Paul Helmke's latest "Brady Blog" post consists mostly of a call for the reinstatement of the so-called "ban" of so-called "assault weapons." This legislation, which after ten years of accomplishing nothing (as even the virulently anti-gun Violence Policy Center's Tom Diaz was forced to acknowledge--here for audio), was mercifully allowed to fade into the oblivion it so richly deserved, in September 2004.
To support his "argument" (being generous here) for the renewal of the ban, he pointed to the recent killings in an Omaha, Nebraska mall and a Colorado church--both atrocities committed by punks armed with what Helmke calls "assault weapons." Never mind that the WASR-10 used by the Omaha punk was never classified as an "assault weapon" by the previously mentioned now-defunct federal law. Never mind that the WASR-10 was in fact a product of that law, its design parameters set by the very law Paul wants revived. Never mind that even guns that did fall within the law's definition of "assault weapons" were not banned--they were perfectly legal to own, to buy, to sell, and to shoot, as long as they were manufactured/imported before September 1994. And certainly never mind that the only reason the death toll in the Colorado church wasn't vastly worse was the presence of a courageous, armed private citizen and parishioner (Jeanne Assam) with a concealed carry permit. Ms. Assam's handgun, by the way, used a magazine with a higher capacity than Paul thinks is acceptable--and the killer's use of body armor made that capacity quite necessary.
Speaking of body armor, let's move right along to something else Paul wants banned.
Perhaps even more shocking, the type of bullet many assault weapons fire (7.62mm full metal jacket) can penetrate four categories of police body armor [pdf]. There is no legitimate reason the public should have this kind of access to military-style assault weapons.Paul seems still to be trying to frame this as an "assault weapons" issue, but that, of course, is blatant deception on his part. If there are any centerfire rifle calibers incapable of defeating common police body armor, I am unaware of them. Such rifles would certainly be quite marginal for hunting deer-sized game humanely.
And that brings me to my point about hunters. There are, I realize, many hunters who have no interest in "assault weapons," and who do not consider themselves threatened by calls to ban them. Helmke has very efficiently demonstrated how dangerous such an attitude is. Any armor that can be penetrated by 7.62x39mm will hardly even slow down such overwhelmingly popular deer hunting cartridges as the .270 Winchester or .30-06. And yet Helmke seems to want to include the ability to defeat soft body armor among the features of "assault weapons." Say goodbye to anything more powerful than a .22.
Most citizen disarmament groups claim that interfering with the "sporting" use of firearms is not part of their agenda. Ignoring for the moment the absurdity of the idea of the Constitutional Framers devoting 10% of the Bill of Rights to protecting the right to sport, Helmke's call to ban guns that can defeat body armor shows that banning hunting arms is very much a part of the Brady Bunch agenda.