Vox: You Know, An Assault Weapons Ban Doesn’t Solve The Problem, But Let’s Do It Anyhow

It’s not often one will get common sense from Vox, but German Lopez gives it a shot, which is actually a leadup to something else

Why an assault weapons ban can’t address America’s gun problem

The assault weapons ban is one of the top policy proposals from March for Our Lives and other gun control advocates. But it’s also one of the gun control measures with the least supportive evidence behind it.

The typical argument for the ban: Weapons of war have no place in American communities. These high-velocity, high-capacity weapons are particularly deadly, even more so than other semiautomatic firearms such as handguns. They have also been used disproportionately in mass shootings. And they aren’t needed for hunting or self-defense. So they should be banned altogether.

All these claims have a certain intuitive sense behind them. What they don’t have, however, is a whole lot of empirical evidence, based on my discussions with gun policy experts and researchers. Studies on assault weapons bans have generally ranged from inconclusive to unfavorable toward a ban.

That doesn’t mean an assault weapons ban would have absolutely no effect. Consider the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas. In that case, the gunman parked himself on the 32nd floor of a hotel near a country music concert and fired indiscriminately into the crowd with assault weapons — which were also retooled with bump stocks to mimic the firepower of machine guns. He killed 58 people and injured hundreds.

Bump stock or not, it stands to reason that the shooting would have been much less lethal if the shooter didn’t use an assault weapon and used, say, a more conventional handgun instead. The bullets would have had shorter range, and those that hit would have had lower velocity and therefore caused less damage. In a shooting with such a high casualty count, that could’ve translated to potentially hundreds of injuries averted — although the shooter also could have changed his approach without access to assault weapons.

Except, the nutjob simply would have used a different type of rifle on the Approved List, such as above. Same caliber, same rate of fire, same ability to take a large capacity magazine. Heck, he might have chosen a rifle that fires a larger round instead, which would have been more lethal.

Still, it’s worth putting this in context: This kind of violence is already relatively infrequent. Mass shooting deaths make up less than 4 percent of gun homicides in the US, while shootings with rifles, including assault weapons, make up less than 3 percent. So pushing assault weapons out of circulation wouldn’t have a big impact on overall gun violence in America, even if it has an outsize impact on some particularly awful tragedies.

The most cited review of the evidence is a 2013 analysis by researcher Christopher Koper on the effect of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban, which lawmakers let expire in 2004.

The analysis concluded, “The ban did not appear to affect gun crime during the time it was in effect, but some evidence suggests it may have modestly reduced gunshot victimizations had it remained in place for a longer period.”

German spends quite a bit of time on why the previous ban did not work, and a new one probably wouldn’t work, either, which, while a good analysis, misses the same notion that nutters would simply use one of the approved rifles. Or handguns for close up work. It’s well worth the read in full.

The 1994 ban was also attached to a ban on high-capacity magazines that carried more than 10 rounds, which Koper suggested was arguably the law’s “most important provision.”

So, that’s an attempt to ban more guns. Huh. And some of the discussion on “assault weapons” seems to be aimed at “well, too many were left on the streets, so, we have to Do Something about them”, which is a veiled threat to do confiscations and buy-backs.

To this end, universal background checks — which are included in the March for Our Lives plan — could help. The RAND report, for one, found evidence that background checks are linked to a reduction in firearm homicides and suicides.

It didn’t work for this guy in Colorado. The system failed. As it failed in the Parkland school shooting, and many others, where Government failed to do their job. Look at the thousands that the Air Force failed to submit to the NICS database.

There are other measures not included in the March for Our Lives plan that experts argue could do more to mitigate gun violence. Webster said that gun licensing and permitting schemes — which are a bit like the process of getting a driver’s license, except much more rigorous — are at the top of his list of plausible policy preferences.

After the permit-to-purchase requirement, Webster said states could also do more to raise standards for who can legally own a gun: increase minimum age requirements, extend how long people are barred from buying a firearm after certain offenses and restraining orders, add more offenses to the list of disqualifiers, and so on. And he said lawmakers could enact stricter concealed carry policies.

All of this is designed to allow the Government to deny people their Constitutional Right who otherwise would have been approved and should be approved. I think we can all agree that certain people should be denied, even for a temporary time. Someone who is making credible threats should be denied, at least for a period of time, should they not? But, what level of threats? Gun grabbers have stated that they would use this kind of thing to inflate who would be denied for minor things. Busted for petty theft? Denied. Said mean things on social media? Denied. Angry with the officer who gave you a speeding ticket? Hey, we know you have 2 guns, one a Walther P99 and a Ruger Mini-14, per our licensing and permitting schemes, so, we need to come by your house and pick them up. We’ll put it in front of a judge for a ruling in a few years.

Does that sound like a conspiracy theory? This is what the gun grabbing extremists say they want to do. The majority of law abiding gun owners would be fine with certain types of laws that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals and nutjobs who could use guns criminally. But, we know that what is being proposed are just steps to more and more disarming of law abiding citizens.

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One Response to “Vox: You Know, An Assault Weapons Ban Doesn’t Solve The Problem, But Let’s Do It Anyhow”

  1. Hoss says:

    You never give an inch to the left because they always want a mile, or eventually will. On anything.

    My dad just ordered the Mossberg 590M (I have one of the older 590s) with the 20 round magazine. Democrats would lose control of their bowels if they saw that baby in action.

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