Brady Bill 1994, did it have an effect on crime?

Not open for further replies.


Dec 4, 2005
Florida Panhandle
So I'm debating this liberal in California who claims that the Assault Weapon Ban caused murder rates to drop 50 percent, I refuted with statistics that very few assault weapons were actually used in crimes and yet he claims that the bill reduced crime and sent statistics showing Californias murder rate going down each year. Any ideas for debating this or how factual this is?
The national murder rate dropped ~40%, but had been trending downward since 1991.
California's rate did fall pretty close to 43% from 1994, and they had been trending downard since a peak in 1980. However, suggesting that the AWB caused a decrease in murders is saying that AWs were used in murders to begin with (as you said - if he won't accept this, then there's really no arguing. It's pretty clear).

Correlation =/= causation. Your liberal debate buddy needs to find some substantial evidence proving that the AW was the direct cause of the declining murder rates. You could just as easily (and incorrectly) say Jimmy Carter is to blame for the runup to that peak in 1980 - same kind of logic.
The murder rate dropped, but given that very few of the banned weapons were used in crimes before or after the ban, there was no connection between the two things.

Air is cleaner in LA than it was in 1950, yet the number of home foreclosures this year is much higher than it was 50 years ago...:p
Just wanted to chime in with some stat knowledge. Basically, you can't compare one factor to the murder rate. You're leaving out a whole group of other factors that contribute to the murder rate. In statistics this is called omission of a relevant variable and it seriously skews the statistics, and no useful information comes from this setup.

I actually did a research paper on the effect of the AWB on violent crime rates in the US for my econometrics class last quarter and the most significant factors in the violent crime rate was lack of education and poverty. Interestingly enough, two-parent families seemed to increase the crime rate as well, but the data also showed that increases in two-parent families reduced the effects of lack of education and poverty (cancelling it out).

Oh yeah, the effect of the AWB was that it did indeed decrease crime. But on a practical note, lack of education and poverty were about 100x more important in determining the violent crime rate.

And for anyone who's curious, the p-value was around 0.90, which means that my model explained 90% of the violent crime rate.
Weren't "assault weapons" used in something like 1% of crimes before, during, and after the ban? I don't see how it would affect the murder rate at all.
Weren't "assault weapons" used in something like 1% of crimes before, during, and after the ban? I don't see how it would affect the murder rate at all.

Yeah, like I said, the other factors played way way way way way way way way more heavily into the violent crime rate than "assault weapons."
First of all, the1994 "assault weapon" bait-and-switch wasn't the Brady Bill. The Brady Bill was a mandatory waiting period and optional background check, on handguns only, that passed in the early '90s and was eventually replaced by the NICS point-of-sale background check.

Since the 1994 Feinstein law didn't ban any guns, didn't significantly affect magazine capacities of long guns, and easily TRIPLED sales of AR-15 type rifles and civilian AK's, it is ludicrous to claim that it reduced violent crime. Less than 3% of murders involve ANY type of rifle, then or now. All rifles put together account for only half as many murders as shoes and bare hands.

The crime rate did drop during the '90s, but the drop started prior to 1994, and was the result of demographic shifts, rising incomes and job opportunities, and community policing instead of older, more distant/authoritarian approaches.
Posted by joop:
Oh yeah, the effect of the AWB was that it did indeed decrease crime.

^Hogwash! :barf:

Pre-ban manufactured "assault weapons" were grandfathered under the legislation, thus remained completely legal to sell.

I was on the gun show circuit during the entire 1994 through 2004 time period, and I can personally attest to the fact that pre-ban "assault weapons" remained perfectly legal for purchase during that entire time frame.

Thus there was never a lack of, nor an inability to purchase "assault weapons", during the entire life of the AWB. Tens of thousands of "assault weapons" were purchased by the public between 1994 and 2004, while the crime rate CONTINUED to drop steadily.

Our liberal friends also need to explain why rates for ALL types of violent crime went DOWN consistently and considerably, between about 1991 (BEFORE the AWB was enacted) and 2004.

