In 1994, then President Bill Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. This act banned assault weapons, in addition to weapons that are destructive on a massive scale, such as grenades. This law expired on September 13, 2004, per the “sunset provision”. Upon its expiration, many official and credible studies had been carried out to examine and quantify the effects of the law during its twenty-year run.
These studies had been carried out by The Task Force on Community Preventive Services, the National Research Council, the United States Department of Justice, the National Institute of Justice, the John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence. All of the studies revealed that assault weapons had been used in crimes so rarely, the impact of the law had no measurable effect. In fact, it was assessed that crimes involving assault weapons accounted for only 1.61% of all firearm related crimes. Even the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives couldn’t substantiate any effect of the law.
[Senator Dianne Feinstein claimed the ban was effective because “It was drying up supply and driving up prices.” But evidence contradicts that claim.]
Oddly, the law included weapons that only accounted for 4.82% of the weapons used in any crimes.
When you look beyond the hyperbole, there are approximately 271 federal gun laws in the books today, but those numbers don’t reflect the States laws, which only increase the number of firearm laws in the United States. Today, according to the FBI, the DHS, and other law enforcement statistics, assault weapons used in firearm related crimes account for only 1%. In effect, assault weapons used in crimes is no different today than it was even twenty years ago, despite an increase in the criminal/U.S. population.
The consensus among the experts on this topic, in addition to interviews with prisoners guilty of firearm related crimes – all conclude that these types of weapons are too big and bulky to carry, and very difficult to conceal. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation website, nearly all firearm related crimes involve handguns. Handguns are not the focus of Barack Obama and his administration, nor were they the focus of attention when former president Bill Clinton signed his Act more than twenty years ago.
When these powerful weapons are used against human-beings, the loss of life is minuscule in relation to the number of total deaths by handguns. We are told banning assault rifles will make our children safer. Would banning a weapon that accounts for only 1% make Americans safer? Shouldn’t the focus be on the 99%? Handguns are certainly capable of unloading sixteen rounds before reloading, and are very easy to conceal.
The FBI defines mass-shooting as four or more victims. Realistically, handguns fall into the category as weapons of mass-destruction. So why aren’t these ever included in the administration’s talking points? Why ignore the real threat to our safety? Someone entering a school concealing a handgun would certainly not raise any eyebrows – unlike someone walking into a school with an assault rifle.
In 2011, the FBI reported 8,583 firearms homicides. Handguns killed 6,220, for 72 percent of the total. Rifles were used to murder 323 people (less than one daily and less than 4 percent of the total). And that is all rifles, of which assault rifles are only a small fraction. (The remaining 24 percent were shotguns and other firearms not stated.) Yet it is only assault weapons that capture the headlines and elicit reform measures.
Despite the cacophony of statistics, the silence of victim data-related policy is deafening. If government response is an accurate barometer of public sentiment, then we are appalled by the single-event killing of 26 at an elementary school [Sandy Hook] with an assault weapon, but not by the individual murders and suicides of thousands by handguns?
What isn’t mentioned by the media; since 2009, firearms sales have increased exponentially. November 11, 2008, CNN reported: “According to FBI figures for the week of November 3 to 9, the bureau received more than 374,000 requests for background checks on gun purchasers — a nearly 49 percent increase over the same period in 2007. Conatser said his store, Virginia Arms Company, has run out of some models — such as the AR-15 rifle, the civilian version of the military’s M-16 — and is running low on others.”
You can find many variations of answers for the increase in sales of firearms, but all agree – they have. This phenomena is counter-productive to that which president Obama is trying vehemently to accomplish – reduction.
Attorney General Eric Holder says the number and the lethal nature of active-shooter incidents nationwide have soared over the past five years – since 2009. It strongly appears 2009 is the pivot point: Increased gun sales, increased active-shooter incidents, increased school shootings, increased gangs and gang activity…increased efforts to ban assault weapons.
Most firearm crimes involve illegal firearms – guns not registered to the perpetrator. An estimated 230,000 guns per year are stolen in home burglaries and property crimes, according to a study by the Department of Justice. Statistics for commercial thefts show that nearly 25,000 guns per year are lost or stolen from gun dealers. According to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), more than 4,000 gun stores and retailers have been targeted in the last three years, with 74,000 guns reported stolen or lost. And criminals will use any method possible to get their hands on some weapons, either for their own use, or to sell on the black market. 2012 was a record year for gun sales, with more than 19.5 million background checks run for gun purchases, up almost 20% from the previous year. But while legitimate sales skyrocket, huge numbers of illegal guns are hitting the streets.
Rather than “gun violence”, I believe the term should be “gun-related violence” because people, not guns, for one reason or another, have motives which motivate them to use guns as a problem solving tool. If guns did not exist – another tool would be used. If we could magically get rid of all of the guns – people would probably run over one another with automobiles. Would we then call it “automobile violence” and outlaw automobiles? No, of course not!
I am not an opponent of handguns, I do support of our Constitutional entitlement as U.S. citizens, but more-so, I am re-directing your attention to the real issues this administration isn’t addressing, which is giving Americans a deadly sense of false hope. Banning assault weapons would certainly take away the ability for one to defend himself against a large attack – by whom is a scary thought. Secondly, confiscated assault weapons could very well be sold on the black market to other nations, gangs, terrorists – as they have before, the Fast & Furious is but one example. It is quite disturbing, as this administrations attempts to take specific weapons away from Americans – and I can see their point to a small degree – you would think the way they talk about the impactful threat these weapons have on our society – that law enforcement statistics would clearly show more than a 1% crime usage.