Gov. Quinn wants to outlaw the sale and possession of "assault weapons," insisting that "there is no place in Illinois for weapons designed to fire rapidly at human targets at close range." He doesn't mention that even if his ban were to pass, there would be plenty of other legal firearms that can be used to fire rapidly at human targets at close range -- or long range, for that matter.
Assault weapons are just ordinary guns dressed up to look scary. Quinn is making a mistake to buy the ruse.
Jesse Jackson claims that the federal assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004, reduced the number of these guns used in crimes. In Miami, he says, they were implicated in 4 percent of murders in 2004, but today, the figure is 21 percent.
What Jackson omits is that the number of murders in Miami is virtually unchanged -- from 69 in 2004 to 68 in 2011. Maybe that's because guns not covered by the ban are just as capable and lethal as those that were. If you ban red cars, fewer people will die in red cars. Just don't expect overall highway fatalities to change.
If allowing these guns stimulated more killing, the national murder rate wouldn't have declined by 13 percent after the ban expired. But that's what happened.
Prohibiting "assault weapons" is a pointless gesture. Those who propose a ban are only proving they don't understand basic facts about guns and violence or don't care.