The rate for forcible rape also dropped dramatically during that time period, and I quite frankly have never heard of a single case where a woman was raped at "assault weapon point". The use of "assault weapons" in forcible rapes is virtually non-existent, yet the rape rate dropped dramatically during that time period.

The REAL answers for the drop are quite simple, yet they blow by the comprehension levels of our liberal friends like a Nolan Ryan fastball. By the end of the 1980's, with such events as the FBI Miami shootout fresh in the minds of the public and police, everybody was fed up with runaway crime.

During the 1990's---local, state and federal LEA's stepped up their efforts to curb crime. Also, dozens of states enacted concealed carry laws, allowing law-abiding citizens to carry handguns on their persons and in their vehicles. The criminals no longer knew who was armed and who wasn't.

Handguns are probably used in about 98% of gun crimes, "assault weapons" maybe 1%, and other longarms about 1%. From 1994 through 2004, violent crime rates continued to drop dramatically, even though handguns were being sold to the public at a record rate. Tens of thousands of law-abiding citizens were obtaining CCP's and carrying concealed, yet the violent crime rate STILL dropped considerably.

All of which proves that both the AWB and Brady Bill were ABSOLUTELY IRRELEVANT and WORTHLESS when it came to curbing gun crime, whether perpetrated with "assault weapons" or handguns. The proliferation of law-abiding citizens obtaining handguns and concealed carry permits, played a FAR larger part in the decline than ANY of the gun control legislation schemes foisted on us by the Brady Bunch and other gun grabbing liberals.
Weren't "assault weapons" used in something like 1% of crimes before, during, and after the ban? I don't see how it would affect the murder rate at all.
FBI and ATF has it closer to 1/10 of 1%. Technically, not one legally owned "assault rifle" has been used in a crime. An assault rifle must have the ability to select from semi to full auto fire. Joe-Bob's AR15 simply does not have that ability, which makes it a center fire, magazine fed firearm...nothing more.

Here you go. It's dry reading, but very enlightening considering the CDC was foremost in recommending bans and restrictions of all firearms. They conclude that gun bans simply do not work, nor lower gun crime.
Correlation does not equal causation.

Give him the Center for Disease Control study "First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws " and Harvard study "Would banning firearms reduce murder and sucide."
Posted the following in the other thread:

First of all, the "Brady Bill" had nothing to do with the 1994 Feinstein law (the "assault weapon" bait-and-switch). The Brady Bill was a mandatory waiting period and optional background check, on handguns only, that was passed in the early '90s well prior to the Feinstein law.

The 1994 Feinstein law didn't ban any guns, just marketing under any of 19 names, and far more AR-15 type rifles and civilian AK's were sold in 1994 and after than in the previous several decades combined.

Taking H.R.1022 as the operative definition, more Americans lawfully own "assault weapons" than are licensed to hunt in this country, yet less than 3% of murders in this country involve ANY type of rifle ("assault weapon" or not). Twice as many people are murdered annually using shoes and bare hands as using all styles of rifles combined. And the rifle crime rate is no higher now than it was ten years ago.

The homicide rate did indeed decline in the '90s, due to demographic shifts, rising incomes and job opportunities, and the implementation of "community policing" strategies in lieu of older, more distant/authoritarian approaches.

Please point your friend to this thread:

Rifles, even small-caliber ones with modern styling, are not a crime problem in the United States and never have been.

FWIW, only 1 in 5 U.S. gun owners hunts. 80% of us are nonhunters, and we'd like to keep OUR guns too. The AR-15 platform is the most popular centerfire target rifle in the United States, and is also the #1 defensive carbine; the ammunition it uses (.223 Remington) is the #1 selling caliber of rifle caliber in the nation.

He is certainly free not to own one, but a lot more of us own "assault weapons" than own .270's.

More helpful info, from the TribTalk thread:



The crime decreases had nothing to do with the 1994 AWB, and in fact predate it. Not to mention the fact that the Feinstein non-ban easily tripled "assault weapon" sales. But rifles of any type, including "assault weapons," are the least misused of all firearms.

