I find myself today in unfamiliar territory--defending the Bush administration. If I don't do it particularly well, keep in mind that I haven't had a lot of practice.
From whom am I defending our fearless leaders? None other than Josh Sugarmann, founder and executive director of the Violence Policy Center (their "policy" regarding violence seems to be to render everyone defenseless against it). The aspect of White House leadership to which Josh takes exception (today) is what he perceives to be inadequate regulation of SKS rifles.
But is it too fine a point to call out the Bush administration for having specifically authorized the import of the foreign-made SKS assault rifle (by placing it on the innocuous sounding "curios or relics" list) that was one of the weapons the U.S. government alleges that six men plotting an assault on Fort Dix trained with in the Poconos?For one thing, there is no such thing as an "SKS assault rifle." Assault rifles are capable of fully-automatic fire. SKS rifles are not even described very well by the term--invented by the civilian disarmament lobby--"assault weapon," because they do not have detachable magazines, and are thus rather slow to reload (yes, I am aware that some SKS's have been modified to accept AK magazines, but this modification apparently makes the guns notoriously prone to jamming).
In fact, our intrepid would-be jihadists had obviously realized that SKS rifles would not be up to the task of killing a great number of soldiers, as illustrated by their attempt to obtain more capable firepower (their arrest occurred during an attempted purchase of fully automatic AK-47s--already very tightly regulated--from an "arms dealer" who was actually a government informant). The SKS rifles entered this discussion only by virtue of the fact that they were the firearms used in the videotaped target practice.
Sugarmann's opportunism in exploiting tragedies to advance his single-minded agenda (and "single-minded" might be giving him excessive credit for the number of minds involved) is old hat (and contemptible). An attempt to exploit a non-tragedy (the arrests of people who had planned--however poorly--to kill a great many of our soldiers is a good thing, is it not?) as justification to ban the guns that the alleged conspirators had rejected as being inadequate is merely laughable.