NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 12, 2005

Gun control advocates predicted that last year's end to the federal assault weapons ban would bring a surge in gun crimes and police killings. But murder rates have actually fallen since then, says John R. Lott Jr. of the American Enterprise Institute.

According to the FBI, 2004 crime statistics reveal:

  • Nationwide, murders fell by 3.6 percent, the first drop since 1999; the decline continued even after the assault weapons ban expired.
  • States with their own assault weapons bans in place experienced smaller drops in murder rates of about 2.4 percent, while murder rates in states without assault weapons bans dropped by 4 percent.
  • Furthermore, overall violent crime dropped last year.

Additionally, no study exists that proves the effectiveness of assault weapons bans, says Lott. A study by the Department of Justice during the Clinton years concluded that the effect of an assault weapons ban was "uncertain."

Yet two weeks after the ban expired last September, 560 stories turned up on the Internet about the dangers of letting the ban expire. Ironically, only one story surfaced about last year's declining crime rates.

The media hype over assault weapons simply does not reflect the facts, says Lott.

Source: John R. Lott, Jr., "The Irony: Gun Ban Ends, Crime Drops," Dallas Morning News, July 11, 2005; and "Uniform Crime Reports, January -- December 2004," Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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