For John, BLUF: Our Legislators sometimes do some foolish things trying to do the right thing. Nothing to see here; just move along.
For those of you worried about Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), here is an article on the current US Strategy for Countering WMD.
Of particular interest to me is this paragraph:
Now I’ll bet that laypersons reading this article would be somewhat surprised. Surely everyone understands WMD as to be nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons? Actually, not so, not even within the DoD. Often, when people talk about WMD, they mean nuclear and not chemical and biological weapons. With the concern over chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism, people have added toxic industrial hazards, radiological material, high-yield explosives, and natural endemic diseases to the mix. This larger definition has overly complicated policy and strategy, as well as acquisition efforts, as well-meaning defense programs try to either develop a single defense system to address a wider range of threat agents, or simply ignore Cold War chemical and biological warfare agents to support other priorities, such as a global health security agenda.If you go to the linked article in the quote above you will find that Dr. W. Seth Carus of the National Defense University has found that our current laws include as "Weapons of Mass Destruction" destructive devices including bombs, grenades, mines, or any gun with a barrel larger than one-half inch.
So, if someone pulls out their derringer and shoots someone else in a place that allows Federal prosecution, that prosecution can be for use of a "weapon of mass destruction". Really? This only serves to bring the law and the prosecutors into disrepute.
If everything is a weapon of mass destruction then nothing is. There is no comparison between an M-67 Hand Grenade and a B-83 Nuclear Weapon— 6.5 ounces of Composition B explosive vs the equivalent of 1.2 megatons of TNT (megatons, as in million tons).
Regards — Cliff