'No' to assault rifle bans

The recent mass shooting in Texas serves as another false opportunity for progressives to call for the seizure of assault-style weapons from law-abiding Americans.  In addition, President Biden declared that 9mm handguns should be outlawed, so it is not secret that the real object of the exercise is to disarm law-abiding citizens, pure and simple.  One only needed to look north to Canada to see what soon may be in store.

It's remarkable that "assault weapons" bans always dominate the gun control conversation after mass shootings.  It's true that AR-15s or similar weapons have been used in a number of attacks, but when we slow down, take a deep breath, and look at actual gun crime, the logic for banning the kind of weapon that millions of Americans use for entirely lawful purposes (including self-defense) starts to disappear.  The evidence simply does not support the argument.

First, an assault weapons ban is irrelevant to suicide deaths.  The vast majority of gun deaths are suicides, and there is no credible argument that an assault weapons ban will have the slightest effect on suicide prevention.

Second, an assault weapons ban is statistically insignificant regarding homicide deaths.  Rifles of all kinds kill fewer people annually than knives, sharp objects, or fists.  An assault weapons ban (in reality a ban on future sales; proposed laws would not take a single so-called assault weapon off the streets, as the genie is already out of the bottle) would be aimed at a type of firearm that is rarely used in a homicide.

Third, contrary to those who want to ban them, there's no evidence that banning assault weapons would prevent mass shootings — none.

In reality, firearms are just the canaries in the coal mine.  If they disappeared in an instant, the root problems and trends will still be in play.  Access to guns has never been more restricted in America than right now, and violence has never been more in evidence.  (Take a look at any given weekend in Chicago or other urban centers where gun laws are the most restrictive.)

We've spent generations dismantling and marginalizing foundational institutions from the two-parent family to groups such as the Boy Scouts to centers of faith to standards of behavior.  We're now living with the results.  Simply banning an assault-style weapon is not the answer.

Image: Fibonacci Blue.

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