We Banned Assault Weapons Before … And It Didn’t Work
Maybe they are too young to know, or have faulty memories, but whatever the reason, all those pushing for a ban on “assault weapons” in the wake of the Florida school shooting ignore the fact that the last time the country imposed such a ban it failed to make a measurable difference.
Nevertheless, Democrats have already introduced two bills that would outlaw the sale of weapons like the AR-15, based mainly on various cosmetic features of the guns, and limit the size of magazines allowed. And the press has been playing up the issue with relentless fervor.
What nobody seems to want to acknowledge, however, is that the very ban being proposed by Democrats was in effect for 10 years — from 1994 to 2004.
It was part of a larger crime bill signed by President Clinton after a spate of shootings created a similar outrage in the public. Like today, polls showed widespread support for the ban, and even President Reagan backed it.
Nevertheless, Clinton barely mentioned the gun ban in his lengthy remarks on the broader crime bill, saying only that “we will finally ban these assault weapons from our street that have no purpose other than to kill.”
Like the current proposals, the previous ban forbid the sale of certain menacing-looking semi-automatic rifles and handguns, and banned the sale of magazines that could hold more than 10 rounds. Like the current proposals, it grandfathered in “assault weapons” sold before the ban went into effect.