By James Bouffard
Gun control has become relevant again in the aftermath of another mass shooting. As always, there are calls for action right now. Late night hosts pull on our heartstrings with teary-eyed pleas begging someone to do something and politicians are throwing around the idea of an assault weapons ban again.
Most Americans are fine with this too, with polls finding around 60 percent of people would support such a law. Unfortunately, this is not an issue where public opinion complements the data.
Breaking down the statistics illustrates why an assault weapons ban would be so ineffective: Around 33,000 gun-related deaths occurred in America last year.
According to the pro-gun control Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, the majority of these deaths are from suicide. Around 11,500 were murder. Of all these, the Gun Violence Archive found less than two percent involved assault weapons.
Obviously any preventable gun deaths are too many, but it isn’t like America hasn’t experimented with an assault weapons ban before. They were illegal in the U.S. from 1994 to 2004 under the AWB. Various groups and researches reviewed the findings. Their conclusion? The ban resulted in little to no reduction in crime.
Gun control advocates argue the AWB did not go far enough. However, even if a new ban was introduced, with all possible loopholes closed, there would still be millions of assault weapons in circulation.
If the government decided to buy them all back, then the only people who would own them would be criminals. Secondly, there are always other means available to anyone who wants to commit mass murder if assault weapons are not available.
The minuscule benefits of an assault weapons ban has to be considered against the corrosive effects it would have on liberty: The Second Amendment was written so citizens could protect themselves from a tyrannical government.
Today, many people laugh at this argument and dismiss it as fear mongering, but history is replete with examples of relatively democratic societies devolving into tyranny. Germany and Japan are two of the most obvious cases, but countries such as Turkey and Venezuela have become increasingly totalitarian in recent years.
Citizens must be able to protect themselves against this constantly looming threat. An armed citizenry enabled the Hungarian uprising of 1957 and similar events. Even if these revolutions are not always successful, the right to bear arms at least creates an obstacle for tyrants and enables individuals to protect themselves.
An assault weapons ban would prevent Americans from defending themselves against the government and negate the whole purpose of the Second Amendment, all for a possible and immeasurable drop in crime. It would not make America safer at all.