The law had another unforeseen result. As companies looked to introduce new models of pistols, they determined that if they were going to be forced to make pistols limited to a magazine capacity of just 10 rounds, it would be advantageous for them to make these new pistols as small as possible for the concealed carry market. The Glock 26 and Kahr K9 were introduced the following year, and were among the first of a new breed of powerful, ultra-concealable handguns known as “subcompacts.” Similar designs from other companies quickly followed.
Objectively, based purely on the numbers, the assault weapons ban increased both the number of and public acceptance of semi-automatic, military-style rifles, and created a new class of powerful, concealable handguns.
Put another way, the assault weapons ban not only put more guns into the market, it encouraged the development of smaller, more powerful, semi-automatic firearms.
Why, then, would the Obama administration want to reintroduce the ban?
Rest assured, if the administration could find broad support for a reinstatement of the expired ban, it would do everything in its power to fix the mistakes of the past.
Instead of banning a list of guns by name or arbitrary cosmetic features or banning just the manufacture of magazines, they would attempt to model their ban on some of the more restrictive state bans, such as those in California, Maryland, and New York, which would no doubt result in more unintended (and sometimes unbearably cute) consequences.
Attempting to impose such a restrictive and prohibitionist law is far harder today in a nation where judicial interpretations favoring individual gun rights are ascendant. It would take a dramatic and drastic turn of events to undermine the growing gun rights movement and to generate the sort of popular support for more national gun control laws.
Such firearms would have to be used, repeatedly and with great affect, to generate massive levels of violence and the media furor needed to revive a flagging gun control movement. It would almost take a massive covert operation delivering thousands of weapons to violent felons to make this even potentially viable.
Luckily, we all know that can’t happen here.
Read Part One of this series here.