Biden Stretches Truth On The ‘94 Assault Weapons Ban

REUTERS/Leah Millis

Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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President Joe Biden stretches the truth on a gun control bill passed in 1994 while addressing the nation after a shooter attacked a Texas elementary school.

Biden falsely claimed there was a considerable decline in mass shootings after the U.S. Congress passed the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that put a 10-year ban on the manufacturing of certain kinds of weapons, according to writer Jonathan Turley in The Hill.

“In addition to repeating (for the second time in two days) a false claim that ratification of the Second Amendment, Biden made the claim that an assault weapons ban in the 1990s ‘significantly cut down mass murders,'” wrote Turley.

The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs published “An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence” in March 1999.

The DOJ study assessed the data collected before and during the 1994 gun control bill to determine the bill’s achievement in reducing gun violence with semiautomatic firearms and magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition.

American citizen’s owned around 1.5 million of the banned firearms when the bill took effect, reported a study published by George Mason University.

Those banned firearms only contributed to roughly 2% of gun crimes before the ban, according to the DOJ study. (RELATED: Rep. Chris Jacobs Says He Supports ‘Assault Weapons Ban’ For ‘Something Like An AR-15’)

The assessment of the bill’s success found that after the 10-year ban took effect, some cities, including Miami, Boston, and Baltimore saw a decline in crimes involving the banned firearms.

“Following implementation of the ban, the share of gun crimes involving assault weapons declined by 17% to 72% across the localities examined for this study (Baltimore, Miami, Milwaukee, Boston, St. Louis, and Anchorage), based on data covering all or portions of the 1995-2003 post-ban period. This is consistent with patterns found in national data on guns recovered by police and reported to ATF,” the DOJ study stated.

Most gun-control advocates point to the study’s evidence that some areas of the U.S. had a decline in assault weapons crime after the act was passed as a correlation that the ban was successful. Turley argued there isn’t enough evidence for Biden to call it a significant decline.

“There is a small support for saying that earlier ban on assault weapons had any appreciable impact on mass murders; there is no support for saying it caused a reduction in gun violence,” Turley wrote. “Thankfully, mass shootings are statistically rare. Even studies that noted a drop in mass shootings during the earlier period noted that such a cause-and-effect claim is ‘inconclusive.'”

Over 80% of mass shootings were committed by a shooter with a handgun, not a weapon banned in the 1994 gun control legislation, according to Everytown, a progressive anti-gun activist group. Everytown estimates that firearms like those banned in the 1994 bill were only used in 16% of mass shootings.