By Kevin D. Williamson

On the cover of the New York Daily News was a picture of an American Marine wearing battle regalia in Iraq. The headline over it read: “No civilian should own this gun.” The editors of the Daily News, thinking themselves clever, asked: “Hey, NRA: This Marine served in Iraq and says assault rifles should be banned. Does that make him a gun-grabbing commie, too?”

This is the sort of thing that would end several careers at a self-respecting publication. The New York Daily News apparently intends to be something else.

Let’s begin with the obvious. The Marine on the cover, who is U.S. Representative Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts Democrat, is in the photo holding what is, unless my eyes deceive me, an M-4 carbine, which would make sense inasmuch as that rifle is the weapon generally issued to Marines serving in Iraq. No civilian should own this gun? We could argue about that. What we cannot argue about is this: No civilian can own that rifle under current law. The sale of new fully automatic weapons has been generally prohibited for 30 years, meaning that the particular weapon Representative Moulton is holding, which was first produced in 1988, has literally never for a second been for sale to the civilian market in the United States.

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