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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fact Checking Senator Feinstein on the Assault Weapons Ban

On the 20th Anniversary of the passage of the Clinton Gun Ban, California Senator Diane Feinstein issued a press release stating that the ban was a success and should be reinstated.  But ProPublica has called out Senator Feinstein on her claims:
But gun violence experts say the exact opposite. "There is no compelling evidence that it saved lives," Duke University public policy experts Philip Cook and Kristin Goss wrote in their book "The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know." 
A definitive study of the 1994 law – which prohibited the manufacture and sale of semiautomatic guns with "military-style features" such pistol grips or bayonet mounts as well as magazines holding more than ten bullets – found no evidence that it had reduced overall gun crime or made shootings less lethal. "We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation's recent drop in gun violence," the Department of Justice-funded study concluded in 2004. "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."
ProPublica notes that the original study Feinstein sighted as proof the ban worked was based on a flawed assumption - that criminals who still owned so-called "high capacity" magazines would not use them in crime.  You see, the law only banned the manufacture of new magazines, it didn't confiscate those already owned.  The 2004 study found that the use of "high capacity" magazines in crimes either remained steady or slightly increased.  Additionally a Department of Justice memorandum that the NRA obtained in early 2013 noted that the only way a ban on so-called assault weapons or "high capacity" magazines would be successful would be if those owned by the public were confiscated, which is exactly what Feinstein wants.

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