Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Saving the Champagne: Anti-Gunners Not Celebrating AWB Anniversary

Friday, September 19, 2014

Last weekend marked the 10-year anniversary of the federal “assault weapon” and “large” magazine bans’ expiration. True to form, gun control supporters reacted by mischaracterizing what the bans did and by attempting to conceal their plans for future restrictions. For those keeping track, the bans were imposed on September 13, 1994, and expired 10 years later.

Trying to save face, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who sponsored the bans, issued a press release claiming that they had “worked.” However, her claim is based upon mischaracterizations of BATFE firearm tracing data and the congressionally-mandated study of the bans. She also lied about her legislative intentions, claiming she’s interested only in “reinstating” the bans when her current legislation would instead expand the bans to include all semi-automatic shotguns and detachable-magazine semi-automatic rifles and tighten restrictions on magazines. (See NRA-ILA S. 150 Fact Sheet.) Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) has introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, the anti-gun Center for American Progress observed the anniversary by proposing that gun control supporters stop trying to ban the guns outright, and instead push for a law requiring a permit to possess them, mandatory reporting of all interstate firearm sales, and several other restrictions. Just as “universal check” legislation is designed to lay the groundwork for firearm registration, the Center’s permit scheme would provide the federal government with a list of everyone who owns an “assault weapon,” which under Feinstein’s new bill would include tens of millions of Americans.

Surprisingly, the New York Times said that Feinstein’s bans had little or no effect on crime, but the newspaper didn’t fully understand why. Here, for the benefit of the Times and others in the same boat, are five of the reasons:

1. Unless gun control supporters are saying that increasing “assault weapon” ownership reduces crime, they can’t say that Feinstein’s gun ban reduced crime. That’s because Americans bought more “assault weapons” during the 10 years the gun ban was in effect, than during the previous 10 years. For example, Americans bought more than 730,000 AR-15s during the 10 years 1995-2004, almost double the figure for the preceding 10 years. 

And here’s why. Feinstein’s “ban” didn’t ban any guns, it merely banned installing various external attachments on certain guns. This is why the rabidly anti-gun Violence Policy Center called the ban “eviscerated” and a “charade” and a “fictional ban” (VPC flyer on file with NRA-ILA), and why it said “You can’t argue with a straight face that the ban has been effective” (R. Montgomery, “Clock ticking on assault gun ban: Flaws put extension in doubt,” Kansas City Star, May 2, 2004, p. A1).

For example, Feinstein’s “ban” defined a semi-automatic, detachable-magazine rifle as an “assault weapon” only if it had two or more external features from a list included in the law. Manufacturers complied with the ban by producing AR-15s with only one of the features, the grip, ironically, the feature that gun control supporters most despise.



2. Carrying the previous point a step further, since the “ban” expired, ownership of “assault weapons” has soared and the nation’s murder rate has decreased from 5.7 in 2003 and 5.5 in 2004, to 4.7 in 2012

3. Unless gun control supporters are saying that increased ownership of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds deters crime, they cannot say that Feinstein’s “large” magazine ban reduced crime either. That’s not only because the vast majority of criminals who fire guns during crimes don’t fire more than a few rounds. It’s also because 50 million magazines that held more than 10 rounds were imported into the United States during the 10 years the “ban” was in effect. (Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., press release, “Schumer Moves to Renew Federal Ban on Assault Weapons,” May 8, 2003.)

4. The claim that Feinstein and other gun control supporters most often to pretend that the bans “worked” is based upon a mischaracterization of BATFE firearms traces. After the bans were imposed, “assault weapons” slightly decreased as a percentage of all firearms traced by BATFE. However, BATFE traces guns for various reasons, not only if guns have been used to commit crimes, and once the bans were imposed, law enforcement agencies were less likely to request traces upon the guns in question.

Furthermore, guns used to commit violent crimes have historically been a small percentage of guns that BATFE traces. In its current tracing reports, BATFE states “Law enforcement agencies may request traces for any reason. . . . Not all firearms used in crime are traced and not all firearms traced are used in crime. Firearms selected for tracing are not chosen for purposes of determining which, types, makes or models of firearms are used for illicit purposes. The firearms selected do not constitute a random sample and should not be considered representative of the larger universe of all firearms used by criminals, or any subset of that universe. Firearms are normally traced to the first retail seller, and sources reported for firearms traced do not necessarily represent the sources or methods by which firearms in general are acquired for use in crime.”

