View Full Version : With the Assault Weapons Ban nearly over...

05-06-2004, 12:12 PM
The 'Assault Weapons' Ban Is Dead
by John R. Lott, Jr.
by John R. Lott, Jr.

The so-called "assault-weapons ban," a hallmark of the gun-control movement, is dead. After a decade of claiming that the ban is crucial to reducing crime and protecting police, gun-control organizations have suddenly morphed into Gilda Radner's old Saturday Night Live character, Roseanne Rosanna-Dana, saying "never mind."

An example? Take the statements made recently on National Public Radio by a representative of the Violence Policy Center. NPR described the VPC as "one of the more aggressive gun groups in Washington." Yet the VPC's representative claimed: "If the existing assault-weapons ban expires, I personally do not believe it will make one whit of difference one way or another in terms of our objective, which is reducing death and injury and getting a particularly lethal class of firearms off the streets. So if it doesn't pass, it doesn't pass."

The NPR reporter noted: "[the Violence Policy Center's representative] says that's all the [assault-weapons ban] brought about, minor changes in appearance that didn't alter the function of these weapons."

These are "aggressive" gun controllers? These are points one expects to hear them from the NRA. True, there is not a single academic study showing that either the state or federal bans have reduced violent crime. Even research funded by the Justice Department under the Clinton administration concluded merely that the ban's "impact on gun violence has been uncertain."

And it is also true that the ban arbitrarily outlaws some guns based on brand name or cosmetic features such as whether a rifle has two or more of the following: a bayonet mount, a pistol grip, a folding stock, or a threaded muzzle. These were not machine guns: The federal assault-weapons ban applied to semi-automatics that fire one bullet per pull of the trigger. Not only could someone buy some other semi-automatic gun that wasn't banned that fired the same bullets, with the same rapidity and with the same damage, but even the banned guns could be sold under a different name or after, say, the bayonet mount was removed.

Yet, one almost faints when one now hears gun-control groups make these same points. Previously the VPC claimed that it was a "myth" that "assault weapons merely look different. The NRA and the gun industry today portray assault weapons as misunderstood ugly ducklings, no different from other semi-automatic guns. But while the actions, or internal mechanisms, of all semi-automatic guns are similar, the actions of assault weapons are part of a broader design package. The 'ugly' looks of the TEC-9, AR-15, AK-47 and similar guns reflect this package of features designed to kill people efficiently."

Other hysterical assertions were that "many semi-automatic assault weapons can be, and often are, easily converted to automatic fire with modest tools and skill" or described these cosmetic features as "lethal design features."

So why the conversion? The simple reason is that gun-control groups' credibility is on the line. A year from now, it will be obvious to everyone that all the horror stories about banning what have been labeled "assault weapons" were wrong.

Eliminating the ban will not produce an upward surge in crime. There will be no upward surge in police killings. Gun controllers have a problem: It will be much harder for legislators and the press to take gun-control groups' apocalyptic claims seriously after they fail to materialize on such a high-profile issue.

It is not just the gun-control groups who have mischaracterized the issue. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry supports extending the ban because, "When I go out there and hunt, I'm going out there with a 12-gauge shotgun, not an assault weapon." Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) has said that allowing the ban to expire will "inevitably lead to a rise in gun crimes." Ratcheting up the fear factor to an entirely new level, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) says the ban is one of "the most effective measures against terrorism that we have."

Despite gun-control organizations' finally agreeing that the semi-automatic gun ban now doesn't matter, too much has been made of the importance of this legislation for too many years. Somehow, the obvious failure of the semi-automatic-gun ban will be a fitting epitaph for one of the gun-control movement's hallmark pieces of legislation. It would have been nice if gun-control organizations had been honest and told us all of this a decade ago.

March 29, 2004

John Lott [send him mail], a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of The Bias Against Guns (Regnery 2003).

Copyright 2004 John Lott

05-06-2004, 12:23 PM
Good article, I am very familiar with the gun debate. It is one of the issues I feel most strongly about and have since I was 18 years old. John Lott is often scrutinized but IMO that is only because he cuts through the BS and reports on the truth. I appreciate his work. The ban was a joke from the minute it was thought up. Its claimed intent was obvious to not work to anyone with half a brain, the problem is the creators and signers *cough* Clinton *cough* lack even that.

05-06-2004, 02:17 PM
We'll have to wait and see what happens. The current ban is set to expire on Sept. 13.

GWB has publicly stated that he supports extending the ban, and a majority of lawmakers are agree. The recent bill that was voted down failed only because the Dems got too greedy, and tried to tack on mandatory triggerlocks and close the "gun show" loophole.

The bill, as you probably are aware, limited liability for gun manufacturers in lawsuits, and the extension of the assault weapon ban was tacked on after the fact.

I am pretty sure it would have passed, and GW would have signed it, if it was kept to this. The triggerguards and gun show issues put it over the top with the Reps, IMO.

And remember, it was Bush senior who first banned the importation and sale of assault weapons not made in the US. Clinton only extended the ban to include domestic made weapons.

If I remember correctly, the only assault rifle being made in the US at that time was the AR-15, which Colt subsequently stopped domestic production and sent it overseas. (to FN, Belgium) So when Clinton signed the CG act of 1994, there were no domestically manufactured assault rifles anyway, except for a very few custom AR replicas, which were very expensive anyway. The 1994 law expanded the ban to include extended magazines also.

It was Bush Sr. who took the AK's, Uzi's, Sig 550's, etc. away, not Clinton.

Having said all this, I hope the ban is not extended. I have always opposed any encroachment on the 2nd Amendment, and I thought Bush senior sold us down the river when the first ban was made into law. I expected that from the Dems, but not Bush.

But there is still time between now and Sept. for Congress to pass an extension of the 94 law, so I'm not celebrating just yet.


05-06-2004, 05:38 PM
hey Nightstalker,

Do you know where I can get some nice banana clips so I can go out and spray some bullets at Bambi??? hehehe.... /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Cueless Joey
05-06-2004, 07:16 PM
I cannot believe the criminals have not surendered their "assault rifles". Can't they just use sawed-off shotguns? Of Friendly Rifles?
I'm really glad too those evil 15 round magazines have been banned in California. Now, the criminals can just carry ten round magazines unless they buy those 15 round mags from NAFTA coutries exporting them.
Thank God we also had those evil Black Talons banned. Those are nasty rounds. They actually tear out flesh
I'm also happy there are people like Mrs Brady who know her priorities. Her husband was shot by a whacko so she's going after guns. After all, going after Trial Lawyers of America who keep criminals on the streets is not quite as fruitful.
Oh, I hope all of us would support Dianne Feinstein and Bill Clinton's Community Rehab plan for pedophiles. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

05-07-2004, 07:19 AM
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif