Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

CPRC on Assault Weapon Bans Confirms “Relative Rarity” of Rifle Use in Murders

Monday, February 12, 2024

CPRC on Assault Weapon Bans Confirms “Relative Rarity” of Rifle Use in Murders

In 1994, Congress enacted the Title XI of the Federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, imposing a ban on so-called “assault weapons.” The law prohibited the manufacture, transfer, or possession of a “semiautomatic assault weapon,” as listed (e.g., Colt AR-15) or defined (including any semiautomatic rifle that could accept a detachable magazine and had two or more of the specified cosmetic features, like a folding or telescoping stock). The law’s sunset provision repealed the law ten years after it was passed. The Attorney General was required to study the impact of the legislation on violent crime and report back to Congress. Once the ban expired in 2004, it was not renewed.

Since then, gun control advocates at the state and federal level, including President Joe Biden, have not stopped agitating to have similar assault weapon laws reinstated, claiming that these ordinary, popular firearms are “high powered,” “exceptionally deadly,” and “excessively dangerous.” President Biden, the most virulently anti-Second Amendment occupant of the Oval Office to date, appears to personally define “assault weapon” to include any semiautomatic firearm, has repeatedly called for a new ban, alleging that “150 million Americans” have died from gun violence since 2007, and that “mass shootings went down” during the ban and “tripled” once the 1994 ban expired.

Like most of Biden’s over-the-top rhetoric on guns, his assertion that the 1994 ban reduced crime is unsupportable. Two separate studies by the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) on the impact of the ban (here and here) found the ban had no discernible effect on violent crime. A more recent study in 2017 concluded that “[s]pecific laws directed at … the banning of military-style assault weapons were not associated with changes in firearm homicide rates.”

The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC, crimeresearch.org) examined Biden’s claim about mass shootings in particular and concluded that there “was no drop in the number of attacks with assault weapons during the 1994 to 2004 ban.” While there was an increase after the ban sunset, “the change is not statistically significant. More importantly, if Biden’s claim is correct, we should see a drop in the percent of attacks with assault weapons during the federal ban period and then an increase in the post-ban period, but the exact opposite is true.”

One of the DOJ studies explained the study’s outcome, in part, by reference to the “relative rarity with which the banned weapons were used in gun violence even before the ban.” New research from the CPRC reinforces this finding. Using data from the FBI UCR reports, the CPRC has examined the share of murders committed with any kind of rifle over time, including before, during and after the 1994 federal ban. The Center’s research looked at two indicators of rifle use, in murders generally, and as a share of the more specific class of firearm murders.

Three years before the federal ban, in 1991, the share of firearm murders with rifles (FMR) was 5.18%, and rifles were involved in 3.44% of all murders (MR). At the start of the ban, the share of FMR was already down to 4.69%, while the MR percentage fell slightly, to 3.27%. During the “assault weapon” ban, both numbers spiked twice to exceed the pre-ban levels: first in 1997 (5.95% FMR, 4.03% MR), and again in 2002 (5.12% FMR, 3.42% MR), before reaching somewhat lower levels by the time the ban expired in 2004 (4.29% FMR, 2.97% MR).

Although it may be tempting to attribute these drops, as slight as they are, to the effect of the ban, an analysis over the longer term shows that the ban had no effect on the frequency of use of rifles in murders. In the 12-year period after the ban ended (2005-2017), both the FMR and MR numbers continued to drop and generally stayed below (in some years, well below) what they had been before and during the ban. In 2019, the numbers began a steady rise but, as of 2022, were still below both the 1994 and 2004 numbers (at 3.66% FMR, 2.80% MR).

The CPRC commentary states “it is interesting to see what a small share of murders are committed with any type of rifle and how even that share has fallen over time,” adding that there “was no statistically significant difference in rates before the ban compared to the assault weapon ban period.”

There’s a lesson in these numbers, but it’s not one that gun control advocates are interested in. Joe Biden will almost certainly make gun control, and in particular, an assault weapons ban, a cornerstone of his reelection campaign. It’s particularly ironic, then that his first campaign video of 2024 opens with him intoning, “Freedom. Personal freedom is fundamental to who we are as Americans. There’s nothing more important. Nothing more sacred. That’s been the work of my first term… To protect our rights…. The question we’re facing is whether in the years ahead, we have more freedom or less freedom. More rights or fewer.” While Biden gets worked up over “MAGA extremists…lining up to take those bedrock freedoms,” he should, perhaps, spare a thought to how perverse it is to present himself as a champion of fundamental constitutional rights.  

TRENDING NOW
Massachusetts: Progressives Pass Radical Gun Control Bill

Friday, July 19, 2024

Massachusetts: Progressives Pass Radical Gun Control Bill

Progressive politicians in Massachusetts just passed one of the most extreme gun control bills in the country.

Massachusetts: Senate Passes Sweeping Gun Control Without Public Hearing

Friday, February 2, 2024

Massachusetts: Senate Passes Sweeping Gun Control Without Public Hearing

On Thursday, February 1st, the Senate passed S.2572 late in the night without the bill ever receiving a public hearing, ignoring the concerns of Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and second amendment advocates across the state. 

Massachusetts: Contact the H. 4139 Conference Committee NOW

Friday, April 19, 2024

Massachusetts: Contact the H. 4139 Conference Committee NOW

For nearly a year, extreme anti-gun Massachusetts politicians have been pushing one of the most extreme gun control bills in the country.

VA Tells Congressional Panel it “Could Not” and “Would Not” Comply with Pro-gun Legislation

News  

Monday, July 15, 2024

VA Tells Congressional Panel it “Could Not” and “Would Not” Comply with Pro-gun Legislation

Last Wednesday, the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs of the House Veterans Affairs Committee held a legislative hearing on a number of proposed bills that would change various procedures and standards for how the Department ...

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

Monday, April 1, 2024

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

NRA Members Among the Largest Class Protected from Draconian Rule

NRA Applauds President Trump’s Selection of Senator J.D. Vance as His Running Mate

News  

Second Amendment  

Monday, July 15, 2024

NRA Applauds President Trump’s Selection of Senator J.D. Vance as His Running Mate

Following President Donald J. Trump’s announcement of his selection of U.S. Senator J.D. Vance as his running mate, the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) released the below statements.

Third Circuit Affirms Denial of Preliminary Injunction in NRA-ILA-Supported Challenge to Delaware’s ban on “assault weapons” and “large-capacity magazines.”

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Third Circuit Affirms Denial of Preliminary Injunction in NRA-ILA-Supported Challenge to Delaware’s ban on “assault weapons” and “large-capacity magazines.”

On Monday, July 15, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction in Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association v. Delaware Department of Safety & Homeland Security, NRA-ILA’s lawsuit challenging ...

New Hampshire: Critical Pro-Gun Privacy Bill Signed Into Law

Friday, July 12, 2024

New Hampshire: Critical Pro-Gun Privacy Bill Signed Into Law

On Friday, July 12th, Governor Chris Sununu (R-New Hampshire) signed HB 1186, "an act relative to firearm purchaser's privacy."

The UN’s Circle of Life

News  

Monday, July 8, 2024

The UN’s Circle of Life

The United Nation’s Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons In All Its Aspects (PoA) is now almost 23 years old.

New Orleans Tries an End-run around Constitutional Carry

News  

Monday, July 8, 2024

New Orleans Tries an End-run around Constitutional Carry

Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry (R) assumed office on January 8 of this year and wasted no time working to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Louisianans. 

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

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.