Even after the 2022 midterms saw Joe Biden’s party lose control of the House of Representatives, where anti-gun bills were given a free pass under former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Biden remains committed to pushing his gun-ban agenda.
On Nov. 24, 2022, Biden attacked the majority of American gun owners by claiming there was something “sick” about the firearms Americans overwhelmingly choose to defend themselves and their families. The president stated, “the idea we still allow semiautomatic weapons to be purchased is sick. It’s just sick. It has no, no social redeeming value. Zero. None.”
Biden went on to repeat his intent to enact a ban on certain commonly owned semi-automatic firearms, like the AR-15, that he and other gun-control supporters mischaracterize as “assault weapons.”
This policy doesn’t work. Americans can be sure of this because, as Biden likes to remind the public, a federal “assault weapons” ban has been tried once before (1994-2004). The ban also prohibited standard-capacity magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds.
The key reason why a so-called “assault weapons” ban cannot have a meaningful impact on violent crime is that the targeted firearms, or any other long guns (rifles and shotguns), are rarely used to commit violent crime.
Faced with the reality that so-called “assault weapons” are rarely used to commit violent crime, a 1997 Department of Justice-funded study of the 1994 ban by the Urban Institute determined that, “At best, the assault weapons ban can have only a limited effect on total gun murders, because the banned weapons and magazines were never involved in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders.”
A 2004 follow-up Department of Justice-funded study came to a similar conclusion. The study determined that “AWs [assault weapons] and LCMs [large capacity magazines] were used in only a minority of gun crimes prior to the 1994 federal ban,” “relatively few attacks involve more than 10 shots fired,” and “the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.” Presented with overwhelming evidence of the ban’s inefficacy, Congress chose not to renew the gun-control measure.
In spite of this, Biden seems determined to try to ban not just so-called “assault weapons,” but also now seems to be going after all semi-automatic firearms, by implying anyone who owns them must be, in his mind, “sick.”