State Representative Ed DeLaney, like most of his ilk,* sends out the occasional glossy mailer full of Deep Thoughts and Big Plans, along with pictures illustrating various focus-group-tested Issues Of Importance and images of The Great Man, El Supremo Ego-boogitty-boo himself.
He decided to beclown himself in the most recent by asking,"Should the legislature allow Indianapolis to ban assault weapons?"
Aside from the complete unworkability of it -- my .22LR-converted AR-15 would be hot, hot, hot contraband in my safe, but leave it on the floor of my Mom's house just across the county line and it's as legal as church on Sunday? And if I wanted to drive from there to the DNR range at Atterbury, would I need to tiptoe around the Unigov city-county metroplex? -- it's insane. Criminals have shot and killed policemen with AKAR -1547s in Marion County at least two times in the past ten years; they've also shot and killed policemen with the officer's own gun, with various other guns, etc. etc. Imagine that -- criminals committed criminal acts! Most were not in legal possession of the weapons in question; some were dangerously crazy but still walking around. None of them would be deterred by any gun ban, no matter how draconian.
I tried to speak Ed's language -- poor fellow is a Democrat, after all:
Dear Ed:Will he listen? I doubt it. Even at the weeds-and-underbrush level of a State Legislator, most of them only hear the pounding of their own pulse in their ear, the mellifluous, plausible nonsense of their own voice and the cheering few in their echo chamber.
No, the state legislature most certainly should *not* allow Indianapolis to ban so-called "assault weapons." While they may look scary because they copy the appearance (but not the function) of military weapons, they are not more dangerous then any other firearm. The normal cartridge for an AR-15 or semi-automatic version of the AK-47 is less powerful than the ones fired by most hunting rifles. By Federal law, all rifles shoot only one bullet per trigger press and cannot be modified do otherwise. (They are built to make this very, very difficult.) While your concern for the safety of citizens, especially police officers, is commendable, this expression of it is misplaced. An "assault weapon" ban would only make criminals of otherwise law-abiding Marion County residents while failing to deter actual criminals from possessing these weapons. (In most cases, a criminal with a prior record found in possession of any firearms is already going to be chargeable as a "felon in possession," since a felony conviction bars the ownership -- even handling -- of guns.)
Please try to remember the problem isn't the tool, it's the behavior. Making greater possibilities open to young persons, helping at-risk youth and minor offenders find a different path, prevention/diversion programs and effective, compassionate treatment for drug addicts will do a lot more to improve everyone's safety than banning some or even all guns. Without a person to aim it and pull the trigger, guns are just lumps of metal, wood and plastic. Let's help the persons. Guns don't cause crimes -- people do, people who can see no other path. To ignore them and concentrate on a set of inert objects would be a real tragedy.
* State Legislators most certainly comprise an "ilk" and a particularly dire and obnoxious one, at that.