.
Maybe we could give him the benefit of the doubt again, because we know he doesn’t actually think the guns themselves are shooting people. (Or maybe he does think that.) But he claims millions of kids are dying at the hands of assault weapons. Where does he get this number? Dozens is more like it and far lower than the number of kids dying by other means.
Tens of millions of kids have died and continue to die by abortion, not by semi-automatic rifles. But abortion is different, because killing an unborn child is a woman’s absolute right that no one else (especially white men) should infringe upon. And as we all know, the Bill of Rights, including the 2nd Amendment, are not absolute. Besides, taking away people’s semi-automatic rifles is not an infringement on the 2nd Amendment. Assault weapons are simply “not covered” by the 2nd Amendment.