I. Digression on cosmetics.
I have written before about how so-called assault weapons like the AR-15 have been maligned by many simply according to its cosmetics. It "looks" like something evil and menacing, no doubt due to it's black color (sorry, but the fact is that throughout the history of Western culture, the color black is associated with evil, death and disease) and prominence in violent Vietnam-era war movies like Full Metal Jacket.
So first let's look at some examples of fully functional AR-15s which are cosmetically less menacing:
B. Cosmetic/Ergonomic Features
Our legal system is governed by statutes and regulations, not feelings. This means law makers must define what makes one rifle an "assault rifle" and another not. Uninformed law makers having conjured up the term "assault rifle" simply fall back on cosmetic features. For example, a rifle's having a pistol grip is usually one element of being termed an "assault rifle." As you can see in the pictures immediately above, the shooting hand holds the AR-15 similar to a pistol. And this matters...why exactly? Below is an example of a M1A rifle, used by the US military prior to adopting the AR-15, and actually making a comeback because in most configurations it shoots a more powerful cartridge than the AR-15. Note that it does not have a pistol grip like most AR-15s have:
Other "assault weapon" features lawmakers have identified is the presence of a bayonet lug. Yep, the fact that a bayonet can be easily attached to the rifle is, supposedly, a great threat to public safety. Actually, the reason the bayonet lug remains on many AR-15s today is that tripod manufacturers have developed mounts to attach there, helping shooters who like to shoot from tripods. I don't know of anybody who has ever actually attached a bayonet to their AR-15, and I believe that 99% of AR-15 owners don't even own or care to own a bayonet.
As you can see, once you learn about these so-called "evil features" that define a so-called "assault weapon," you begin to see that behind the curtain sits an uninformed fool. The politicians who scrabble together the legislation have no education regarding firearms, and are navigating by feel. Now you know better.
II. Reasons why an assault weapons ban will not save lives.
A. Pistol vs. Rifle Caliber Irrelevant at Close Range
Modern pistol chamberings are more than effective at killing at close range, including but not limited to: 9mm, .45ACP, .40S&W and .357SIG. For example, on April 16, 2007, on the campus of Virginia Tech, Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others using a pistol chambered in 9mm as well as one chambered in .22LR, the latter being one of the weakest pistol calibers available. In 1999 the Columbine massacre primarily involved 9mm rounds. 9mm is by far the most popular handgun chambering round worldwide, with .45ACP a close second in the U.S. Therefore, concerns over weapons chambered in more powerful rifle rounds are moot, because common pistol calibers are already extremely effective. Banning certain firearms, in part because they are chambered in powerful rifle rounds will not save lives.
By way of analogy, this is akin to banning 500 horse power sports cars out of concerns that they have the ability to travel far in excess of a 75 MPH highway speed limit. Such a ban would be senseless because even a 250 HP motor can accelerate a car to dangerous speeds, and in fact even a 120 HP motor can. All modern cars can hit 125 MPH and above, even with only 4 cylinders, which is extremely dangerous on trafficked roads in the US. Worrying about and banning a car that can hit 150 MPH or 160 MPH is somewhat pointless, and in point of fact, AFAIK there is no legal limitation on horsepower or how fast a car is capable of going with respect to being sold, manufactured or possessed in the US.
Concern over cartridge power might be relevant if indeed mass shootings ever took place at distances of 100 yards or more, but these are extremely rare, and in any case, a typical hunting rifle would be a more effective tool for that task. In 1966, this is what a shooter did on a Texas college campus, killing several students from a tower at long range using a hunting-style rifle. It is true that in 2002 the so-called Beltway sniper used and AR-15, but in that case the rifle was used in a manner similar to a hunting rifle, i.e. one well placed shot for each kill and not as a rapid-fire weapon. The shooter took only a single shot from one location hidden inside the trunk of a car, and the driver then sped away to a completely new location.
B. Magazine capacity irrelevant and banning high capacity magazines will not save lives.
I blogged separately on this point, so go read that post for that argument.
C. Semi-automatic irrelevant and will not save lives.
This argument is based on pure ignorance of what revolvers based on 19th century designs are still capable of, primarily because revolvers re no longer featured much in movies and TV. But some sportsmen still use them, and millions are still used for self defense. With practice, a revolver is just as capable of being a tool for mass murder:
In conclusion, gun ban legislation is conjured up by folks who have very little or any knowledge of firearms at all. Clearly, any firearm is capable of killing large numbers of people in a short amount of time. Therefore, bans on so-called "assault weapons" is nothing more than smoke and mirrors designed to:
a. Give the public (and politicians) a false sense of security and control over violence.
b. Distract from the fact that the US has deplorable mental health care policies.
c. Distract from the fact that pop culture pumped out by Hollywood and video game makers contributes to a culture of violence.
d. Attack people on the conservative end of the political spectrum, who are more likely to own firearms and oppose gun bans.
e. Attack people who belong to the sub-culture of gun enthusiasts, who others don't understand and therefore fear and demonize. Jews have known and suffered this trait of human culture for centuries.