Washington State recently passed Initiative 1639. This post discusses the very purposeful relabeling/reclassifying of your semiautomatic rifle as an assault weapon. Yes, beginning July 1, 2019, whether you own an AR-15 or just a little bitty Ruger 10/22, it magically transforms into an assault weapon.
- What I-1639 Does: All semiautomatic rifles and semiautomatic shotguns have now been labeled “semiautomatic assault rifle” (unless they are antiques or have been rendered permanently inoperable).
- Why It Does This: In my opinion, to set the stage for a future firearm confiscation.
Civilian Rifles vs. Military Rifles
The “AR” in AR-15 does not stand for “Assault Rifle”. It’s short for ArmaLite Rifle (ArmaLite was the original manufacturer of the AR-15). The AR-15 is essentially the civilian version of our military’s standard issue rifle. One of the main differences is that the AR-15 does not have a fully automatic setting; only the military gets that. While one might say that our version is not as capable as our military’s version, we’ve kind of gotten over that. And just to be even more clear, “Assault Rifle” is not even a term that firearm manufacturers use to describe semiautomatic rifles.
So why has it now crept into the Revised Code of Washington?
My name is Schoen Parnell. Everyone that knows me knows me by that name. Sometimes they misspell it. Or mispronounce it. But what most of them don’t know is that for some reason (when I was born) my parents threw in a middle name. So I’m really Schoen Rory Parnell. For those of you that, up till now, have only known me as Schoen Parnell, do you now have a different perception of me? Does the addition of the middle name now make you like me more? Or less? Hopefully not.
But what if my name was actually Jack Ripper. And what if my parents actually thought it would have been a good idea to give me the middle name “THE”? Would you now have a different perception of me? What if I moved into the house next to your daughter’s sorority?
“Assault” is just like that. It is a superfluous middle name. Inserting it between “Semiautomatic” and “Rifle” does nothing EXCEPT to scare people (just like putting “The” between “Jack” and “Ripper”).
“Semiautomatic Rifle” describes precisely the same capability and function as does “Semiautomatic Assault Rifle”. Adding the middle name, Assault, adds a total of zero rifles to the category of semiautomatic rifles. And subtracting the middle name, Assault, subtracts a total of zero rifles from the category of semiautomatic rifles.
So, again, why has it now crept into the Revised Code of Washington?
Because, in the future, this middle name will be crucial to sell an emotion-driven public on an “assault weapons” ban. And here’s how they start.
Petition Monger: “Did you know that the government still has not banned assault weapons?”
Naïve Citizen: “(gasp) No, I did not!”
Petition Monger: “Then would you sign our petition to ban assault weapons?”
Naïve Citizen: “Oh, yes. Absolutely! Where do I sign?”
So if you’re not a gun owner, why should you care? For the record, I was raised by parents who had no guns. My father served two years in the Army, right out of high school, but did not want guns in our home. I wasn’t even allowed to have a squirt gun. But here’s what he didn’t understand until much, much later in life (and if you get nothing else from this article, get this).
“Your 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms ultimately protects all of your other rights.”
It is the one check our founders put in place to deter their fledgling government from becoming what they had just defeated. Since I-1639 has essentially labeled all semiautomatic rifles as assault weapons, a future assault weapons ban will effectively take away the only firearms that put the public on par with the government.
Bringing it full circle now, the difference between a democracy and a constitutional republic has been described like this. In a democracy, two wolves and one lamb vote on what to eat for lunch. In a republic, the lamb has an AR-15.