I keep saying this is a bad place/policy to put all the time, energy and resources if you really do in fact care, or if you are just riding the agenda bandwagon:
- An assault-weapons ban is irrelevant to suicide deaths. The large majority of gun deaths are suicides, and there is no credible argument that an assault-weapons ban will have the slightest effect on suicide.
- An assault-weapons ban is statistically meaningless to homicide deaths. Rifles of all kinds kill fewer people annually than knives or even feet or fists. An assault-weapons ban (really a ban on future sales; proposed laws would not take a single so-called assault weapon off the streets) would be aimed at a firearm that is rarely used to kill.
- There’s no evidence that banning assault weapons would prevent mass shootings. This is a key point. The post-shooting debate is often conducted as if folks think that if a mass shooter can’t get an assault weapon, he won’t shoot at all. Blocking access to a new AR-15 is not remotely the same thing as stopping a mass shooting.
The move to ban AR-15s rests on the notion that the ban will possibly decrease the lethality of any given mass shooting. Aside from the most unusual circumstances (such as the Las Vegas shooting), this is speculative. After all, the history of mass shootings demonstrates that men wielding handguns are capable of inflicting terrible losses, and handguns are generally the weapon of choice for mass killers.
An assault-weapons ban represents the worst form of gun control. It would burden the self-defense rights of law-abiding Americans without meaningfully addressing the problems it’s purportedly designed to address. We know it wouldn’t impact overall gun death rates. We don’t have evidence it would prevent mass shootings. Given that reality, it looks much less like rational policy-making and much more like legislative emoting — a moral gesture with the primary impact of diminishing American constitutional rights.
Written by David French, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom