by Mark Chesnut - Monday, April 26, 2021
With the Biden administration and some representatives in the U.S. Congress again calling for a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” the situation is more dire than ever. That’s because with Democrats holding the majority in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, along with the White House, the chances of such a measure becoming law are much greater this year than they have been in quite some time.
Unfortunately, some hunters hear about such proposals and turn a deaf ear because they don’t believe the legislation really affects them. They might think that since the legislation currently doesn’t target their Browning Auto-5 upland bird gun, Remington 870 waterfowl shotgun or Winchester Model 70 deer rifle, they really don’t need to get involved in the ongoing fight.
However, there are many reasons that kind of thinking is mistaken and why all gun owners should stick together to battle the current onslaught of legislation targeting firearms at the federal level. Here are four good reasons that are food for thought.
1. AR-style rifles are used more and more for hunting and are available in a wide range of good hunting calibers. Thus, banning such rifles would have a negative effect on the hunters who use them regularly.
In fact, at our Oklahoma deer camp, AR-style rifles typically make up about half the rifles used on an average weekend during the deer rifle season. These rifles are chambered in a range of calibers including .223 Rem., .243 Win., .308 Win. and .458 SOCOM. And every one of them can accept the so-called “high-capacity” magazines that zealots also are trying to ban.
Not one of the hunters using those rifles is any less of a sportsman than those using Remington or Kimber bolt guns or a Marlin lever action. And not one of them is a criminal, so there’s no reason anyone should be required to forfeit their rifles to the government.
2. Reduced gun sales result in far fewer dollars earmarked for conservation at the state level. And that should be a big deal to every hunter regardless of the species he pursues and the firearms he owns.
Under the Pittman-Robertson (P-R) law, created by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, an excise tax is placed on firearms and ammunition at the manufacturer level, with archery equipment and firearms accessories added later. The manufacturers pass the tax along to America’s gun buyers, and the resulting funds—hundreds of millions of dollars a year—are allocated to the states for wildlife conservation projects. So, in essence, hunters are the nation’s biggest conservationists, which I’ve written about multiple times, including for this website.
Cut out around one million new AR rifle sales a year, and you cut approximately $60 million from P-R coffers. The same would happen if so-called “high-capacity” magazines were banned and no longer sold by the millions each year. And nixing all of the ammo that would have been sold to those people for use in AR-style rifles also would cut federal funds significantly.
3. Setting a precedent of banning a gun seldom used in crime just because some people don’t like them could lead to other guns being banned for no reason. And that’s not something any of us want to see.
Truth is, rifles of all kinds are used in less than 5 percent of murders each year, according to FBI figures. And AR-15s are just a subset of those rifles so they are used in even fewer murders.
Just look at Australia, which started out banning so-called assault rifles and ended up banning many semi-auto and pump shotguns like those used by hunters every season here in the United States. Australia even put some lever-action rifles on the list and later “bought back” those firearms from their rightful owners. There’s little doubt that once the government starts banning guns, they’ll be quick to add others to the list once their original gun bans do nothing to curtail violent crime.
4. Passing a ban on so-called assault weapons would give anti-gun legislators momentum and embolden them to push for even more restrictions. The old saying, “Give ’em an inch, and they’ll take a mile,” is oh so true for those in the gun-ban movement.
Nearly every time an anti-gun law is passed anywhere in the United States, you can find some legislator or leader of a gun ban group who will proclaim the law “is a good first step.” Next, they’ll say, “But we still have a long way to go to solve this problem.”
In truth, America’s gun-ban movement must be nipped at the bud and allowed no momentum to push forward with all matters of bans and other laws. If one restriction is a good first step, the likely “good last step” for those pushing such laws is to ban guns completely—including your hunting guns.
About the Author
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC in Jenks, Okla. An avid hunter, shooter and field-trialer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for over 20 years.
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