5. As the Times pointed out, criminals are more likely to use handguns than rifles or even shotguns of any sort. While gun control supporters try to malign semi-automatic rifles in the context of multiple-victim shootings, the one that had the most victims, at Virginia Tech in 2007, was committed entirely with handguns, and one of the criminals’ handguns was equipped with only 10-round magazines.

Another fact worth noting is that Feinstein’s “assault weapon” and “large” magazine “bans” were separate laws. Her ban on any magazine that held more than 10 rounds applied to magazines for any guns. Most such magazines are for handguns. Detachable magazines are required for the proper functioning of semi-automatic handguns, which are the most common handguns in use today. Moreover, in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court ruled that handguns cannot be banned and that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear all firearms that are in common use for lawful purposes.

Clearly, gun control supporters had no reason to break out the champagne for the anniversary of the bans, and let’s make sure they feel like keeping it corked as the results of the upcoming elections start rolling in the night of November 4.

TRENDING NOW
National Reciprocity Bill Nears Goal Line in the House but Needs Your Support to Reach the End Zone

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, September 15, 2017

National Reciprocity Bill Nears Goal Line in the House but Needs Your Support to Reach the End Zone

Gun owners received good news this week with the passage of the SHARE Act by the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources (see related story). Meanwhile, progress continued to be made on another NRA legislative ...

Urban Myth: Crime Doesn’t Pay – California City Authorizes Stipends to Gang Members

News  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Urban Myth: Crime Doesn’t Pay – California City Authorizes Stipends to Gang Members

In a special meeting on August 29, the nine-member City Council of Sacramento unanimously agreed to allocate $1.5 million in funding and to move forward with a “gun-violence reduction strategy” that will include cash payments ...

Washington Post’s Resident Anti-Gun Zealot Parades his Ignorance in SHARE Act Column

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Washington Post’s Resident Anti-Gun Zealot Parades his Ignorance in SHARE Act Column

Dana Milbank is not a serious journalist. A former White House correspondent for the Washington Post, Milbank now writes what can be characterized as a humor column for the paper.

NRA Backed SHARE Act Passes Committee

News  

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

NRA Backed SHARE Act Passes Committee

“Today marks an important step in protecting the Second Amendment freedoms of America’s hunters and sportsmen and strengthening our outdoor heritage,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA. “The SHARE Act will cut burdensome red tape that restricts ...

House Committee Passes SHARE Act by Wide Margin

Hunting  

News  

Friday, September 15, 2017

House Committee Passes SHARE Act by Wide Margin

As we have reported, this year’s version of the SHARE Act is the most expansive and far-reaching yet. Besides previously-introduced provisions aimed at enhancing opportunities for hunting, fishing, and shooting and broadening access to federal lands ...

California Legislature Adjourns the 2017 Legislative Session

Saturday, September 16, 2017

California Legislature Adjourns the 2017 Legislative Session

Last night, the California Legislature adjourned the 2017 session.  Three anti-gun bills, AB 7, AB 424 and SB 464, passed the Legislature and will now be considered by Governor Brown.  Contact Governor Brown and urge him ...

NRA Applauds Reintroduction and Expansion of SHARE Act

News  

Hunting  

Friday, September 8, 2017

NRA Applauds Reintroduction and Expansion of SHARE Act

On Sept. 1, U.S. Congressman Jeff Duncan introduced H.R. 3668, the Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE Act), a wide-ranging package of legislation aimed at promoting Second Amendment rights and America’s outdoor sporting traditions.

“What Happened”: Clinton Recognizes NRA’s Power, Rewrites History, and Urges Dems to Double-down on Gun Control

News  

Friday, September 15, 2017

“What Happened”: Clinton Recognizes NRA’s Power, Rewrites History, and Urges Dems to Double-down on Gun Control

This week, twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton released her new book, “What Happened,” which chiefly serves to assign blame to the myriad politicians, journalists, organizations, countries, prejudices, and technologies she claims caused her defeat. Gun ...

Shocking News as Governor of Virgin Islands Orders National Guard to Seize Americans’ Firearms

News  

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Shocking News as Governor of Virgin Islands Orders National Guard to Seize Americans’ Firearms

Certainly, the rest of America’s thoughts and prayers are with the USVI as Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, closes in on the Caribbean. Nevertheless, the scope of Gov. Mapp’s order is a shocking incursion ...

Wisconsin: Important Concealed Carry Legislation Scheduled for Committee Vote This Week

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Wisconsin: Important Concealed Carry Legislation Scheduled for Committee Vote This Week

This Tuesday, September 19, Senate Bill 169 is scheduled for a vote during the executive session in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  SB 169 would allow for the concealed carry of a firearm without a concealed carry license ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

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.