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Follow the Science Chipman! “Assault Weapons” Bans Don’t Work.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Follow the Science Chipman! “Assault Weapons” Bans Don’t Work.

During director of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives nominee David Chipman’s May 26 Senate confirmation hearing, the paid anti-gun activist worked to obscure the woeful record of the 1994 Clinton “assault weapons” ban. That ban prohibited the sale of certain types of commonly-owned semiautomatic firearms, and magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds. Prompted by a question from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Chipman described the data regarding the ban’s efficacy as “mixed.” In truth, the Clinton semi-auto ban was a failure that even the federal government has acknowledged as ineffective. 

The key to understanding why bans on commonly-owned semiautomatic firearms like the AR-15 rifle do not and cannot reduce violent crime is acknowledging the fact that these firearms are rarely used in violent crime.

Consider, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting data, rifles were used in connection with 364 homicides in 2019. More than four times that number of murders involved a knife or other cutting instrument (1,476 such murders), and there were more murders using blunt objects (397) or personal weapons like hands, fists, or feet (600) than involved a rifle of any type.

Faced with the reality that so-called “assault weapons,” are rarely used to commit violent crime, a 1997 Department of Justice-funded study of the 1994 Clinton ban determined that “At best, the assault weapons ban can have only a limited effect on total gun murders, because the banned weapons and magazines were never involved in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders.”

The study also noted,

We were unable to detect any reduction to date in two types of gun murders that are thought to be closely associated with assault weapons, those with multiple victims in a single incident and those producing multiple bullet wounds per victim.

A 2004 follow-up Department of Justice-funded study came to a similar conclusion. The study determined that “AWs [assault weapons] and LCMs [large capacity magazines] were used in only a minority of gun crimes prior to the 1994 federal ban,” “relatively few attacks involve more than 10 shots fired,” and “the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

Presented with the overwhelming evidence that the ban was ineffective, Congress did not renew it. 

In 2013, the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice surveyed the available research on a host of gun control measures for the Obama administration. Regarding a semiautomatic ban, the report determined “Assault weapons are not a major contributor to gun crime,” and that therefore, “a complete elimination of assault weapons would not have a large impact on gun homicides.” 

In 2018, the RAND Corporation released a comprehensive study that surveyed the available research on several gun control policies. As part of the study, RAND researchers sought to determine “How Bans on the Sale of Assault Weapons and High-Capacity Magazines Affect Gun Use Outcomes.” The study stated, “We found no qualifying studies showing that bans on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines decreased any of the eight outcomes we investigated.” The “gun use outcomes” studied included “violent crime.”

The evidence is clear, banning commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and their accessories doesn’t work. Chipman and the broader gun control movement’s continued advocacy for a failed policy measure reveals that their political project isn’t motivated by a desire for “gun safety,” reducing violence, or “public health,” but rather a religious passion for civilian disarmament.

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Monday, June 17, 2024

Fallout from Trudeau’s Gun Grab: Crime is Up, Number of Gun Ranges Drops

In Canada, a ban on over 1,500 firearm makes, models and variants, together with a mandatory government confiscation (“buyback”) requirement, was imposed by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over four years ago. 

U.S. Supreme Court invalidates ATF Rule Classifying Bump Stocks as Machineguns

Friday, June 14, 2024

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Today, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives unlawfully exceeded its authority by classifying bump stocks as machineguns.

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Friday, June 14, 2024

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Today, NRA filed an amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of a challenge to California’s prohibition on the possession of billy clubs.

NRA Scores Legal Victory Against ATF; “Pistol Brace Rule” Enjoined From Going Into Effect Against NRA Members

Monday, April 1, 2024

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Still no Trace of the Truth

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Monday, June 17, 2024

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In our first installment of a critical analysis of an anti-gun propaganda podcast series from The Trace, we covered the lies, misinformation, and deceptive emotional arguments made in the first four episodes. 

Rhode Island: Mandatory Storage Bill Signed As Legislature Adjourns

Monday, June 17, 2024

Rhode Island: Mandatory Storage Bill Signed As Legislature Adjourns

Late last week, Rhode Island lawmakers adjourned for the year, but not before anti-gun Gov. Dan McKee inked his signature to the main piece of gun control to pass the Legislature in 2024. H.7373A/S.2022aa, forces gun ...

New York: Legislature Wraps Up 2024 Regular Session

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

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Gun owners have reason to celebrate when lawmakers drop the final gavel in Albany. Late Friday night, legislators finished their work and mercifully called it quits. It was a mixed bag for gun owners as the Legislature ...

California: Mandatory Storage Legislation Passed in Committee

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

California: Mandatory Storage Legislation Passed in Committee

Yesterday, Senate Bill 53 passed in the Assembly Public Safety Committee on a 6-2 vote and has been referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Biden Was Right on Veterans Before He was Wrong; Now Congress Tightens the Reins

Monday, June 10, 2024

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In March, we reported on an appropriations rider that corrected a longstanding and shameful practice by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) of reporting beneficiaries to NICS as “mental defectives” prohibited from having guns, merely ...

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Tuesday, June 11, 2024

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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.