Gun Rights

New York Times Acknowledges "Assault Weapon" Bans Are Bogus Nonsense


The New York Times on Sunday gets around to admitting at length what readers of Reason (or anyone who actually knew much about the topic) have known for years: so-called "assault weapon" bans are a load of useless nonsense.

As the op-ed's author Lois Beckett of ProPublica explains:

OVER the past two decades, the majority of Americans in a country deeply divided over gun control have coalesced behind a single proposition: The sale of assault weapons should be banned.

That idea was one of the pillars of the Obama administration's plan to curb gun violence, and it remains popular with the public. In a poll last December, 59 percent of likely voters said they favor a ban.

But in the 10 years since the previous ban lapsed, even gun control advocates acknowledge a larger truth: The law that barred the sale of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 made little difference.

It turns out that big, scary military rifles don't kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do….

The continuing focus on assault weapons stems from the media's obsessive focus on mass shootings, which disproportionately involve weapons like the AR-15, a civilian version of the military M16 rifle. This, in turn, obscures some grim truths about who is really dying from gunshots.

Annually, 5,000 to 6,000 black men are murdered with guns. Black men amount to only 6 percent of the population. Yet of the 30 Americans on average shot to death each day, half are black males.

So in 1994 the Democratic Party decided to wage war on the non-existent "assault weapon" and managed to pass a ban on a set of rifles based almost entirely on cosmetic features that had nothing to do with whatever inherent danger to the public they were supposed to present.

This politically defined category of guns — a selection of rifles, shotguns and handguns with "military-style" features — only figured in about 2 percent of gun crimes nationwide before the ban……

Crime fell, but when the ban expired, a detailed study found no proof that it had contributed to the decline…..

Most Americans do not know that gun homicides have decreased by 49 percent since 1993 as violent crime also fell….A Pew survey conducted after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., found that 56 percent of Americans believed wrongly that the rate of gun crime was higher than it was 20 years ago.

Maybe now that they read it in the Times, legislators will start believing it? Or continue to harp on this "assault weapon" canard every time they have to pretend they can or ought to "do something" about gun violence?

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  1. “So in 1994 the Democratic Party decided to wage war on the non-existent “assault weapon” and managed to pass a ban on a set of rifles based almost entirely on cosmetic features that had nothing to do with whatever inherent danger to the public they were supposed to present.”

    The Progressive Theocracy supports laws to gain power. The problem the law is purported to solved is always irrelevant to that purpose, so why shouldn’t the means employed in the law be irrelevant to the purported purpose too?

    1. Maybe dems don’t like winning on these issues, once they do they don’t have anything to pander for votes with.

    2. I remember seeing Cory Booker who was Mayor of Newark at the time on some show. He basically admitted to all of this as well as to the fact that most of this guns were stolen and not bought at guns shows yet he still supported all of these gun control laws. An honest facist?

  2. First they say the President’s war is unconstitutional, now this…

    Who are these impostors, and what have they done with the NYT Editorial Board?

    1. Wasn’t there recently a change at the top at the NYT? I think I remember some war on wymnz kerfuffle regarding them not so long ago. Maybe that had an impact?

      1. Clearly, they’ve cleaned house and swept out the reality-based staff, and are now left with the patriarchy.

        1. They check their privalage in a ritual every morning.

    2. The cynic in me says this is battlespace preparation for Hillary: the Obama brand is too damaged to do her any good, so she can feint to the right and run against his record. What are all those Democratic women and blacks going to do, vote Republican?

  3. Maybe I’m cynical but I think that what the Times readership is going to draw from this is that half measures are useless and nothing but a total gun ban is acceptable.

    1. ^^ I guess I’m cynical too, as that’s what I was getting from it as well.

      1. “It’s not that central planning is bad. It’s that it needs better planners.”

        “It’s not that the stimulus didn’t work. It’s that it needed to be bigger.”

        “It’s not that gun control is bad. It’s that we needed more strict control.”

        It fits nicely.

    2. They can draw that conclusion if they want, most gun-grabbers already came to that conclusion 50 years ago, they just realized that getting it done incrementally through “compromise” half-measures was far more likely to succeed.

      People started waking up to the ruse in the ’90s, mainly because Britain and Australia let the cat out of the bag at what the real end game of “common-sense” gun regulation is.

    3. That would be the best thing, in my opinion.

      The reason that so many people are friendly to gun control is that they believe that it will end at “reasonable restrictions”. They buy into the mantra: “nobody wants to take your guns away!”

      If the people at the helm of the gun control ideology would pull off the mask and show their real goals, these fence-sitters would see the true picture.

  4. This article was discussed in an earlier thread today (linked by someone else). A quick read-through of this article makes one wonder if the Times is trying to nudge Democrats and progressives down the original gun control path set out in the late 70s/early 80s: The elimination or outright ban of the inexpensive, easily concealed handgun.

