Last week, we discussed Senator Dianne Feinstein's (D-CA) proposed ban of so-called "assault weapons," and the fact that this ban if passed would call for wholesale confiscation of legally bought (and heretofore legally owned) firearms. Since then, Feinstein has released more details of her gun ban fantasy, and if anything, St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner's assessment of what the ban would entail was optimistic, with some credible observers making a plausible case for the claim that it could be interpreted as a ban of most semi-automatic handguns.
Perhaps counterintuitively, the extremely draconian nature of the proposed legislation is probably good news for gun rights and liberty advocates, because it is so extreme that even the most cynical exploitation of the murdered children of Sandy Hook Elementary School is quite unlikely to be enough to force such a ban through Congress.
Whatever else one says about Feinstein, it seems unlikely that she is sufficiently clueless to be unaware of this. The more plausible theory is that this overreach is calculated to draw the bulk of gun rights advocates' fire (metaphorically speaking), while less extreme infringements on that which shall not be infringed receive less attention.
More insidiously, it might even be intended to provide cover for GOP members of congress, who would vote against it, tell gun rights advocates that they had met their obligations to us, and then in the spirit of "compromise," vote for one or more of the lesser (but still utterly unacceptable) infringements. There are some indications that the process has already begun, and as Mike Vanderboegh observes, GOP "leadership" has done nothing to inspire confidence that such abject treachery is beneath them.
Perhaps the most likely of the "lesser infringements" is a ban of private firearms sales, as we discussed last month. That abomination has been supported by numerous Republicans--including some who afterward received glowing endorsements from the NRA. In fact, the Firearms Coalition pointed out in comments that the NRA itself not long ago supported mandatory background checks at gun shows, "so long as there was an assurance that they wouldn't unduly 'inconvenience' gun buyers."
Another distinct possibility is a standalone ban of eleven round or larger (the gun prohibitionists' definition of "high capacity") magazines. Several GOP politicians and ostensibly "conservative" media talking heads have indicated a willingness to discuss such a ban.
Feinstein's attempt to ban so-called "assault weapons" seems highly unlikely to pass, but that does not mean that the bill will fail to advance the forcible citizen disarmament lobby's agenda. If we the people allow our public servants to hide behind any ambiguity over our demand that shall not be infringed be treated as meaning what it says, we have no one to blame but ourselves.