President Joe Biden loves him some assault weapon ban. He ran on his having spearheaded the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban and his promise to bring it back.
To be sure, his plan is popular with anti-gunners throughout the nation. Even many who wouldn’t think of themselves as “anti-gun” support such a measure. After all, doesn’t the media point out how we had a ban every time some maniac shoots up somewhere with an AR-15? How can they not support it?
Well, maybe because it didn’t work?
So, as heartbreaking as high-profile mass shootings with these weapons may be, the facts simply don’t support the notion that banning vaguely defined “assault weapons” will reduce gun violence. And we don’t actually have to speculate. Thanks in part to work Biden himself did as a senator, we had a ban on “assault weapons” in place from 1994 to 2004.
It didn’t work.
Subsequent research and policy analyses almost unanimously found that it had no significant public safety impact.
For example, criminologists from Northeastern University concluded that the 1994 ban had “virtually no effect.” Their research isn’t an outlier. A comprehensive review of available research by the Rand Corporation found “no qualifying studies” showing that banning assault weapons reduced mass shootings or violent crime.
Even an analysis by the liberal outlet Vox admitted that there’s “not much empirical weight behind” assault weapon bans and that “studies on assault weapons bans have generally ranged from inconclusive to unfavorable toward a ban.”
Writer Brad Polumbo notes that only 2.6 percent of all homicides are carried out with rifles in general, which means an assault weapon ban wouldn’t have any real impact on crime in the first place.
He’s right, of course.
The truth of the matter is that the effort to ban AR-15 and similar weapons has little to do with actual safety and everything to do with the perception of safety. After all, as noted, most homicides are carried out with handguns, not rifles. Even then so-called assault weapons are hardly the totality of rifles in the United States.
Yet even with mass shootings, the AR-15 is hardly the most common choice. Since1982, 143 handguns have been used in mass shootings, compared to just 56 rifles. Among those is the deadliest school shooting in American history, Virginia Tech, with a body count that Newtown and Parkland couldn’t compare to despite the killers using the evil AR-15.
As such, there’s really no reason to believe a new assault weapon ban would accomplish anything. Especially, as Polumbo notes, it didn’t do anything the last time.
Of course, this time they plan on making it more expansive, making it so weapons can have fewer of the “evil features” that determine if they’re an assault weapon or not. It won’t make any difference in the long run. It never did.
Instead, it’ll just infringe on our rights as law-abiding citizens and even cost some people their lives because they don’t have the best tools possible with which to defend themselves. But hey, screw those folks, Democrats have to get re-elected, right?