Following up on my previous post on this subject, which is at …
… John R. Lott, Jr., in a January 17th Wall Street Journal article, provided an excellent review of the ineffectiveness of the so-called “assault weapons” ban of 1994:
The long and the short of it is, that “ban” was worthless in accomplishing its supposed purpose. Lott cites a 2004 study which concluded, “”we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence.”
Commenting on current proposals by President Obama and Senator Diane Feinstein to once again ban “assault weapons”, Lott echoes a point I made in my earlier blog post linked above, stating, “… they continue to mislabel the weapons they seek to ban.”
As I said in that earlier post, there really is no such thing as an “assault weapon” and those weapons likely to be “banned” by any new legislation are not truly “military-style” weapons at all. As Lott says, no self-respecting military would ever go into combat using the semi-automatic weapons available for sale to civilians.
“Assault weapons” were defined in the 1994 legislation based on appearance, rather than function. Any weapon that does not require reloading after each shot is a “semi-automatic” weapon — which really means nothing more or less than that one pull of the trigger fires one bullet. Which pretty much means every modern firearm, pistol, rifle or shotgun.
Unfortunately, neither the executive orders already signed by Obama nor whatever new “assault weapons” ban is ultimately enacted are likely to accomplish the desired goal of reducing or eliminating incidents of mass murder or even reduction of the murder rate in the US.
The reason, of course, is that neither the number of guns nor their accessibility to law-abiding citizens is the underlying cause of murderous incidents (the two most common motivators being mental illness and simple revenge). Stricter gun control addresses neither of those motivators, nor any of the other social factors which often play into handgun murders (such as gang violence, drug turf wars, armed robberies and other possession/use of firearms by criminals).
Dealing with gun related murders by enacting an “assault weapons” ban or otherwise imposing stricter gun control laws is analogous to treating a gunshot wound by taping a band-aid across the entry point and ignoring the internal damage caused by the bullet.