By Larry Keane, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, National Shooting Sports Foundation
During his recent visit to the White House, Mexico President Felipe Calderon renewed his call for a U.S. assault weapons ban as a solution to the drug cartel-caused violence that plagues his country. He also claimed, according to columnist Bill Press, that violence levels are directly related to the number of guns in circulation. Both of these assertions are demonstrably false.
Calderon’s pleading for an assault weapons ban (AWB) ignores what multiple studies have shown: that the AWB, which existed from 1994 to 2004, was not an effective crime-fighting tool, largely because they were never used in crime in the first place. Also, since the ban expired, Americans have purchased millions of modern sporting rifles — rifles based on the AR platform whose ownership was restricted by the AWB — yet at the same time violent crime has continued to decline in the United States to its lowest level in decades, demonstrating there is no correlation between the number of guns in circulation and the level of violence.