Or not really. But Gawker is running an article titled “Obama to Ban Military-Style Assault Weapons For Local Police Forces”. I’ve seen it floating around a little this morning, and mostly from anti-gun folks who seem to think Second Amendment types will be upset about it.
I would think most Second Amendment folks would get behind this, myself very much included. Although there’s some confusion among anti-gun folks, most of the rest of us understand that the Second Amendment is not there to protect the right for cops to bear arms. In fact, it’s kind of exactly the other way around.
It being Gawker, though, they screw it up right from the title of their piece. They’re drawing from an NBC article titled “Obama to Crack Down on Military-Style Equipment for Police”. which is accurate. The Gawker title, however, implies that this will cover assault weapons, which it doesn’t.
Assault weapon is a political term for rifles that are cosmetically similar to real assault rifles, but without the actual capability. Meaning, they are semi-automatic only rifles, where you pull the trigger once and only one round is fired. The primary defining characteristic of a real assault rifle is that is selective fire, meaning it has the ability to be fired in fully automatic or burst fire mode. Usually what assault weapon means is a small caliber .223 rifle that fires in semi-automatic mode — like many other rifles and almost all handguns — but looks kind of scary.
Which the NBC article tells us aren’t even on the table:
In previewing the president’s trip, the White House said that effective immediately, the federal government will no longer fund or provide armored vehicles that run on a tracked system instead of wheels, weaponized aircraft or vehicles, firearms or ammunition of .50-caliber or higher, grenade launchers, bayonets or camouflage uniforms. The federal government also is exploring ways to recall prohibited equipment already distributed.
The way I read that, even real assault rifles are still allowed. Hell, armored police vehicles aren’t even disallowed, unless they’re full-on tanks. In fact, in the picture that Gawker ran with their article — and I posted above — the only thing those cops are using that would actually be affected are the cops’ pants.
Nor, contrary to the Gawker headline, is Obama actually banning anything. He’s just not allowing federal funds to be used to purchase them. So if a police department still wants to buy a .50 caliber rifle or a pair of camouflage BDUs, they’ll just have to perform an asset seizure or up the ticket quota.
In my opinion, it’s not enough. Not nearly enough. But, hey, it’s a very small step in the right direction.