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Second Amendment assault: Meaningless gun ban

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Thursday, April 4, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Revealing unconstitutional gun-grabbing rhetoric's emptiness is how rarely so-called “assault weapons” — as opposed to handguns — are used in homicides in the Pittsburgh region.

Yet President Obama wants the Senate to vote on banning “assault weapons” — a misnomer betraying ignorance of distinctions between military firearms and cosmetically similar but functionally dissimilar civilian weapons.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has proposed banning 157 such guns.

A Trib analysis shows such a ban would have done little — if anything — to make residents safer in Allegheny, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties, where “assault weapons” were used to kill just 15 of the 245 people fatally shot from 2010 through 2012. Handguns — 90 percent of firearms seized by police in Allegheny County during that period — were the killers' weapons of choice.

Ms. Feinstein's ban would have stopped neither George Sodini, who killed four and wounded nine with two handguns at LA Fitness in Collier, nor such “assault weapons” users as Richard Poplawski, who killed three Pittsburgh policemen, and Ronald Robinson, who killed a Penn Hills policeman. Such criminals laugh at gun laws and find other means to kill if their first choice isn't readily available.

Infringing the law-abiding's Second Amendment rights, Feinstein's ban would deprive them of an effective form of self-defense, making them less safe, not more.

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