This post contains excerpts from a post by statistician William M. Briggs. His full title is “Firearm Homicides Dropping. Assault Weapons Ban Not Correlated With Decrease In Homicides. No Need For New Restrictions.”
I found two of his graphs especially interesting regarding the homicide rate during the time that assault weapons were banned.
The first compares the relative number of homicides by hand guns and “other firearms” which presumably includes assault weapons. Notice that during the assault weapons ban, homicides by “other firearms” increased while homicides by handguns decreased:
The next graph shows relative percent homicide by method. Briggs notes “The two rivals, equaling or exceeding in lethal importance to ‘assault’ weapons (and other non-handguns), are knives and other types of weapons, such as poisons, strangulations, and fire. Yet we never hear even rumors of politicians wishing to ban fire. Though we do hear, all too often, of impaired officials banning children for pointing their fingers.”
Briggs maintains that assault weapons bans are ineffective. He concludes with this statement:
None of the statistics presented here are new or unknown. They are available to every politician, and indeed every lawmaker with the word “ban” on his lips knows them well (otherwise they are incompetent). Each of these people, like you now, knows that limiting “assault” weapons will do little to change the homicide rate. Yet still they want to ban. Why?
Could it be—this is reasonable to ask—that they have a different agenda in mind? Did we not hear many elected officials (from both major parties) tell us that guns are “only for hunting”, and did not some call for the confiscation of all guns? I suspect that this is the sole reason for the current flurry, the drive to “never let a crisis go to waste”: to strip citizens of their guns. Not all at once, for that would lead to rebellion, but slowly, incrementally, a death through many small paper(work)cuts.
His full post on this matter: http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=7056
Wryheat comment: If Briggs’ statistics are right, a ban on assault weapons will accomplish little.