By: Teresa Mull
Presidential hopeful Joe Biden said he would ban so-called “assault weapons” and implement a national buyback program.
Fox News reports:
The former vice president, in a CNN interview, said that a Biden administration would push for a “national buyback program” to get such firearms “off the street.”
Asked what he’d say to gun owners worried that Biden would be coming for their guns, he quickly answered: "Bingo! You’re right, if you have an assault weapon.
"The fact of the matter is [assault weapons] should be illegal. Period," Biden said. "The Second Amendment doesn’t say you can’t restrict the kinds of weapons people can own. You can’t buy a bazooka. You can’t have a flame-thrower."
South Bend, Indian Mayor Pete Buttigieg, another 2020 presidential hopeful, also announced his plan for increased gun control.
“…Weapons like the one I carried in Afghanistan have no place on our streets or in our schools,” Buttigieg said. “The same is true for high-capacity magazines, some of which can hold up to 100 rounds of ammunition and significantly increase a shooter’s ability to injure and kill large numbers of people quickly without needing to reload.”
The U.S. has already dabbled in an “assault weapons” ban, and Investors.com reminds us:
What nobody seems to want to acknowledge, however, is that the very ban being proposed by Democrats was in effect for 10 years — from 1994 to 2004.
So, did the previous "assault weapons" ban work?
It turns out that various independent studies came to the same conclusion: the ban had no measurable impact on the number of shootings or the number of shooting deaths while it was in effect.
A 2005 report from the National Research Council, for example, noted that "A recent evaluation of the short-term effects of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban did not reveal any clear impacts on gun violence outcomes."
A 2004 study sponsored by the National Institute of Justice found that while the ban appeared to have reduced the number of crimes committed with "assault weapons," any benefits were "likely to have been outweighed by steady or rising use of non-banned semiautomatics."
As a result, the Justice study found "there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence, based on indicators like the percentage of gun crimes resulting in death or the share of gunfire incidents resulting in injury."
The main reason the failure of the ban to make a difference: "assault weapons" account for a tiny share of gun crimes — less than 6%. Even among mass shootings, most didn’t involve an "assault weapon" in the decade before the ban went into effect.
Mass shootings didn’t stop during the ban, either — there were 16 while the ban was in effect, which resulted in 237 deaths or injuries. In fact, it was while the ban was in effect that the Columbine High School massacre happened, in which 13 students were killed and 24 injured.
What’s more, gun deaths have steadily declined since 1994, even though the rate of gun ownership has climbed.
Democrats pushing for an "assault weapons" ban today know that getting it approved in an election year by a Republican-controlled Congress is a fantasy. This is nothing more than a political ploy.
What’s more, we needn’t look any further than modern-day New Zealand to see how well gun buyback programs work.
The Press Herald reported earlier this year:
Growing opposition from New Zealand’s pro-gun groups has complicated efforts to round up the now-banned firearms under a buyback program. Lawsuits are threatened.
Gun-control advocates argue that compensation rates may not be fair and warn of a possible spike in black-market sales.
The government, meanwhile, is faced with a sobering set of challenges over how to enforce the new law.
There is no national registry for many of the weapons targeted by the ban, including the AR-15 – a semiautomatic rifle that has been used in mass shootings in the United States and is often at the center of American gun-control debates.
As a result, estimates of the numbers of newly banned weapons vary widely. So far, about 700 firearms have been voluntarily surrendered.
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at [email protected].