The issue of “Assault Weapons Bans” certainly are contentious.
I understand the Theory behind then, in terms of the Security Dilemma
when addressing arms control, even when dealing with civilian populations within a country (and the different “Factions” within those populations that can be at odds: The General Populations
(being the normal “Law-Abiding” population who are not “Political Activists” of any kind), the Politically Active Population
(Those who hold to certain beliefs or ideologies more closely than the General Population, and to whom realizing that ideology as the model for Society is their primary concern), Social Subcultures/Populations
(these are people whose primary identification has to do with some Hobby, or Activity that will be either their primary concern, or something that is especially salient to their lives: Music, Sports, Religion, etc.), Criminal/Lawless Population
(Rather self-explanatory. It is important to remember that not all of the members of this population within a Country/Nation* will have had some sort of encounter with Law Enforcement, or the Justice System), Law Enforcement
(Local, State, Federal; sometimes in contention, sometimes cooperative), Government
(Both the elected Representatives and the Bureacracy/Civil Service), Military
, and so on... ). And specific to the what is known as the Security Dilemma
Is what is known as the Spiral Model
Even though most people tend to think of things like “Arms Control” purely in terms of things like Strategic Weapons
, and the various forms they appear: Nuclear Weapons, ICBMs, IRBM, Cruise Missiles, Nuclear Submarines (whether Attack, Ballistic Missile, Guided Missile, or some other role), Aircraft Carriers and Navies as a whole..... These principles apply also at the level of Intra-National “Arms Control
,” which is what an “Assault Weapon Ban: is, along with things like the Classification of things like Class III, NFA, Transferable Machine Guns, Short-Barreled Rifles, Suppressors/Silencers, Destructive Devices, etc. (or even the ownership of Tanks, or even Warships — Did you know that you can own a Nuclear Submarine as a private Citizen? The restrictions surrounding doing so make such a thing onerous for even someone like Jeff Bezos, or Bill Gates).
That is, of course, the Proximal Theory
behind such bans. This is usually communicated to the public as “Making it more difficult to commit acts of violence that inflect mass casualties.”
And they would be correct in making that assumption. That is one of the effects of “banning” such weapons. It creates a situation called “Use it and Lose it
They know that criminals are not going to abide by the Law. That is sort of the nature of “Being a Criminal
,” you “Don’t obey the law.
” in fact, that is the Definition of “Being a Criminal.”
So, they create a situation where the criminals cannot use such a weapon without losing the weapon, and thus taking it out of circulation: A process no different than Strategic Arms Treaties. Strategic Arms Limitations/Controls allow States to “Agree” upon what is-and-isn’t “allowed” for each country. Some of the countries will “Cheat,” keeping stockpiles of the “Prohibited Arms.” But in doing so they become unable to regularly train in the use of such Arms, and they run the risk of being “caught” (like any criminal), and punished/sanctioned for their violation. This has historically “worked” to reduce the actual amount of violence, and the risks associated with stockpiles of dangerous weapons being built-up.
But... Is how the State of California’s implementation of this Theory something that is sustainable? The question of “Legality” seems to still be in debate.
And it does seem that there are ways of producing the same effect (Reducing the risk associated with the Spiral Model
by limiting access to a class of weapons) without having to resort to an outright ban.
Realistically... We do as a society need to examine the obsession that much of the population has with firearms, especially as a defense against something they can’t defend against (A Totalitarian Government with access to Strategic Weapons, and Logistical Control). Tactical Weapons cannot achieve Strategic Goals. It requires Strategic Weapons, or Strategic Weapons Systems to do this. It requires what is known as Democratization of Force
; a thing that has not existed for the Developed/First-World since roughly 1880. Tactical Weapons (Firearms) can
protect you from other Tactical Weapons (Firearms). For which in the USA has a fairly respectable concern given how far Right-Wing Radicalism has pushed what is now around 30% of our population into believing that they must “kill their enemies,” which they have identified as anyone even moderately to their political-left (to say nothing of their current opposition to any form of Democracy, whatsoever, which they have correctly identified as producing outcomes they do not approve of, given the shrinking base of the Political-Right).
But for the California Assault Weapons Ban. It seems to be an overreaction by a government to an overreaction by the population that had taken to “hoarding weapons” (this is the Inverse of the Spiral Model
I would hope that CA can take another look at this ban when we again have a more stable government, Nationally, and where the various sources of Radicalization have been confronted a bit more robustly.
But I think a more realistic approach would be to look at what can be “saved” in preventing such Bans from extending to other categories of weapons as well.