Good article from LA Times


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Krag
June 28, 2005, 11:39 AM
Published Tuesday, June 28, 2005, in Los Angeles Times

The Big Lie of the Assault Weapons Ban: The death of the law hasn't
brought a rise in crime -- just the opposite.

By John R. Lott, Jr.

This wasn't supposed to happen. When the federal assault weapons ban ended on Sept. 13, 2004, gun crimes and police
killings were predicted to surge. Instead, they have declined.

For a decade, the ban was a cornerstone of the gun control movement. Sarah Brady, one of the nation's leading gun control
advocates, warned that "our streets are going to be filled with AK-47s and Uzis." Life without the ban would mean
rampant murder and bloodshed.

Well, more than nine months have passed and the first crime numbers are in. Last week, the FBI announced that the number
of murders nationwide fell by 3.6% last year, the first drop since 1999. The trend was consistent; murders kept on
declining after the assault weapons ban ended.

Even more interesting, the seven states that have their own assault weapons bans saw a smaller drop in murders than the 43
states without such laws, suggesting that doing away with the ban actually reduced crime. (States with bans averaged a
2.4% decline in murders; in three states with bans, the number of murders rose. States without bans saw murders fall by
more than 4%.)

And the drop was not just limited to murder. Overall, violent crime also declined last year, according to the FBI, and the
complete statistics carry another surprise for gun control advocates. Guns are used in murder and robbery more frequently
then in rapes and aggravated assaults, but after the assault weapons ban ended, the number of murders and robberies fell
more than the number of rapes and aggravated assaults.

It's instructive to remember just how passionately the media hyped the dangers of "sunsetting" the ban. Associated Press
headlines warned "Gun shops and police officers brace for end of assault weapons ban." It was even part of the
presidential campaign: "Kerry blasts lapse of assault weapons ban." An Internet search turned up more than 560 news
stories in the first two weeks of September that expressed fear about ending the ban. Yet the news that murder and other
violent crime declined last year produced just one very brief paragraph in an insider political newsletter, the Hotline.

The fact that the end of the assault weapons ban didn't create a crime wave should not have surprised anyone. After all,
there is not a single published academic study showing that these bans have reduced any type of violent crime.

Research funded by the Justice Department under the Clinton administration concluded only that the effect of the assault
weapons ban on gun violence "has been uncertain." The authors of that report released their updated findings last August,
looking at crime data from 1982 through 2000 (which covered the first six years of the federal law). The latest version
stated: "We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation's recent drop in gun violence."

Such a finding was only logical. Though the words "assault weapons" conjure up rapid-fire military machine guns, in fact
the weapons outlawed by the ban function the same as any semiautomatic and legal hunting rifle. They fire the same
bullets at the same speed and produce the same damage. They are simply regular deer rifles that look on the outside like
AK-47s.

For gun control advocates, even a meaningless ban counts. These are the same folks who have never been bashful about
scare tactics, predicting doom and gloom when they don't get what they want. They hysterically claimed that blood would
flow in the streets after states passed right-to-carry laws letting citizens carry concealed handguns, but that never occurred.
Thirty-seven states now have right-to-carry laws and no one is seriously talking about rescinding them or citing
statistics about the laws causing crime.

Gun controllers' fears that the end of the assault weapons ban would mean the sky would fall were simply not true. How
much longer can the media take such hysteria seriously when it is so at odds with the facts?

John R. Lott Jr., a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of "More Guns, Less Crime"
(University of Chicago, 2000) and "The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You've Heard About Gun Control Is
Wrong"

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GunGoBoom
June 28, 2005, 12:52 PM
God bless that man. He is able to calmly rationally speak the truth, due to training as a social scientist. If this ran in the LA Times, I'm very surprised indeed.

BostonGeorge
June 28, 2005, 12:56 PM
What's going on at the LA Times?!?! Somebody seriously dropped the ball letting that through.

[/sarcasm]

Bobarino
June 28, 2005, 01:36 PM
while i like Lott and his battling on behalf of firearms owners, in my opinion, states passing shall issue CCW laws probably have had more effect on reducing crime that the AWB expiring. i have no numbers to back that up, just a hunch.

Bobby

wolf
June 28, 2005, 04:48 PM
the la times will have lots of replies to Lotts article...being that a sheriffs deputy was shot & killed this wkend..along with many others that did not make the news..it will only be ridiculed as "gun nut" fantasy .. Im sure the Times will have another editorial soon re: guns/ammo registration/ban etc

wolf

Monkeyleg
June 28, 2005, 07:15 PM
"Even more interesting, the seven states that have their own assault weapons bans saw a smaller drop in murders than the 43
states without such laws, suggesting that doing away with the ban actually reduced crime."

Sorry, but he undermined his argument with that statement.

GW
June 28, 2005, 07:34 PM
How did he undermine anything with that statement?
All he did was say the numbers suggest a trend

louis2dogs
June 28, 2005, 07:42 PM
Well...implying causality from a statistic is not really scientific...tempting as it is in this case.

Lou

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