In breaking news, the U.S Chamber of Commerce, referring to Massachusetts’s U.S. Senate candidate Professor Elizabeth Warren, says the following: “No other candidate in 2012 represents a greater threat to free enterprise than Professor Warren.”
Now we read that Professor Warren wants to renew the federal assault weapons ban. I am not at all certain that the professor even knows what an assault weapon is.
A true assault weapon, like the Colt M-16, is a military rifle that is not sold to citizens. A semi-automatic rifle, like the Colt AR-15, is sold to citizens and is netiher a fully automatic weapon nor an assault weapon. If you want to check out real assault weapons, watch Black Hawk Down. In the movie, Delta operators are seen firing assault weapons, including the Colt 727 and 733. So even labeling the original Firearms Act of 1994 an assault weapons ban was simply silly.
Moreover the features on the weapons that were banned kept few personal defense experts up at night. When you’re talking personal defense, pistol grips, folding stocks, bayonet mounts, flash suppressors, and grenade launchers just don’t figure in. I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t plan on racing around my property at night in fixed bayonet position launching grenades. In truth I wouldn’t mind a flash suppressor, but that’s another day’s story.
OK then, so from the beginning the guns that were on the government’s banned list were, for any citizen involved in home security, in large measure non-starters, as they should have been. All of the research I have read following a lifting of the 1994 ban offered nary a shred of evidence that the ban accomplished a thing. The types of weapons banned are rarely used in gun crimes. The University of Pennsylvania’s Jerry Lee Center of Criminology found no significant evidence that the misnamed assault weapons ban reduced gun murders.
The most detailed scholarship on gun crimes has undoubtedly been conducted by John R. Lott, Jr., an empirical researcher. Mr. Lott’s research found no impact on violent crime rates from the assault weapons ban. In fact, Mr. Lott’s studies indicated a slight increase in murder rates. John believes that if all non-felon American citizens took the NRA gun safety course and carried a concealed weapon, crime rates would plummet. In his highly acclaimed More Guns Less Crime, Mr. Lott writes, “Allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns reduces violent crimes, and the reductions coincide very closely with the number of concealed-handgun permits issued…. Mass shootings in public places are reduced when law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry concealed handguns.”
As a long time researcher, advocate and practitioner of personal security, I can assure voters that assault rifle scare tactics and misinformation from political opportunists like Professor Warren clash not only with reality but also wth the historical record.