The key statistic that Feinstein cited in her recent press release — that the ban “was responsible for a 6.7 percent decrease in total gun murders, holding all other factors equal”— was rejected by researchers a decade ago.
In the ten years since the federal assault weapons ban expired, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has kept trying to renew the law, which she authored. In a press release this month honoring the 20th anniversary of the ban, she wrote, “The evidence is clear: the ban worked.”
But gun violence experts say the exact opposite. “There is no compelling evidence that it saved lives,” Duke University public policy experts Philip Cook and Kristin Goss wrote in their book “The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know.”
A definitive study of the 1994 law – which prohibited the manufacture and sale of semiautomatic guns with “military-style features” such pistol grips or bayonet mounts as well as magazines holding more than ten rounds – found no evidence that it had reduced overall gun crime or made shootings less lethal. “We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence,” the Department of Justice-funded study concluded in 2004. “Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”