    RC Dean once pointed out that there was a time when gun controllers wanted these small, cheap firearms banned, and now with their unhinged focus on so-called assault rifles, they implicitly promote them.

    There are problems with this article, to be sure. The writer rattled off several it’s-known-thats and as-everyone-knows refrains in the realm of public support for bans and various increases in gun control measures– support that isn’t there. Which is why gun control is the one issue where Democrats get their asses handed to them, repeatedly.

    1. Seems unlikely. They missed their window to curtail handgun sales decades ago. The combination of expanding carry laws, the Heller opinion & Gallup polling (70% against banning handguns) are an impossible barrier at this point.

    2. Whatever happened to RC Dean? Haven’t seen him post in quite some time.

      1. Changed his name to MegaloMonocle.

        1. Oh. I thought MM was Randian’s newer handle.

          What’s Randian going by now?

          1. The Tone Police

            1. That’s why they’re inside of my head…

    3. Democrats get their asses handed to them on gun control because the big city Dems (the ones that for the most part control the party platform) have persistently failed to recognize that rural Dems are just as pro-gun as Republicans. All my friends on Team Blue out here in Hoosierland have gun collections just as big as all my Team Red friends. It’s a coyotes are real and they’ll fuckin eat your chickens/pets, and the sheriff takes at least an hour to get to the farm for anything kind of thing.

  5. Annually, 5,000 to 6,000 black men are murdered with guns. Black men amount to only 6 percent of the population. Yet of the 30 Americans on average shot to death each day, half are black males.

    Just bad luck, I guess.

    1. It’s clearly white racism, you white racist.

      1. Yeah, it’s not like they’re involved in or adjacent to other high risk activities, like the drug trade (and it’s not like government has any responsibility for the incentive structure of the drug business). It’s black accountants and black doctors shooting up places, therefore black is the only significant attribute of these folks.

        1. By the gun banner’s logic, since all these blacks are being murdered by other blacks, we need to ban blacks, since it is too hard to just say hey, the problem ain’t the machines used to kill or the skin color of the people doing the killing, it’s specific individuals doing specific bad acts that they individually need to be held accountable for.

          Because pursuing patches to illogical and unworkable policies is easier than having the epiphany that collectivism is the actual problem, and that everything you thought you knew is wrong.

          1. The non-gun murder rate amongst blacks (and hispanics) is higher than the with-gun murder rate for everyone else. That this is obviously a problem with guns is something only a progressive could believe.

  6. I was going to say,

    “Well, i suppose we can now establish a firm estimate on ‘how long does it take for liberals to acknowledge ‘widely known’ facts that clarify why their policies are utter failures?’ = ~20 years, minimum'”

    …then i realized it has only been as recent as last year that many pols have been insisting that WE DO THE SAME THING AGAIN. AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

    Its not about reducing crime/violence. Never has been.

    1. Obama executive ordered an entire swath of firearms out of the market and it barely got a blip on the news.

  7. It’s an op-ed – in other words, the opposite of what the NYT believes and therefore wrong.

  8. The continuing focus on assault weapons stems from the media’s obsessive focus on mass shootings, which disproportionately involve weapons like the AR-15, a civilian version of the military M16 rifle.

    That’s such a fucking lie.

    They focused on assault weapons because most people are too stupid to know that the designation is a cosmetic one, and as a result banning assault weapons polls slightly better than other gun control measures.

    So they focused on that to be their camel’s nose issue.

    And for no other reason.

    1. They also continued to imply that these weapons were fully automatic. It’s amazing how many people I have talked to who thought I was ignorant because I insisted that gangs were not running around doing their drive by shootings with full auto AKs.

  9. BTW did anyone see that Cathy Young made it all the way to #2 on Salon’s Enemies List?

    Woo hoo you go Cathy!

    Let this be a lesson to you, Cathy: the career opportunities in opposing the advocacy of slavery for men have much greater upside potential than tired, repetitive attempts to make us fear the death rattle growling of the Russian bear.

    1. They have “a list”?

  10. Out of the USA, Britain, Australia and Canada, the latter will go down with the gun-control ship. Canada clings on to long debunked gibberish like a toddler hangs on a security blanket. Just like we have the most rigid and restrictive universal health system among Western countries but still believe we’re the envy of the world.

  11. How are the comments in the NYT article? NYT commenters can sometimes run with the best of the derps over at Huff and Salon.

    1. Their comments probably link to their facebook page and they want their friends to know that they are the top zealot.

  12. So, how many people are murdered with hands, feet, and improvised weapons every year?

  13. Personally, I think ALL Americans should be REQUIRED to have at least two fully automatic weapons on hand at ANY given time.

    1. We could enforce it by penaltax!

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