Things are looking up for gun owners in the Golden State.
Last Friday, a San Diego-based federal court overturned California’s three-decade-old ban on so-called assault weapons. U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez sided with a number of gun advocacy groups challenging the law, finding that firearms prohibited in the state of California are protected under Supreme Court precedent.
Liberal reactions to this were predictably hysterical.
Gavin Newsom, the embattled governor of California who faces a recall vote, called the ruling “a direct threat to public safety.” The editorial board at the Los Angeles Times, writing in opposition to the decision, made the dubious claim that “assault weapons” are “designed for a singular purpose: to kill a large number of people in a short period of time.”
But they have nothing to worry about. California liberals can rest easy knowing that expanding the variety of semi-automatic rifles available in their state won’t make it any more dangerous than it already is. It could even make them a bit safer.
Rifles, the most common categorization of firearms branded “assault weapons” in California, account for more than 35% of all guns owned in the United States, but they are used in less than 4% of gun homicides. Of the 13,927 people murdered in 2019, only 364 of them had their lives taken by rifles of any kind, "assault" or otherwise. Based on the data, fists and feet are used in more murders than rifles.
This implies that in spite of left-wing activists' obsession with so-called "assault weapons," they are tremendously underrepresented in crime. A serious effort to stop crime would involve more police and perhaps a focus on handguns rather than rifles. Their distaste for relatively harmless (and fun) long guns manifests itself in utterly useless bans, such as California’s.
Studies have repeatedly failed to find a causal link between assault weapon bans and reduced violent crime. Laws like California's aren’t even particularly effective at curbing what little violence such weapons are involved in.
On the other hand, better-armed Californians may actually be safer Californians. California is in the midst of a historic crime wave. With homicide up 27% and several municipalities making moves to defund police departments, one can understand why some don’t feel safe in the state. If Benitez’s ruling stands, the selection of effective home defense weapons available to Californians would expand. Such weapons' prices could even fall, making security more accessible to low-income Californians.
Defensive firearm use isn’t just some myth cooked up by gun lobbyists. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 60,000 and 2.5 million people in the U.S. use guns to defend themselves every year. Even the lower-bound estimate is not insignificant.
Appeals to the tragic nature of mass shootings may be emotionally potent, but the facts paint a very different portrait of assault weapons. They’re not the cause or even the occasion for much of the nation's gun violence, and so-called "assault weapon" bans don’t work.
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Original Author: Robert Schmad
Original Location: California’s assault weapons ban is dead, and no one is less safe for it