Rush to Ban ‘Assault Rifles’ Is ‘Political Posturing’; Oregon Court Chaos

AR15 pile of Guns Rifles SMG iStock FabrikaCr 949369336
While Joe Biden is working anew to ban so-called “assault rifles,” cases involving a Maryland ban and an Oregon magazine ban are unfolding, and intertwined, with the president’s push before Republicans take control of the U.S. House in January.

U.S.A.-( In the month since the “red wave” didn’t materialize, Joe Biden has renewed his push to ban so-called “assault weapons,” but an Op-Ed in The Hill suggests such an effort is more flash than substance while noting that the semi-auto rifles the president loathes really aren’t as big a public risk as he contends.

This discussion has essentially erupted as the multiple challenges to a restrictive Oregon gun control law have made the situation in that state somewhat chaotic. At least four federal and one state level cases are intertwined, with a federal court ruling going one direction while the state level case went the opposite direction. More about that in a moment.

Writing at The Hill, Sheldon H. Jacobson, Ph.D., who teaches Computer Science at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, University of Illinois, provides data showing deaths from firearms are a fraction of fatalities due to heart disease, cancer and COVID-19.

“Banning assault weapons may be a good idea for their potential to inflict harm,” Prof. Jacobson says. “Such a ban may also have other societal benefits that would justify it. However, arguing for a ban based solely on existing population risk reduction benefits extracted from the data appears to be more about political posturing than data-driven evidence-based analysis.”

This came several paragraphs after he observed, “What this data indicate is that an assault weapon ban carries with it a very small reduction in population risk.”

When it comes to exposing what may be a charade, MSNBC opinion columnist Noah Rothman notes in his own essay, “Even the Democratic lawmakers who have dutifully followed Biden’s lead and renewed calls for a stricter bans on firearm ownership admit the votes for such a thing do not exist.”

This is happening simultaneously to the judicial chaos unfolding in Oregon over enactment of Measure 114. Although a federal judge ruled Tuesday that the magazine ban portion of the new law can proceed beginning Thursday, Dec. 8—while she granted a 30-day hold on imposition of the permitting and training requirement—a Circuit Judge in Oregon’s Harney County announced hours later he was granting a temporary restraining order, blocking the law from taking effect. Judge Robert Raschio set a Dec. 13 hearing on a request for a temporary restraining order, while Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum told KATU News her office will petition the Oregon Supreme Court “seeking to align the result in our state courts with the federal court’s well-reasoned and thoughtful decision.”

U.S. District Judge Karin J. Immergut, a Donald Trump appointee, placed a 30-day delay on the requirement for a permit-to-purchase contained in the measure, but will allow the section banning the sale and transfer of so-called “large capacity” magazines to take effect. Her order may be read here. Circuit Judge Raschio’s order may carry the weight, since it is based on Oregon’s state constitutional right-to-bear-arms provision, not a federal challenge.

At the same time this was happening, arguments were made in the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on the challenge to an “assault weapons” ban in Maryland, according to the Washington Post. Opponents argue the ban is unconstitutional in a case known as Bianchi v. Frosh, 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 21-1255. This was one of four cases granted certiorari by the U.S. Supreme Court a week after the June 23 ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. The high court vacated lower court rulings and remanded all four cases back to their respective courts for further action within the guidelines set down in the Bruen ruling.

In oral arguments Tuesday, plaintiffs’ attorney Peter Patterson of Cooper & Kirk told the appeals court panel the state ban should be struck down.

“This is a fundamental constitutional right that’s at stake and every day it’s being infringed is irreparable harm,” Patterson said, according to Reuters.

Although these controversies are happening at far ends of the country, they are part of the fabric of the Biden gun control crusade in which he has openly admitted that he not only wants to ban the sale of semi-auto rifles, he also wants to ban 9mm pistols. That revelation came during remarks made at a CNN Townhall broadcast in July 2021, captured by the Second Amendment Foundation and used repeatedly in advertising for the past several months.

Biden is pushing now, albeit in probable desperation, because Republicans will take control of the U.S. House in January, and his gun control agenda will be dead on arrival. As noted by Rothman in his MSNBC article, “Next year, Republicans will have even more votes, and their control of the lower chamber of Congress will effectively end the legislative phase of Joe Biden’s first term in office.”

This supposes Biden will have a second term, which many pundits believe is unlikely. That question will be answered in 2024.

And sliding into this fray is an open letter signed by 50 medical professionals and publicized by the Brady gun prohibition lobbying group. That letter is being spread across social media.

Meanwhile, Biden’s lust for a gun ban to be part of his legacy will likely be unfulfilled. The Washington Post article quoted 2022 data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation estimating that there are more than 24 million semiautomatic rifles now in private hands. As such, they are “in common use” and that may make it impossible for any sort of ban.

Adding to this argument, Prof. Jacobson’s revelation about the use of semi-auto rifles in mass murders waters down the arguments supporting such a ban.

“Assuming (incorrectly) that all mass murders involved assault weapons,” Jacobson noted, “and assuming that all the associated deaths and injuries could have been avoided, this amounts to around 650 deaths over the past four years (2018-2021), fewer than the number of people who will die with or from COVID-19 over any two days this week.”

It’s a game of perspectives, perhaps. The court battle in Oregon may overshadow the revived Maryland rifle ban challenge, and both are intertwined with the gun control agenda Biden has been pursuing since his days on Capitol Hill. About the only certainty is the next few months—with state legislatures coming back into session in January—will provide Second Amendment activists with the equivalent of a rodeo where all the broncs were released at the same time.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman