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August 21, 2019

Dems Use Mass Shootings as Pretext for Gun Confiscation

The renewed push for an “assault weapons” ban is both wrong and mendacious.

In the aftermath of mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton earlier this month, calls from Democrats to ban firearms or severely restrict their use have hit a fever pitch. Democrat proposals include expanded background checks, “red flag” laws, bans on “high-capacity” (read: standard-capacity) magazines, mandatory gun buybacks and, of course, a renewal of the so-called “assault weapons” ban.

In each case, gun-grabbing Democrats attempt to make a moral argument, proclaiming, “If just one innocent life can be saved, we must ban firearms!” Yet considering that more innocent children are killed in Planned Parenthood clinics each day than are killed in mass shootings in a decade, one might be forgiven for doubting the motives of the anti-Second Amendment Democrats.

Of the “assault weapons” ban, Bill Clinton recently pontificated, “How many more people have to die before we reinstate the assault weapons ban & the limit on high-capacity magazines & pass universal background checks? After they passed in 1994, there was a big drop in mass shooting deaths. When the ban expired, they rose again. We must act now.”

Joe Biden insisted the same thing in a New York Times op-ed titled “Banning Assault Weapons Works.”

But is that true? Not really.

In 1994, a ban so-called “assault weapons” was implemented, banning 118 firearm models and all magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The banned firearms were selected for their appearance rather than their lethality. And since fully automatic firearms have been effectively banned since the National Firearms Act of 1934, every banned weapon was semiautomatic. In other words, the ban prohibited some semiautomatics and left others legal. It was pointless.

Despite Clinton’s claims, a 2004 study commissioned by the U.S. Justice Department found that, “should it be renewed, the [assault rifle] ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

Even the 2019 study of the NYU School of Medicine cited by Clinton doesn’t support Clinton’s claims. In the study, epidemiologist Charles DiMaggio focused on mass-shooting deaths. In raw numbers, he found 68 mass-shooting fatalities from 1981-1993 (pre-ban), and 53 fatalities from 1994-2004 (during the ban), a drop of only 1.5 deaths per year.

The doubtful efficacy of the ban was echoed by other researchers as well.

Yet the study’s findings have been disputed. Columbia University professor Louis Klarevas points to significant flaws in the data and methodology, noting the “authors misidentified the involvement of assault weapons in roughly half of the incidents.”

And Grant Duwe, director of research and evaluation for the Minnesota Department of Corrections, who has compiled a database on mass shootings, notes that DiMaggio did not control for “rival factors” that may have impacted mass-shooting deaths.

But even accepting these flaws as fact, even DiMaggio himself determined, “There is some evidence they actually declined — or at least didn’t continue to increase during the period of the ban,” admitting, “It is pretty much impossible to prove cause and effect.”

Duke University’s Philip Cook concurred, stating, “Violence rates were quite volatile during that period generally for reasons that had nothing to do with gun regulation.”

Furthermore, recent studies from the Journal of General Internal Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) both reviewed state gun laws and found any link between bans on certain guns or standard-capacity magazines and homicide rates to be statistically insignificant.

Further undermining the justification for a renewed ban is the fact that while the drop in mass-shooting deaths during the ban was very small, the rise in mass-shooting deaths after the end of the ban didn’t occur until 2012 — nearly a decade after the ban ended.

In reality, the vast majority of gun-related deaths are the result of handguns, not rifles (assault or otherwise), and only a tiny fraction occur during mass shootings. The FBI’s latest data shows knives (1,604) were used four times more often to commit murder than rifles of any type (374), and mass-shootings deaths where an “assault weapon” was used accounts for just 0.24% of all firearm homicides.

It is important to note that, as tragic and horrifying as even one of these mass shootings is, the blame lies not with the weapon, but with the killer.

And in any case, as The New York Times’s Alex Kingsbury recently lamented, “It’s Too Late to Ban Assault Weapons.” There are approximately 400 million guns in the hands of about 100 million U.S. citizens. Every day, 99.99999% of those gun owners manage not to commit murder. In fact, a 2013 CDC study commissioned by none other than Barack Obama found guns are used defensively between 500,000 and 3,000,000 times per year. Don’t lament, Mr. Kingsbury! That’s a good thing!

If gun bans worked, the Democrat strongholds of DC, Baltimore, and Chicago, with some of the most draconian gun laws in the country, would be the safest cities around, instead of having murder rates rivaling war-torn countries.

And for all of their current facades and pretenses, these gun-grabbing Democrats have already revealed their hand, openly admitting their goal is to confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens.

At the end of the day, gun control should be rejected for one simple reason; the right to keep and bear arms, to defend the life of yourself and your family — and our very republic and Liberty itself from tyranny — is a God-given, constitutionally protected right that “shall not be infringed.” These laws and bans amount to stripping American citizens of their rights without them ever having committed a crime.

And that is not only immoral. It is intolerable.

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