During a “fireside hangout” facilitated by social media, President Obama was asked why his gun control proposals target so-called “assault weapons” but not handguns which are involved in far more crimes and violence?
The Presidents response was illuminating, but not in a direct way:
During a Google Plus “Fireside Hangout,” Obama was asked why he favored a ban on assault weapons, which account for only a small percentage of gun deaths, as opposed to handguns, which are responsible for the majority.
“I actually don’t think we should ban handguns,” Obama said. “But keep in mind what we’re trying to do is come up with a package that protects Second Amendment rights but also contributes to reduce violence.”
Obama said assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are “generally not used for hunting,” and that while banning them won’t “solve every problem,” it “can play a meaningful part” in reducing gun violence.
Well, handguns aren’t generally used for hunting, but they are used in a lot more crime than any sort of long-barreled weapon. The thing is, it’s a lot easier to stir up political dissent against scary “assault weapons” than handguns.
Which lays bare the President’s motivations with regard to gun control. It’s not really about crime. It’s about leveraging an incidence of mass murder into policy which makes gun ownership harder. Politically, restrictions on “assault weapons” are an easier sell than restrictions on handguns, so Obama takes the path of least resistance.
To be clear, I don’t think that restrictions on handguns would do anything with regard to crime or violence either. I think those who equate gun control with crime control are mistaken. But Obama does believe that gun control is crime control, but you couldn’t tell that from his gun control platform.