March 01, 2013

An Honest Look at the Assault Weapons Ban

Recently momentum has been growing in the Senate for an Assault Weapons ban similar to the one enacted in 1994. After the tragic shootings in Newtown Connecticut, anti-gun lawmakers like Senator Feinstein (D-CA) have been moving quickly to restrict the sale of so-called assault weapons. This week John Lott published an insightful editorial on the Fox News Opinion Page. He addresses popular question asked by many,
"Why do people need a semiautomatic Bushmaster to go out and kill deer?"They obviously imply that the weapon must be a military weapon not designed for hunting. But they are simply plain mistaken. It has just been made to look like a military weapon. The semiautomatic Bushmaster functions identically to a small game hunting rifle. 
Simply put, the Senate has no idea what an assault weapon is. The weapons ban focuses on cosmetics and not functions. Furthermore the original assault weapons ban was ineffectual, 
Despite plenty of studies by criminologists and economists, none of the academic criminologists or economists who have studied this have found any benefits from the law. One of the studies was even funded by the Clinton administration. Yet, this study too concluded: "the evidence is not strong enough for us to conclude that there was any meaningful effect (i.e., that the effect was different from zero)."