The Corner

Rep. Jan Schakowsky Uses the Paris Attacks to Embarrass Herself on Guns

Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski highlights yet another Democratic lawmaker who has no idea what she’s talking about on guns:

A Democratic congresswoman said this week that the terrorist attack in Paris, France should be a wake up call for the United States that firearms are too loosely available for purchase.

“No, uh, obviously it is frightening for every western country, but I do want to remind you, before we killed a jihadist named Awlaki, he did a video that said to Americans, ‘join the jihad and get guns, because it’s so easy in the United States of America to get a weapon,’” Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky said on SiriusXM radio this week.

“And that ought to be a chilling reminder because, aside from blowing themselves up, which is uh, of course, not about small weapons,” she continued. “These people used the kinds of weapons that are still available in the United States of America. And I think it ought cause us to have another consideration of sensible gun safety laws.”

The only problem with this? It isn’t true. It is not “so easy” to get automatic weapons in the United States. In fact, it’s pretty difficult. As Kaczynski points out:

According to reports, ISIS members used fully automatic weapons in the attack is Paris. It is legal to own fully automatic weapons in the United States, but there a tight regulations.

Those regulations, per the Firearm Blog:

To buy a machine gun under the 1934 NFA, an individual needs to submit the following (the procedure remains unchanged even today):

  • Pay a tax of $200, which in 1934 was worth over $3,500
  • Fill out a lengthy application to register your gun with the federal government
  • Submit photographs
  • Submit passport photos
  • Get your chief law enforcement official to sign your application
  • Wait for the results of your background check to come back

A violation of the national firearms act results in a felony punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison, a $100,000 fine, and forfeiture of the individual’s right to own or possess firearms in the future.

Moreover, because the 1986 Hughes Amendment made it illegal for non-dealers to own automatic weapons that were manufactured after May 19th 1986, the cost of the guns Schakowsky fears is astronomical. You want an AK-47 of the sort used in Paris? You’re looking at spending at least $10,000.

Alternatively, of course, you could buy one on the European black market for $400. But that wouldn’t help Schakowsky’s horrible misguided little crusade now would it?


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