On December 11, UCLA law professor Adam Winkler argued that securing a ban on “assault rifles won’t reduce gun violence” and will hurt the gun control movement by revealing that “the only thing unique about assault rifles is their menacing name and look.”
Winkler said that “assault weapons” are simply semi-automatic weapons that fire one round every time the trigger is pulled, adding that they “aren’t really weapons of war.”
Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Winkler explained how “assault weapons” became so popular:
Around the same time the machine gun ban went into effect, gun makers started marketing ordinary rifles that look like military machine guns. Colt’s AR-15, for example, mirrored the U.S. Armed Forces’ M-16: matte black finish, lightweight materials and a pistol grip.
These rifles are easy to use, even for beginners. They are accurate, have little kick and are highly customizable with add-ons such as special sights and grips. In part because of these attributes, and in part because of their sleek military styling, these guns have become hugely popular among law-abiding gun owners.
As a matter of functionality, these guns are just like other rifles. They’re more powerful than some handguns and rifles, and less powerful than others.
Winkler goes on to look at “assault weapons” bans that have been implemented at the state and national levels, and he shows that none of them have been effective crime-fighting tools because the most commonly used firearm for crime is not an “assault weapon.” Rather, it is a handgun.
For example, Breitbart News previously reported that less than one percent of deaths in 2011 was gun-related. The percentage of gun-related deaths–when viewed against the backdrop of all deaths–was .34 percent. But if we isolate rifles–removing handgun and shotgun-related deaths–the number plummets, as the percentage of rifle-related deaths was .012 percent. And as low as .012 percent appears to be, it must be noted that that percentage includes all rifles–not just “assault rifles.” If we narrow the search to “assault rifles” alone, the percentage of deaths tied to such weapons would actually fall below .012 percent.
At the same time, the percentage of overall deaths resulting from falls off surfaces like rocks and ladders was 1 percent.
The left’s war on “assault weapons” is misplaced–at best.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.