Op-ed by Elad Hakim | Photo: Alamy
After the recent and tragic mass shooting at Michigan State University that left three students dead and five others wounded, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris renewed calls for an “assault weapons” ban.
According to Biden, “There is no rational for assault weapons and magazines that hold 50-70 bullets.” As expected, Harris chimed in and tweeted, “Congress must pass commonsense gun legislation, including a ban on assault weapons and universal background checks. And President Biden will sign it.”
The efficacy of such bans is highly questionable. As Katie Pavlich pointed out in an article in Townhall, the previous ban on semi-automatic weapons did not reduce the number of mass shootings.
In her article, Pavlich pointed to a 2004 Department of Justice-funded study from the University of Pennsylvania Center of Criminology, titled “An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003.” The study concluded that, “The ban’s impact on gun violence is likely to be small at best, and perhaps too small for reliable measurement. AWs [assault weapons] were used in no more than 8% of gun crimes even before the ban.”
Additional information challenging the efficacy of such a ban is available. As reported by Reason:
“Indeed, digging into the best relevant social science related to assault weapons and mass shootings, the RAND Corporation, in a paper updated last month, concluded that given “our assessment of these findings and the relative strengths of these studies, we find inconclusive evidence for the effect of assault weapon bans on mass shootings” (emphasis theirs).”
Aside from the obvious impact that a ban of this nature would have on Americans’ Second Amendment rights, proponents of such a ban seem to blindly overlook several important facts.
First, those who are looking to commit a heinous act of this nature are unlikely to be deterred if this type of ban is implemented. In other words, they are not going to “follow the law,” so to speak. Second, a ban of this nature, which is overly broad, would prohibit and prevent law-abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights under the Constitution and could also prevent law-abiding citizens from defending themselves or others, if needed.
As reported by Fox News, crime data revealed that violent crimes have increased anywhere from 5% percent to up to 40 percent compared to the same time frame in 2021 in Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
Additionally, liberal prosecutors promote “soft on crime” policies, such as halting prosecutions for certain offenses, seeking bail in limited cases, and refraining from seeking life sentences without parole for any crime. Along these same lines, as reported by The Washington Free Beacon, some Democrats have supported ending cash bail and/or allowing certain types of offenders to avoid arrest altogether despite a dramatic increase in crime. In an April, 2022 Gallup poll, 53 percent of Americans indicated that they worried a “great” deal about crime.
While Biden and Harris continue to promote policies that seek to erode Americans’ constitutional rights, perhaps they would be better off focusing on mental health, school safety, securing the nation’s borders, and a tough-on-crime approach.
For example, regarding the Michigan State tragedy, Townhall reported:
“What would have prevented the MSU shooting was if the prosecutors did not drop the felony charge McRae was facing after being caught illegally carrying a handgun in 2019. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. Instead, McRae pleaded down to a misdemeanor and completed his probation in 2021. Police had also been called to his house because neighbors said he would shoot a gun out the back.
CNN reported the shooter bought two guns in 2021, a Taurus, and the other was a Hi-Point 9mm, though it is unknown at this time whether he use one of them or used a different handgun.”
CNN also reported that, according to police, the investigation revealed that the shooter “had a history of mental health issues.”
With a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, an “assault weapons” ban is highly unlikely. This is not to say that additional action is not needed to prevent such tragedies from occurring, which it clearly is. However, a complete and overly broad ban is unlikely to succeed on political or constitutional grounds.
Mr. Hakim is an attorney and columnist. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, American Thinker, and other online publications. He is also a regular guest on OANN’s Tipping Point, and has appeared on Newsmax, The Jenna Ellis Show, Steadfast and Loyal Podcast with Allen West, The Dave Weinbaum Show, and Real America’s Voice. The views expressed herein are the author’s own and do not constitute legal advice.