September 17, 2019

NARRATIVE HARDEST HIT: Research refutes ‘assault weapon’ ban, buybacks.

The report goes on to explain that the law’s larger impact on overall gun violence was minimal, because the banned weapons were rarely involved in criminal acts in the first place. According to the FBI, rifles — a broader category that lumps together your grandpappy’s hunting rifle with military-style rifles — constitute an average of 340 homicides per year. Though any loss of life is tragic, these numbers don’t exactly rise to the occasion in solving what is commonly characterized as a national epidemic.

But this debate isn’t about just any old rifle, right? The scope of this debate is often targets one specific style of the rifle: the infamous AR-15.

Again, analysis regarding the AR-15 — the so-called “weapon of choice” of mass shooters — produces less-than-impressive numbers. Between 2007 and 2018, 173 people were killed by mass shooters using an AR-15, according to a New York Times analysis — roughly, 15 per year. (For perspective, 13 people die per year from vending machines falling on them.) The fearmongering regarding this weapon becomes even more apparent when one considers the estimated 8 million AR-15s currently in circulation — the vast majority of which will never be involved in a crime.

This sizable arsenal usually brings up another problematic proposal: mandatory buybacks. Such a program — à la Australia’s National Firearms Agreement (NFA), circa 1996 — could potentially remove these weapons and reduce the risk of them being used to commit future acts of violence.

Yet again, the research suggests otherwise. Scholars increasingly refute any correlation between NFA and declines in violence.

Bad guys gonna bad guy, but firearms can help level the playing field.

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