Flashback– National Institute of Justice: Federal ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban Did Not Reduce Crime

Ryan Houston/Getty Images
Ryan Houston/Getty Images

As the federal “assault weapons” ban was about to expire in 2004, the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) reported that the ban could not be credited with any reduction in crime.

The Washington Times quoted University of Pennsylvania professor Christopher Koper, author of the NIJ report, saying, “We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence.”

The NIJ report continued, “The ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

The report put matters into perspective by pointing out that “assault weapons” were “rarely used in gun crimes even before the ban.” In other words, “assault weapons” were not a weapon of choice before the ban, so why would banning them be expected to contribute to a drop in crime?

On January 18, 2013, Breitbart News reported that “assault weapons” were tied to less than .012 recent of U.S deaths in 2011.” This goes to the point of the NIJ study, that “assault weapons” were “rarely used” in crime to begin with. The guns are bulky and difficult to conceal, making them a bad choice for criminals seeking to avoid detection.

GQ magazine made a similar point in response to Hillary Clinton’s “assault weapons” ban campaign during the presidential election.

They reported:

After every high-profile shooting, Democrats like Hillary Clinton call for a ban on “assault weapons,” the military-style rifles that have been dubbed the weapon of choice for mass shooters. There’s a problem with this popular liberal idea: banning these guns would not do much to save American lives. Only 3.6 percent of America’s gun murders are committed with any kind of rifle, according to FBI data. The majority of gun murders are committed with handguns.

GQ added, “The Democrat staffers who wrote the now-expired 1994 federal assault weapon ban knew it was a largely symbolic policy.”

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.