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Why Gun Control Supporters Are Wrong

In this section, we respond to the claims that gun control supporters most commonly make about "assault weapons" and "large" ammunition magazines.

Claim: "Expiration of the [federal 'assault weapon'] ban was a serious blow to public safety." To the contrary, since the ban expired, as the number of "assault weapons" that Americans own has risen by more than 2 million to an all-time high, the nation's total violent crime and murder rates have fallen to 37-year and 47-year lows, respectively.

Claim: The federal "assault weapon" ban "was effective" in reducing crime. "Assault weapons" have never been used in more than a small percentage of crime. Furthermore, firearm-related and non-firearm related crime were decreasing before the ban was imposed and have continued to decrease since the ban expired, all for reasons unrelated to gun control.

Claim: Reinstating the ban would disarm Mexican drug cartels. Not likely, for numerous reasons. Many of the cartels' guns don't come from the United States. The cartels have machine guns and other heavy weapons not sold in the United States. And, reinstating the federal "assault weapon" ban would only prohibit various firearms from being made in the U.S. with external attachments that don't affect how a gun operates.

Claim: "Assault weapons" are "the weapons of choice of criminals." That's what gun control supporters used to say about handguns. However, "assault weapons" have never been used in more than a small percentage of crime, according to federal, state and local government studies.

Claim: "Assault weapons" are "traced to crime." Contrary to what gun control supporters say, traces do not "trace to crime." Moreover, the BATFE and the Congressional Research Service say that trace results cannot be used to determine the degree to which any type of firearm is used to commit crime.

Claim: "Assault weapons" are "weapons of war made for military assaults on the battlefield." Contrary to what gun control supporters say, no semi-automatic firearm labeled as an "assault weapon" by the federal ban of 1994-2004 was designed for, or has been used by, military forces. Some "assault weapons" may look like military firearms, but they don't fire in the same way.

Claim: "Assault weapons" are "designed to be spray-fired from the hip." The only firearms that "spray-fire" are fully-automatic machine guns used by the military. By comparison, "assault weapons" fire only one shot when the trigger is pulled. The vast majority are rifles and shotguns, which, as federal law recognizes, are designed to be fired from the shoulder, not "the hip."

Claim: Semi-automatic "assault weapons" are "more lethal" than fully-automatic machine guns. Now we have heard everything. Do gun control supporters really believe they can convince the American people that civilian firearms are "more lethal" than machine guns used by our military personnel?

Claim: "Assault weapons" are "high-powered." Gun control supporters claim that "assault weapons" are "high-powered weapons" that "should frighten the public." However, the guns use the same ammunition as many other firearms, ranging from the least-powerful rifle and pistol ammunition, to medium-powered pistol, medium-powered rifle, and shotgun ammunition -- all much less powerful than many rifles used for hunting.

Claim: "Assault weapons" are "designed to be easily concealed." That's what gun control supporters used to say about handguns. However, federal law requires a rifle or shotgun to be at least 26 inches long, with a barrel of at least 16 or 18 inches long for rifles and shotguns, respectively -- hardly "concealable."

Claim: "Assault weapons" have "no self-defense purpose." That's something else that gun control supporters used to say about handguns. The claim is not only false, it contradicts their claim that "assault weapons" are "military" and "designed for killing people."

Claim: "Assault weapons" have "no sporting purpose." That's yet another thing that gun control supporters used to say about handguns. However, the AR-15, M1 and M1A are the rifles most commonly used for marksmanship competitions, and semi-automatic shotguns are ubiquitous in skeet, trap, sporting clays, and practical shooting competitions.

Claim: "Assault weapons" are of "no use for hunters." That's one more thing that gun control supporters used to say about handguns. However, the AR-15 is the fastest-growing rifle in terms of popularity among hunters, and semi-automatic and pump-action rifles and shotguns have been among the most widely used hunting firearms in the country for the last century.

and, finally. . .

"Who needs an 'assault weapon'"? Gun control supporters' favorite question is illegitimate. The burden of proof in a free society is not upon people who want to exercise rights, it's on people who want to restrict rights.