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Fact Check The Left: Let's Dive into This ABC News Piece About the Assault Weapons Ban

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

They just don’t care. Maybe that’s where we got off the wrong foot in our counteroffensive concerning false media narratives on firearms and the Second Amendment. It was never about being accurate. It was about the narrative. We saw that explicitly and in its mature form when the Russian collusion nonsense was in full swing. The media has long mucked up firearm lexicon and legal precedent. Most of the things the media and the anti-gun Left want are already laws. The rest is beyond extraneous that will do nothing but hurt law-abiding Americans’ ability to exercise their constitutional rights. It also won’t enhance public safety, hence the proposed ATF ban on pistol brace stabilizers. All this will do is put 10-40 million Americans in legal jeopardy for doing nothing wrong. And with the Biden presidency crashing and burning, the media has decided to rehash another lie about the so-called assault weapons ban.

First, it’s a fake term. Second, it’s been repackaged yet again as a law that curbed violent crime. It didn’t. It was a trash law, but there were perks. It helped destroy the Democratic Party during the 1994 midterms and forever split the party on the issue. That’s why after Sandy Hook, an amendment to reimpose it in the failed Manchin-Toomey bill was easily defeated. It was a bipartisan legislative skinning, to be honest. That didn’t stop ABC News from peddling this myth:

…in 1989, an AK-47 was used to kill five children at a Stockton, California, elementary school, leading California to become the first state to enact an assault weapons ban, Klarevas said. That was followed by two other high-profile mass shootings with semiautomatic pistols -- one in San Francisco and one on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train -- in 1993.

Those shootings were the impetus for the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, signed into effect by President Bill Clinton in 1994, stopping the manufacture, sale, transfer and possession of these types of firearms.

The federal law led to a decrease in gun massacre incidents where six or more victims are killed, Klarevas wrote in a report he issued last year as an expert witness in a federal court case challenging California's ban on assault weapons. When compared to data from 1984 to 1994, the U.S. saw a 43% drop in gun massacre deaths and a 26% decline in gun massacre deaths involving assault weapons in 1994 to 2004, according to his report.

The federal ban was not renewed by Congress and expired in 2004. Gun massacre incidents involving these weapons then skyrocketed from 2004 to 2014, jumping 167% compared to the 10 years the federal law was in effect, Klarevas' report said, and active shooter incidents with different guns overall have been steadily climbing over the last two decades, according to FBI data, which does not break down murders by exact model of gun used.

While there's no federal assault weapons ban now, Washington, D.C., and seven states -- California, New Jersey, Hawaii, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts and New York -- have banned the possession of certain kinds of these firearms, and the rules vary state to state. According to Klarevas' report, "In the past 30 years, accounting for population, states with assault weapons bans in place experienced 54% fewer gun massacres involving the use of assault weapons and 67% fewer deaths resulting from such attacks perpetrated with assault weapons."

You get the gist. The law curbed violent crime. It did not. For starters, rifles and shotguns aren’t used in most firearm-related crimes and homicides. It’s not even close. Second, even liberals who have combed through the numbers honestly know that the assault weapons ban being a major vehicle in crime reduction is a myth. Take Lois Beckett’s piece in The New York Times seven years ago:

…in the 10 years since the previous ban lapsed, even gun control advocates acknowledge a larger truth: The law that barred the sale of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 made little difference.

It turns out that big, scary military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do.

In 2012, only 322 people were murdered with any kind of rifle, F.B.I. data shows.

The continuing focus on assault weapons stems from the media’s obsessive focus on mass shootings, which disproportionately involve weapons like the AR-15, a civilian version of the military M16 rifle.


Banning sales of military-style weapons resonated with both legislators and the public: Civilians did not need to own guns designed for use in war zones.

On Sept. 13, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed an assault weapons ban into law. It barred the manufacture and sale of new guns with military features and magazines holding more than 10 rounds. But the law allowed those who already owned these guns — an estimated 1.5 million of them — to keep their weapons.

The policy proved costly. Mr. Clinton blamed the ban for Democratic losses in 1994. Crime fell, but when the ban expired, a detailed study found no proof that it had contributed to the decline.

The ban did reduce the number of assault weapons recovered by local police, to 1 percent from roughly 2 percent.

“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,” a Department of Justice-funded evaluation concluded.


Most Americans do not know that gun homicides have decreased by 49 percent since 1993 as violent crime also fell, though rates of gun homicide in the United States are still much higher than those in other developed nations. A Pew survey conducted after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., found that 56 percent of Americans believed wrongly that the rate of gun crime was higher than it was 20 years ago.

Now, granted violent crime has spiked due to Democrat-run cities gutting cash bail and declaring all-out war on law enforcement. It’s nowhere near 1993 levels, but it has become a topic on the minds of voters. The fact that most Americans didn’t know gun crime had dropped 49 percent since 1993 and remained that way even after the ban lapsed is a media oversight. The liberal media didn’t do their jobs because—well—it went against the narrative. It’s handguns you want to target if you want to get heavy-handed on gun crime but look at the polling regarding a handgun ban and you’ll see why no one will touch it. It’s insanely unpopular and unconstitutional. And ABC News also had a piece about handguns being the most used firearm when it comes to homicide, so stop lying guys. The data is there. They ignore it. It’s about the narrative for them, so this ABC News piece is straight garbage—but there are enough liberal dolts who will believe this tripe. 

As with anything now, expect most, but not all, pieces from these guys to be intentionally misleading. 


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