While Democrats have recently been touting the 1994 assault weapons ban, it didn’t do anything to curb gun violence, says John Lott, former chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., cites two studies by criminology professors Chris Koper and Jeff Roth for the National Institute of Justice, as proof of the ban’s efficacy.
But in 1997, they wrote, "the evidence is not strong enough for us to conclude that there was any meaningful effect,” Lott says in The Wall Street Journal.
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And in 2004, they wrote, "we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation's recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence."
It is since the assault weapons ban ended in 2004 that the progress has been made, Lott writes. In 2003, the last full year before the law expired, the U.S. murder rate was 5.7 per 100,000 people, according to the FBI. Eight years later, the rate had dropped to 4.7 per 100,000 people. “One should also bear in mind that just 2.6 percent of all murders are committed using any type of rifle,” Lott says.
“If we finally want to deal seriously with multiple-victim public shootings, it's time that we acknowledge a common feature of these attacks: with just a single exception, the attack in Tucson last year, every public shooting in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed since at least 1950 has occurred in a place where citizens are not allowed to carry their own firearms.”
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