In my previous post, I noted that “Mainstream media outlets in the U.S. seem to have no qualms at all about making statements that are deceptive at best or outright lying in order to promote this gun-control agenda.” Here’s another example from the New York Times, where the editors proclaim that it is “propaganda” to say that “the evidence shows the original 10-year ban on assault weapons was ineffective.”

So, then, the evidence shows that the ban was effective, right? The Times would have you believe so:

A long–range, independent study issued as Congress allowed the ban to expire in 2004 found criminal use of assault weapons had fallen by one-third or more as a share of gun crimes in major jurisdictions.

But here’s the thing. I actually read that study, and do you know what it says? It says that there is no solid evidence that the ban was effective. Here are some of the relevant facts:

As I also noted in my last post, the rate of violent crime in the U.S., including gun crime, has plummeted in the U.S. since the early 1990s. It was dropping before the ban, and it has continued to drop since it ended.

  • Assault weapons “were used in only a were used in only a small fraction of gun crimes prior to the ban: about 2% according to most studies and no more than 8%”.
  • The media has focused most of its attention on so-called “assault rifles”, and in particular the AR-15, which is not an assault rifle; it is a semi-automatic rifle and not capable of automatic fire or three-round bursts. It is often called a “military-style” weapon simply because it looks like a version of the M-16 assault rifle. While Americans are supposed to be terrified of “assault rifles”, the decline in the use of assault weapons the Times refers to in the localities included in the study (Baltimore, Miami, Milwaukee, Boston, St. Louis, and Anchorage) was “due primarily to a reduction in the use of assault pistols (APs), which are used in crime more commonly than assault rifles (ARs). There has not been a clear decline in the use of ARs….”
  • Despite the decline in the use of “assault weapons” (AWs) the Times refers to, “the share of gun crimes involving AWs is similar to that before the ban” down from the estimate of use in 2% of gun crimes to 1.7%.”

Furthermore, the evidence indicated that “other factors” than the ban “were at work in accelerating the decline” in gun violence. Additionally, the study “examined trends in measures of victims per gun murder incident and wounds per gunshot victim,” but those analyses “revealed no ban effects, thus failing to show confirming evidence of the mechanism through which the ban was hypothesized to affect the gun murder rate.

While the ban outlawed “large capacity magazines” (LCMs), the study found that “criminal use of LCMs was rising or steady through at least the latter 1990s”. The study found that, “Although criminal use of AWs has declined since the ban, this reduction was offset through at least the late 1990s by steady or rising use of other guns equipped with LCMs…. Because offenders can substitute non-banned guns and small magazines for banned AWs and LCMs, there is not a clear rationale for expecting the ban to reduce assaults and robberies with guns.” It remained an open question “whether a 10-round limit on magazine capacity will affect the outcomes of enough gun attacks to measurably reduce gun injuries and deaths.” Also, “relatively few attacks involve more than 10 shots fired.” The study stated that “Attributing the decline in gun murders and shootings to the AW-LCM ban is problematic…, considering that crimes with LCMs appear to have been steady or rising since the ban. Gun crimes after the ban were “no less likely to cause death or injury than those before the ban, contrary to what we might expect if crimes with AWs and LCMs had both declined.” On the contrary, “gun attacks appear to have been more lethal and injurious since the ban.” The reduction in the use of “assault weapons” in gun crimes was “likely to have been outweighed by steady or rising use of non-banned semiautomatics with LCMs, which are used in crime much more frequently than AWs.”

The study stated clearly that “we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence.” Furthermore, “Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.

In another previous post, I discussed a paper in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy that discussed how not only was there no correlation between having stricter gun control laws and less violent crime, but just the opposite. One of the points the authors made was that:

There is no social benefit in decreasing the availability of guns if the result is only to increase the use of other means of suicide and murder, resulting in more or less the same amount of death. Elementary as this point is, proponents of the more guns equal more death mantra seem oblivious to it.

The Times is certainly no exception with regards to being oblivious to the ineffectiveness of gun control laws for reducing violent crime.

So what does the evidence show? That the gun ban was ineffective at contributing to the trend of reduction in gun violence. How is it that pointing this fact out is “propaganda”, but deliberately deceiving readers by suggesting that the evidence shows that the ban was very effective and cherry-picking a single data point while willfully ignoring everything that contradicts their assertion is not?

For the Times to accuse others of propaganda is a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black.

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