Sen. Chuck Schumer has never been a friend to gun owners, even if he’s sort of almost made some moves we might not hate. However, he’s got a much longer history of backing things like gun control.
And nothing has really changed. He’s supported every anti-gun measure that’s popped up in the Senate and he’s still doing it.
In fact, now he says that he’s ready to bring the new assault weapon ban bill to a vote.
This week, I will put the Assault Weapons Ban on the Senate floor.
After I led the passage of the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban 30 years ago, America saw a decrease in mass shootings and gun deaths.
We must stand with the American people and against the gun lobby.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 5, 2023
Now, there are two questions this tweet brings up for me. The first is whether he can win a vote and the second is whether the last one did what he claimed.
Can an “assault weapon” ban pass and become law?
That’s the short answer, but it’s also the accurate one.
You see, Schumer and his fellow Democrats may have a majority in the Senate, but they aren’t filibuster-proof. Considering what’s long happened with anti-gun legislation in that chamber, I expect him to bring it to a vote and the filibuster to effectively kill it in that chamber.
Yet even if I’m wrong there, it would still have to go to the GOP-controlled House where there’s even less chance of it passing. I don’t even think it would get a vote in the House, but if it did, I’d expect to see it fail there as well.
So no, I don’t actually see this one becoming law.
But did it work the last time around?
A lot of experts agree that the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban didn’t reduce “gun deaths” in any appreciable way. The homicide rate was declining before the ban’s passage and continued to decline well after the law sunset.
This is despite more AR-15s and similar rifles being bought than before there was an effort to ban them. If a ban is going to have an impact, it would have to also show a marked increase after the ban goes away. That simply didn’t happen.
As for mass shootings, there might have been fewer than we have today, but that’s a completely different thing. Most mass shooters use handguns, for one thing. For another, we had fewer mass shootings before the ban that we seem to see today.
Mother Jones, for example, has a database of mass shootings going back to 1982. This is actually a pretty good database because they don’t count shootings with fewer than three fatalities, which is what most people think of when they think of when they hear the term “mass shooting.”
From 1982 until 1994, they counted 18 mass shootings. They have 24 just since the beginning of 2022. In both those blocks, though, these weapons are available. That suggests that there’s something else going on.
Oh, and 16 occurred during the 10 years the ban was in effect. That includes the notorious Columbine killings, which many argue sparked the modern mass shooting era.
The frequency of mass shootings has increased, but that rate if increase doesn’t look to have been inhibited in the least during the era of the assault weapon ban Schumer is bragging about here.
So, in short, they did nothing so far as anyone could possibly tell. Mass shootings actually increased in frequency during the ban and have, unfortunately, continued to increase in frequency.
But Schumer also knows that the mainstream media isn’t going to fact-check him. Schumer knows he can claim whatever he wants about guns and the folks at the New York Times and NBC aren’t going to challenge him in the least.