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irregular times logoBush Plays Political Games With Deadly Weapons

When is a deadly semi-automatic assault gun not a gun? When it's a big, bad, bullet-popping, flesh ripping toy.

That's what NRA members are claiming - that their semi-automatic assault rifles (a category that includes the infamous Uzi) are just playthings, really, not meant to harm anybody that they'll only give up when they're pried from their cold dead hands! They're toys, we're told, just designed for people who like to spray bullets at super-fast rates at old bottles and pop cans, for target practice.

Of course, if these rifles are toys, and not meant to be used as weapons, then they're not at all protected by the constitutional amendment that protects the right to bear arms. An arm is a weapon, designed to hurt and kill people, not a gun-toy designed for hitting glass bottles.

So which is it? Are these guns arms, and therefore designed to kill and main in huge numbers, or toys, which aren't constitutionally protected?

The guns sure aren't used for hunting animals, that's for sure. So, wait a minute - if these guns are used for target practice - what are the targets that their owners are practicing to hit?!? The answer: The owners of these guns are practicing to kill people.

That's the only job that semiautomatic assault rifles are designed to do: Kill lots and lots and lots of people.

Evidence of this comes from the news of the past few years: Semiautomatic assault guns that were sold in the United States before the ban of 1994 were used by the kids who massacred their classmates at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. The snipers that terrorized Washington D.C. in 2002 also used these weapons. Yeah, they're deadly weapons - not toys, and the people who are pushing for the re-legalization of military-style assault weapons are doing so only because they want to own and use deadly weapons - not because they want to play.

George W. Bush is among those who are allowing the assault weapons ban of 1994 to expire. You'd think that in this age of hypersecurity that Bush might cite the need for security to support an effort to keep the assault weapons ban alive. You'd think that if you weren't used to Bush talking out of both sides of his mouth.

As I write this article, on Friday, September 10, 2004, there are only three days left in the assault weapons ban. On Monday, the ban expires, with the gleeful help of George W. Bush and the Republican Party.

In the Republicans' twisted logic, homeland security requires government agents to interrogate pacifists and search grandmothers at airports for dangerous nail files. Yet, the Republicans think that it's a great idea to let practically any adult in the United States to walk around the streets of our cities carrying Uzis.

Gag me with a pistol grip.

The facts show that the assault weapons ban has worked wonderfully. Although banned weapons sold before the ban were still in some use, the rate of murder by semi-automatic assault guns has dropped dramatically since the ban went into effect. In fact, the murder rate as a whole has gone way down since the days when Republican Uzi-loving "self-defense" was perfectly legal.

Last test of the assault weapons ban. Has it hurt domestic security? Nope. A big old fact that the Uzi-loving National Rifle Association conveniently neglects to mention is that the number of terrorist incidents that have been stopped by private ownership of military-style semi-automatic guns is precisely zero. The Bush-led effort to allow assault weapons back on America's streets doesn't have a thing to do with citizen militias. It has to do with the political influence of the NRA and big gun manufacturers. Refusing to stop the sale of these deadly weapons into the hands of future mass murderers is a cheap way for the Republicans to gain the financial contributions they need to win their political elections this year.

Are the American people paying attention to this issue? Not much. It seems that a wicked rash of political advertisements has them talking more about what the presidential candidates did during the 1960s.

Way to keep the eye on the ball. We hope that our nation does not find its attention riveted back to the problem of legalized assault weapons to the sound of a spray of bullets in a once-peaceful neighborhood.

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