2 months ago
California Gov. Jerry Brown will soon decide whether to sign a bill that expands his state’s “assault weapon” ban to cover any centerfire rifle with a detachable magazine. That’s a very broad category, the National Rifle Association notes, since “millions of semi-automatic rifles have magazines that can be removed with the push of a button,” including ”classic hunting rifles like the Remington Woodsmaster, Browning BAR, and the Ruger 99/44, among many others.” The actual language of the bill, S.B. 374, refers rather confusingly to “a semiautomatic centerfire rifle that does not have a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept no more than 10 rounds.” The NRA argues that the bill’s definition of a fixed magazine—”an ammunition feeding device contained in, or permanently attached to, a firearm in such a manner that the device cannot be removed without disassembly of the firearm action”—is ambiguous, since “‘disassembly of the firearm action’ is undefined and nobody (least of all the legislators who voted for it) knows what it means, or for that matter even what a firearm ‘action’ actually is.” But the intended target seems to be any rifle with a detachable magazine that fires rounds of a caliber bigger than .22 (generally the upper limit these days for cheaper, flimsier rimfire cartridges). Hence Fox News says the bill “exempts .22-caliber rim fire rifles,” although the legislation does not directly address caliber.
The author, Jacob Sullum, isn’t kidding. Read the sentence lifted directly out of the bill.
A semiautomatic centerfire rifle that does not have a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept no more than 10 rounds.
They’ve put a double-negative into the sentence. What this sentence means is anyone’s guess, and yours is as good as mine. Farther into the bill, they’ve outlawed pistol grips on shotguns.
But back to the issue of hunting rifles, presumably (since the bill is a mass of confusion and no one knows for sure), bolt action rifles are “assault weapons” if they have a detachable magazine (and some do).
Hey. No one said totalitarians were smart people. They’re just control freaks.