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6/19/2005

Did the Assault Weapons Ban Make a Difference?

"Since the assault weapons ban was allowed to expire, it has been open season for criminals who want the most dangerous types of military-style assault weapons," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who in March introduced legislation to revive the old ban.
Feinstein said that the expiration of the ban she fought hard to get in 1994 "will have deadly consequences on the streets of America."

But has it really made much of a difference? Are the streets less safe?

There is no hard evidence one way or another.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has no statistics that would show whether there's been an uptick in sales of assault-style weapons, and the Department of Justice has no statistics that would show whether there's been an increase in their use in crimes.

Gun manufacturers say their shops are busy, but only because the 10-year ban created pent-up demand for weapons with features that weren't available.

"It's changed our market a bit," said Mark Westrom, president of Armalite, an Illinois company that produces the military-style weapons.


OK, here is a hint: why not look at the crime rate? Why can't anyone just mention that the murder rate FELL last year?
The FBI data for last year can be seen here.

Thanks as always to Jason Morin.

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