Anytime a modern sporting rifle is used in a shooting, we fully expect to hear calls for an assault weapon ban. Never mind whether the shooting could have been carried out with a different firearm. No, what matters is focusing on the tool, not the tool using it.
As such, there will be much debate in the coming weeks and months.
Yet as Forbes notes, there’s not a good chance of that happening.
In his first public comments on gun violence in the wake of the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, President Joe Biden this week questioned the need for high-capacity assault weapons, including the high-power rifle used in the deadly massacre that left 18 people dead, though Democrats’ efforts to ban assault weapons and enact other gun control measures seem all but certain to continue falling flat in the face of heavy GOP pushback.
Biden called on congressional Republicans to “fulfill their obligation to keep Americans safe” in a Saturday post on X, formerly known as Twitter, vowing to “continue doing everything in my power to end this gun violence epidemic.”
Speaking at a campaign fundraiser Friday night, Biden also asked, “who the hell needs an assault weapon that can hold, in some cases, up to 100 rounds?” NBC News reported, appearing to reiterate his calls for an assault weapons ban.
Despite the calls for a ban, the effort faces heavy pushback from congressional Republicans and gun advocacy groups, including the National Rifle Association, a major lobbying organization strongly opposed to sweeping gun control legislation, while some right-wing lawmakers have argued instead for legislation to curb mental health issues and to limit gun access to people deemed dangerous.
At the end of the day, this is just the same song and dance we’ve seen repeated over and over again.
Yet we also see mass shootings ebb and flow despite the gun laws on the books. In fact, we’ve seen it enough to recognize there’s more at work here than just the availability of firearms such as so-called assault weapons.
And, as is my way, I also feel like I need to remind folks that Virginia Tech is still one of the deadliest mass shootings we’ve seen on American soil and the gunman there used a couple of handguns. He didn’t have an AR-15 or anything like that.
But Forbes is right. It’s unlikely to happen, in part because the push comes so often that no one is particularly moved by it anymore. We’ve seen Biden call for assault weapon bans when such a weapon wasn’t even used, so we’re not really that surprised when he reissues his monthly call for a ban.
Plus, as I’ve noted, there’s no evidence that this wouldn’t have happened even if there had been an assault weapon ban in place.
Forbes does state that there was a ban in place for a decade, from 1994 to 2004, but what they don’t get is that AR-15s and similar rifles were still pretty easy to get. They simply removed some features and people bought them like crazy.
In fact, before the ban, so-called assault weapons weren’t particularly popular with gun owners. The ban made them popular. You’re deluding yourself if you can’t see a new ban making them even more popular than before.
But anti-gunners are going to anti-gun, and so-called assault weapons are simply what’s next for their efforts.