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Top 10 Reasons The Clinton Gun Ban Was Allowed To Expire

Friday, September 10, 2004

The federal "assault weapon" ban championed by Bill Clinton expired September 13, 2004. Here are the top 10 reasons why it should never have been imposed in the first place.

Number 10: The ban was never intended to reduce crime.

In 1988, an anti-gun group invented "assault weapons" as a "new issue" to "reinvigorate the [defunct] handgun restriction lobby." Now, the "issue" is being used to pave the way for bans on other guns. Sens. John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and Dianne Feinstein co-sponsored S.1431, a bill to ban--as "assault weapons"--every semi-automatic shotgun and semi-automatic detachable-magazine rifle, the majority of which are widely used by sportsmen. Another provision in the bill would have banned semi-automatic rifles and shotguns designed for defensive purposes. In some states, anti-gunners now propose banning pump-action rifles and shotguns as "assault weapons."

Number 9: The shape of a gun's grip is not a reason to ban it.

Modern rifle and shotgun grips are shaped as they are for the same reason that hammers, scissors, computer mouses, and other products are made with contours and curves--to conform to the shape of a person's hand and wrist. All pistols have "pistol grips," after all, and no one claims that they should be banned because of the grips' shape. Custom-made guns have had stocks tailored to the physiques of their owners for centuries.

Number 8: The claim that the guns are "high-powered" is a lie.

Rifles used for hunting dangerous and other large game are quite powerful, for good reason. However, so called "assault weapons" are much less powerful than many rifles used for hunting.

Number 7: The guns are not machine guns or "weapons of war."

Machine guns have been heavily restricted since 1934. The "assault weapon" ban dealt instead with semi automatic firearms, which fire only one shot when the trigger is pulled. They do not "spray-fire" multiple rounds. They are not used by military forces. For the record, though, throughout history Americans have owned the same firearms the military has used.

Number 6: Some of the guns are widely used for sports and hunting.

The Colt AR-15 and Springfield M1A are the center-fire rifles most often used for marksmanship competitions in America. The utility of a rifle for hunting is largely a question of the ammunition it uses, and many banned rifles use hunting-caliber ammunition.

Number 5: Gun control supporters lie about police officers.

The radical Violence Policy Center's (VPC) claim concerning the percentage of police officers killed with "assault weapons" is false. VPC inflates its count of such crimes by deceitfully counting guns not defined as "assault weapons" under federal law.

Number 4: The ban had no effect on crime.

The BATFE says it "can in no way vouch for the validity" of Brady Campaign's claim that the ban was responsible for violent crime's decline. Even the VPC says "you can't argue with a straight face that the ban has been effective," and scoffs at Brady's attempts to prevent it from expiring.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied the "assault weapon" ban and other gun control schemes, and found "insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence."

Number 3: The guns were never criminals' "weapon of choice."

A recent study directed and approved by the National Institute of Justice, state police reports, local police department reports, state Department of Justice reports, federal Department of Justice felon surveys and crime victim surveys, and a Congressional Research Service report show that the guns have never been used in more than about 1-2% of violent crime. The study Congress required of the ban found, "the banned weapons and magazines were never used in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders." More than 20 times as many murders have been committed each year with knives, bare hands or clubs. The fact is that firearms of all types are used in only one out of four violent crimes.

Number 2: More guns equal less crime.

Violent crime in the U.S. has declined 12 straight years, 35% overall, and is at a 27-year low. Murder rates are the lowest they have been since the mid-1960s. At the same time, the number of privately-owned firearms--including "assault weapons"--rises by 5 million a year. There are more Right-to-Carry states (38) than ever. Many states have passed laws eliminating local gun control ordinances, and many states' waiting periods and purchase permit requirements have been eliminated in favor of the National Instant Check.

Number 1: The ban interfered with the right of self-defense.

It banned guns and magazines that are useful for defensive purposes. The Brady Campaign says self-defense is "not a federally guaranteed constitutional right" and "the only reason for guns in civilian hands is for sporting purposes." However, the U.S. Constitution, the constitutions of 44 states, and the overwhelming majority of Americans recognize the right to use firearms to defend themselves and their families.

Clinton gun ban supporters argue that because criminals and madmen use these firearms to commit some crimes, honest citizens must surrender them. Banning guns because criminals use them is telling the law-abiding that their rights and liberties depend not on their own conduct but on the behavior of the lawless. It tells honest citizens that they have only such rights and liberties as criminals will allow.

For more information about the Clinton Gun Ban, please visit www.ClintonGunBan.com

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.