FWIW, I bought my "AK-47" (civilian SAR-1) during the "ban," in 2003 (it's a 2002 model).
Defensory said:
Posted by joop:
Oh yeah, the effect of the AWB was that it did indeed decrease crime.

.....more stuff....

The numbers say different. All your reasons (especially the law enforcement reasons) can be reasonably listed as part of the AWB factor. Statistics doesn't explain why or how, just that it is correlated in a statistically significant way.

benEzra said:
The crime decreases had nothing to do with the 1994 AWB

Please show a meaningful statistical analysis of those graphs before you conclude something like that.

Defensory said:
Handguns are probably used in about 98% of gun crimes, "assault weapons" maybe 1%, and other longarms about 1%.

As I mentioned above in my earlier post in this thread: the AWB was 100x less important than other factors in reducing the crime rate.
Please show a meaningful statistical analysis of those graphs before you conclude something like that.

That conclusion can be made without the graphs, and the graphs primarily illustrate that the rate was already trending downard far in advance of 1994, and shows that there are other factors primarily at work other than the AWB. For all intents, the AWB did have no measurable effect on murder rates. As assault weapons had little, if anything, to do with murders, it logically follows that they cannot be the cause of a much larger decrease murder rate (you can't put $1 into an empty jar and take $10 out).
Crime was already trending downwards.
Just prior was the start of the authoritarian police practices, and widespread militarization of local LEOs. There was some previous SWAT type teams, etc for a decade or two, but in general they were the exception prior to the early 90's. Those exceptions slowly grew during the late 80s into the early 90s to become the norm by the mid 90s.

Certain types of gangs were still new and had peaked in violence during the early 90's.
Around that point it became acceptable for tactical LEO units to patrol the streets many places, harass and arrest anyone wearing certain colors openly or looked a certain way etc...
They would go on to create special anti gang laws, enhancements, and essentialy a seperate system of justice for anyone claimed to be gang affiliated.

That did have a tremendous effect on crime because at the time most crime was gang related, and gangs prior were walking the streets with identifying marks and colors and in groups unopposed.
It after all was the right of citizens to do those things, unless doing something illegal.
All of that changed around that time period though, so anyone merely walking down the street that was suspicious could be slammed against a car or wall at gunpoint, searched, etc

Entire segments of Law Enforcement began to specialize in disrupting and causing trouble for gangs.
Because they were gangs, and most people were sick and tired of them, many extreme authoritarian and unconstitutional practices were allowed that made things much easier.
Being a gang member meant many of thier rights simply no longer existed, and it also meant they qualified for sentences and enhancements that practicly put them on a whole different judicial system.

Things like injunctions would come into place.
Anyone that was known to be a gang member could be told it was illegal for them to even contact or hang around other gang members, even if all parties wanted to hang around together and had commited no crimes.
If any of them even talk to eachother they can be charged with violating a court order.

These things have all had a major impact on gangs, but they are also what created the authoritarian mindset ripe for incidents like Ruby Ridge, Waco, and scores of less known incidents.
The mindsets that also allow additional rights to be rapidly taken away for your own protection.

It also gave tools to LEO that do not conform to our system of equality, and individual rights.
Just imagine if THR members had an court ordered injuction prohibiting anyone from associating with or communicating with another member because one person did somethign illegal.
That is what any group accused of being a gang can face.
Most of the people effected by such practices were inner city poor. Since it was actualy cleaning up the streets, those people losing individual rights and freedoms were just collateral damage.
The end justified the means.

Basicly the Brady Bill and Assault Weapon ban had no effect themselves on crime.
They are more a symptom of a widespread change in what the public was willing to allow government to do in order to combat crime. At that point many shortsighted people said ANYTHING.

Things that would effect crime, would not effect crime, as long as they promise in any way to effect crime etc all became law...Gangs were such a severe problem that anything that even claimed it might have an impact was signed into law.

So many things that had no effect on crime became law like the Brady Bill, and some things that did have an effect but destroyed the concepts of various individual freedoms also became acceptable.

When people feel desperate about either actual issues or media whipped up frenzies they will sign over many rights, and often times the government will never give them back.

