Assault Weapons Bans Do Nothing To Curb Gun Violence

Remember in elementary school, when your teacher punished the entire class because of one kid who wouldn’t behave? Well, yesterday a federal judge ruled that the government of Maryland can punish all of the law-abiding gun owners in the state due to the actions of a few crazed individuals.

U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake yesterday issued a ruling that upheld Maryland’s ban of AR-15 and other so-called “assault” rifles (see this Inquisitr article). Judge Blake said:

“In sum, the defendants have met their burden to demonstrate a reasonable fit between the Firearm Safety Act and the government’s substantial interests in protecting public safety and reducing the negative effects of firearm-related crime. Accordingly, the Act does not violate the Second Amendment.”

What Judge Blake, and gun-control advocates in general, fail to realize is that assault weapons bans do nothing to combat gun violence, and for a very simple reason: Criminals don’t obey gun laws.

Consider Chicago, for example. Despite some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, Chicago’s murders and assaults continue as if nothing ever happened. Even the New York Times – hardly an organization that supports gun rights – admits that Chicago’s gun laws are a failure.

And yet Chicago, a city with no civilian gun ranges and bans on both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, finds itself laboring to stem a flood of gun violence that contributed to more than 500 homicides last year and at least 40 killings already in 2013.

In other words, there’s a reason they call it Chiraq. And yet Chicago’s mayor, and Obama affiliate, Rahm Emmanuel wants to soldier on with even stricter gun control laws, because one of these days the right words on the right paper will make all the difference, apparently.

But Chicago’s problem is mostly street-level violence. What about mass shootings like Sandy Hook and Aurora? Aren’t assault weapons like the AR-15 the go-to weapon for mass shooters?

Well, not exactly. According to Mother Jones – another media outlet that is decidedly not pro-gun – mass shooters are far more likely to use handguns than assault weapons.

Image via
Image via Mother Jones

Of particular note is the fact that the guns used by Adam Lanza, the shooter in the Sandy Hook shootings which killed over 20 children, were already illegal under Connecticut law. In other words, Connecticut’s ban on the weapons Adam Lanza used did not stop Adam Lanza from using them.

In looking through the recent spate of mass shootings – Sandy Hook, Aurora, Virginia Tech, the Navy Yard, etc. – one common thread that appears in all of them is the bugaboo that is mental illness. In all of the mass shootings I just mentioned – indeed, in almost all of the mass shootings of the past several decades – the shooter was known to have mental health problems. So it seems that keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, or better yet, getting the mentally ill the treatment they so desperately need, is a far better long-term solution to the problem of mass shootings than assault weapons bans. Unfortunately, that’s going to cost money, and doesn’t make for good photo ops. Being the politician who is courageous enough to stand against the gun lobby, and ban assault weapons, costs nothing, and brings the news cameras to your office.

And so the anti-gun politicians continue on, chipping away at our Second Amendment rights little by little, until there is nothing left. Just like with the Drug War, it’s far easier to blame an obvious boogieman – be it drugs or guns – than it is to address the underlying problems that lead to their use. And in the same way that the Drug War has completely failed to solve America’s drug problem, a War on Assault Weapons, or a War on Guns in General, is not going to solve America’s gun problem.

Are assault weapons bans, like the AR-15 ban, going to solve the problems of gun violence and mass shootings in America? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Image courtesy of: Universal Free Press