WS>>The Big Lie of the Assault Weapons Ban

Carl cwsiv_2nd at HOTPOP.COM
Thu Jul 28 09:50:59 MDT 2005


The death of the law hasn't brought a rise in crime -- just the
opposite.  

By John R. Lott Jr.

John R. Lott Jr., a resident scholar at the American Enterprise
Institute, is the author of "More Guns, Less Crime" (University
of  Chicago,  2000)

------------

June 28, 2005

This  wasn't  supposed  to  happen.  When  the  federal assault
weapons  ban  ended  on  Sept.  13, 2004, gun crimes and police
killings were predicted to surge. Instead, they have declined.
For  a  decade,  the  ban  was a cornerstone of the gun control
movement.  Sarah Brady, one of the nation's leading gun control
advocates, warned that "our streets are going to be filled with
AK-47s  and  Uzis."  Life  without  the  ban would mean rampant
murder and bloodshed.

Well,  more  than  nine  months have passed and the first crime
numbers are in. Last week, the FBI announced that the number of
murders nationwide fell by 3.6% last year, the first drop since
1999. The trend was consistent; murders kept on declining after
the assault weapons ban ended.

Even  more  interesting,  the  seven states that have their own
assault  weapons bans saw a smaller drop in murders than the 43
states  without  such laws, suggesting that doing away with the
ban  actually  reduced crime. (States with bans averaged a 2.4%
decline  in  murders;  in three states with bans, the number of
murders rose. States without bans saw murders fall by more than
4%.)

And  the  drop was not just limited to murder. Overall, violent
crime  also  declined  last year, according to the FBI, and the
complete  statistics  carry  another  surprise  for gun control
advocates.  Guns are used in murder and robbery more frequently
then  in  rapes  and aggravated assaults, but after the assault
weapons  ban  ended,  the  number of murders and robberies fell
more than the number of rapes and aggravated assaults.

It's  instructive  to  remember just how passionately the media
hyped  the  dangers  of  "sunsetting" the ban. Associated Press
headlines  warned  "Gun shops and police officers brace for end
of  assault  weapons ban." It was even part of the presidential
campaign:  "Kerry  blasts  lapse  of  assault  weapons ban." An
Internet  search  turned  up  more than 560 news stories in the
first  two  weeks of September that expressed fear about ending
the  ban.  Yet  the  news  that  murder and other violent crime
declined last year produced just one very brief paragraph in an
insider political newsletter, the Hotline.

The  fact that the end of the assault weapons ban didn't create
a crime wave should not have surprised anyone. After all, there
is  not  a  single  published academic study showing that these
bans have reduced any type of violent crime.

Research  funded  by  the  Justice Department under the Clinton
administration  concluded  only  that the effect of the assault
weapons  ban  on gun violence "has been uncertain." The authors
of  that  report  released  their updated findings last August,
looking at crime data from 1982 through 2000 (which covered the
first six years of the federal law). The latest version stated:
"We  cannot  clearly  credit  the  ban with any of the nation's
recent drop in gun violence."

Such  a  finding  was  only  logical. Though the words "assault
weapons"  conjure  up rapid-fire military machine guns, in fact
the  weapons  outlawed  by  the  ban  function  the same as any
semiautomatic "and legal" hunting rifle. They fire the same
bullets at the same speed and produce the same damage. They are
simply  regular  deer  rifles  that  look  on  the outside like
AK-47s.

For gun control advocates, even a meaningless ban counts. These
are  the  same  folks  who  have never been bashful about scare
tactics,  predicting  doom  and  gloom when they don't get what
they  want.  They hysterically claimed that blood would flow in
the  streets  after  states  passed right-to-carry laws letting
citizens  carry  concealed  handguns,  but that never occurred.
Thirty-seven  states  now have right-to-carry laws  and no one
is seriously talking about rescinding them or citing statistics
about the laws causing crime.

Gun  controllers' fears that the end of the assault weapons ban
would  mean  the  sky would fall were simply not true. How much
longer can the media take such hysteria seriously when it is so
at odds with the facts?


http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-lott28jun28,0,6311008.story?track=tottext



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