The same thing would be repeated 10 years later with the war on terrorism. People handed over all sorts of rights and freedoms, many that will never be given back.

For example TSA has even said now with cockpit doors etc knives pose absolutely no threat to aircraft. That the primary threat they are concerned about is explosives.
Yet even though knives no longer pose any danger in that regard, sharp pointy things and knives have already been banned from aircraft. For that reason there is no reason to allow them. They are still potential weapons. They were banned and they will remain permanently banned, forever, even though the reason for the restriction no longer exists.

Many rights are the same way. The people can hand them over, but after a point they usualy will not get them back even if the reason they handed them over no longer exists.
Getting the government to give back something they were allowed to take away is a tedious battle for any individual thing.
Yet handing over any freedom is a speedy process.

Every 10-20 years people hand over many rights and freedoms.
Each time it is to solve the latest problem to arise. Most times those new restrictions and losses are permanent.
As it relates to firearms it is easy to trace.
The AWB bill mandated a government study to measure the effectiveness of the ban. The study found there was no measurable effect on crime. Does anyone have a link to the study?
Try this link.

Summary: Assault weapons in use prior to the ban were used in such a small percentage of crimes that the bill amounted to nothing more than "feel-good" legislation. Its measurable effectiveness in reducing crime was mixed at best.

Proponents of the ban say it was of insufficient duration to have a measurable effect, which of course justifies their desire to re-enact it - "do it right this time". No sunset provision. Its effectiveness couldn't be measured over a nine year period so forever would fix that, right?

The tangible effect of the ban was an enormous increase in the number of weapons specifically manufactured to comply with the ban. If the antis arguments were valid, that fact would seem to increase the number of crimes committed with these "assault-like" weapons. But that didn't occur; crimes continued their earlier decreasing trend.

As John Adams said, "facts are stubborn things." So, it would seem, are proponents of gun control.
Many rights are the same way. The people can hand them over, but after a point they usualy will not get them back even if the reason they handed them over no longer exists.
Why do so few people understand this?

The price (cost) of freedom is as high as it ever was, but its (perceived) value seems to be at an all time low. Actually, perceived value may be up just a tic from a few years ago.
Henry Bowman said:
The price (cost) of freedom is as high as it ever was, but its (perceived) value seems to be at an all time low.

If you've always had it you won't miss it until it's gone. Like a teenager in their first apartment. It's often a rude awakening when the first full electirc bill comes. ;)

Freedom is taken for granted because few in America know what it's like to not have it.

The book "Freakonomics" builds a good case on what caused crime to dramtically drop from the early 90s on- most of their conclusions was that the change of crime rate had very little to do with gun control or any other forms of policy making or changes in law enforcement in the 90s, but mostly to do with demographics changes.
I received a response from the anti-gun guy, this is what he said

"Wow, more BS from you.

Murder in the 1980's

1980 23,040
1981 22,520
1982 21,010
1983 19,310
1984 18,690
1985 18,980
1986 20,613
1987 20,096
1988 20,680
1989 21,500

1990 23,440
1991 24,700
1992 23,760
1993 24,530

Brady Bill and Assault Rifle Ban went into Effect

1994 23,330
1995 21,610
1996 19,650
1997 18,208
1998 16,914
1999 15,522
2000 15,586

President Bush Became President
(Gun lovers cheer by shooting each other)

2001 16,037
2002 16,229
2003 16,528
2004 16,148

Assault Rifle Ban was lifted

2005 16,740 (increase 3%)
2006 17,034 (increase 2%)

So murder rates just happen to decrease dramatically when the Brady Bill and Assault Rifle Ban went into effect in 1994.

Murder rates just happen to increase in 2005 when the Assault Rifle Ban expired.

Wow, what a dramatic coincidence of events.

Come on guys, stop the whole BS about gun control doesn't reduce crime. You guys are full of it. Full of BS.

All your hypothetical about gun control doesn't reduce crime because blah blah blah.. is proven wrong with real world results.

So shove it."

Any suggestions what to reply with?

"Please account for how many crimes were comitted with the weapons listed in the ban before, during and after its implementation."

Not open for further replies.