Chris Murphy: Federal ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban Would Have Prevented Vegas Attack

Participants fire their infantry and assault rifles during the traditional 'Ruetlischiessen' (Ruetli shooting) competition at the Ruetli meadow in central Switzerland November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo
REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) says the federal “assault weapons” ban that lapsed in 2004 would have prevented the Las Vegas attack, had that ban still been in force today.

This claim shows a deep misunderstanding of the “assault weapons” ban, which did not ban the possession or purchase of “assault weapons.” Rather, it limited importation and mandated types that could be manufactured in the U.S., thus driving up prices. For a man of means like Stephen Paddock, paying the higher price for an “assault weapon” would have been no problem.

According to CBS News, Murphy was asked to respond to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) affirmation that no law would have stopped the Vegas attacker from striking. He said, “I respectfully disagree with my colleague.” And while admitting that Paddock had no criminal record to prevent passage of a background check or ownership of firearms, Murphy suggested that limiting the types of firearms Paddock could have owned would have made all the difference.

He said, “What if [the attacker] did not have an assault weapon? What if the assault weapons ban still applied? What if he was up in that hotel with a pistol or a shot gun or a non-semi-automatic rifle? Maybe he would have gone through with the crime, but I guarantee you less people would be dead.”

Again–the “assault weapons” ban Murphy references did not prevent the ownership of “assault weapons.” And although it contained a “high capacity” magazine ban too, Breitbart News reported that it did not pose an out-right ban on ownership of “high capacity” magazines either.

Murphy’s appeal to such bans is a smoke-and-mirrors ploy to enact more gun control for the sake of gun control; to re-enact a ban that did not really ban anything, but which gave the impression that Democrats cared.

Moreover, looking at it from another angle, even if we had a ban that really did prohibit such weapons, why would we expect an outcome different that the one we have seen in Paris, where 130 people were gunned down in one night–November 13, 2015–by terrorists with “assault weapons.”

Murphy is missing a simple point–gun control does not control criminals or terrorists, but it does make their victims easier to kill.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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