and pistols were useless for duck hunting. “These weapons andnlarge capacity clips have no legitimate civilian use, period.nThey are useless to hunters—five rounds fired into a duck willnonly make duck soup,” he said.nBut congressmen who denounce semiautomatics for beingnmore portable than other guns (which of course they are not),nand who think rifles and pistols are used to shoot ducks, are thenleast of our troubles. Representative Herbert Klein (D-NJ) denouncednthe banned guns because they were allegedly designednfor killing people in “close cjuarters,” while RepresentativenWayne Gilchrest (R-MD) condemned the same weaponsnfor their supposed “long-range capabilities.” RepresentativenBarbara Kennelly (D-CT) believed banning the guns will improventhe aim of warring drug gangs. According to her, the bannwould “end the insanity of innocent bystanders being caught innthe crossfire.” Another member who imputed magic to lawnwas Representative David Skaggs (D-CO), who claimed thatnbanning guns with the specified military accessories will diminishnfear and crime. “[TJhese five features . . . sure help criminalsnlooking to intimidate, wound or kill,” he said. (Apparently,npeople with hunting rifles are less intimidating.) Anxious tonget rid of what he does not understand. Representative DonnJohnson (D-GA) concocted a fearsome image of weapons thatndo not even exist. “People . . . cannot understand what legitimatenpurpose guns that fire 150 rounds without reloading cannpossibly have,” he said. The fact that none of the bannednsemiautomatic weapons has the capacity he described seemsnnot to have mattered.nComparisons of semiautomatic rifles with high-tech militarynequipment like antitank and antiaircraft hardware were thenscare tactics of choice. Representative Edward Markey (D-nMA) asserted outright that the banned.rifles and pistols were innthe same class as bazookas, while Representative James Traficantn(D-OH) supported the bill because “the Constitutionnnever intended for individuals to strap a Stinger missile on theirnback and then cite Second Amendment privilege.” RepresentativenReed compared semiautomatic rifles to Claymore mines.nNever mind that the Second Amendment is about a right,nnot a privilege; never mind that the issue under debate wasnrifles and pistols, not Stinger missiles, bazookas, or mines. Thenenemies of the Constitution and their blundering followersnwere determined to get their way.nDuring the shredding party, some House members appearednconfused about even their own l^eliefs. Georgia’snRepresentative Johnson told Congress he supported the bann”because, very simply, I believe that it will save lives. Let me benclear, I do not think it will reduce crime in America. . . . Whatnthis bill does is to reduce the number of victims of violentncrime.” Perhaps Mr. Johnson knows what he meant, but nonone else does.nIn the same nonsensical vein, Representative Tim Penny (D-nMN) confessed that the bill will have no effect on crimesninvolving guns. He then boldly proposed gutting the Bill ofnRights by stripping Americans of their rights, all in order tonsend “a message.” To whom this strange “message” should bendelivered. Penny did not say. Here are his exact words:nWill this bill make an appreciable difference in the incidencenof gun crimes in America? Probably not. On thenother hand, do the provisions of this bill represent anhardship for legitimate gun owners? Most certainly not.n. . . This bill is not a solution to the bloody crime culturen. . . and it may be true that this vote today is largely symbolic.nBut symbols can carry a message. I think the messagenis that any right carried to an extreme can createnproblems.nTo Penny, stripping the Constitution is a message Congressnshould send, even though the legislation will achieve no beneficialneffect.nRepresentative Marge Roukema (R-NJ) was so confused thatnshe called for legislation to regulate which weapons murderersnshould use to kill people: “hi our country, extensive state lawsnpresently regulate the weapons hunters and sportsmen use fornshooting deer, but we are afraid to give the same protection tonhuman beings.” Would shorter seasons be in order, perhaps?nAnother rights-stripper who revealed that the subject wasnover his head is Representative William Hughes (D-NJ). Henargued that since government is helpless against crime, banningnguns makes sense, hi his words, “this issue is about commonnsense. It is not about eliminating crime because there isnnothing we can do to eliminate crime.”n/^””y^ f, through stupidity,n^ / lies, ignorance, andnf_^^ hate, Congress cannstrip gun owners of rights explicitlynprotected by the Second Amendment, thenrights of all Americans are in jeopardy.nHughes then lectured his colleagues on wound ballistics, anmore technical subject on which he pediaps fancies himselfnsomething of an expert: “[Y]ou can survive a shot from a .38,nbut if you’re hit with five rounds from a military-type assaultnweapon, the chances of your survival are minimal,” he said.nThe trouble is, virtually every .38 holds five or six shots, notnone; and five shots from a .38 can be far more devastating thannshots from a smaller caliber semiautomatic rifle of the sort underndiscussion, because the latter shoots military full-metaljacketnammo designed not to expand. Besides bullet penetration,nlethality depends mostly on where the bullet strikes andnthe size of the wound, not on where the bullet comes from. Anvictim’s prognosis does not depend on a gun’s styling.nSpicing the debate with unintentional comedy. RepresentativenGilchrest, a Vietnam War veteran, implied the opposite ofnhis intended meaning when he said: “I took a bullet from annAK-47; I can attest to their deadliness.”nOne member reasoned that because banning assault riflesndid not work in the District of Columbia, the ban should be extendednelsewhere. Representative Eleanor Norton of Washington,nD.C., said, “your nation’s capital bans all guns. We neverthelessnare drowning in assault weapons. Only a national bann. . . can stop the carnage.” The only problem with RepresentativenNorton’s argument is the fact that of the 3,200 homicidesnnnMARCH 1995/19n