Biden’s ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban Would Not Have Stopped Nashville Mass Shooting, Experts Say


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Trevor Schakohl Legal Reporter
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  • President Joe Biden has repeated his call for an “assault weapons” ban after Monday’s deadly mass shooting at Covenant School in Nashville.
  • The proposed ban would not have stopped the shooter, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
  • “Anybody who’s intent on murdering children is not going to honor a law or ban of any kind,” Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project chief editor Lee Williams said.

President Joe Biden’s proposed ban on “assault weapons” would not have prevented the Monday school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, that killed three children and three adults, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Transgender shooter Audrey Hale, 28, was carrying and an AR-15 military-style rifle, a  Kel-Tec SUB2000 pistol caliber carbine, and a Smith and Wesson hand gun when she attacked the Presbyterian church-affiliated Covenant School, killing six people, police said, according to CNN. President Joe Biden has since renewed his call for Congress to pass an assault weapons ban, but experts who spoke to the DCNF said such a measure would not have stopped the tragedy.

The Biden-endorsed Assault Weapons Ban of 2023, introduced by California Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein in January, would prohibit manufacturing semiautomatic assault weapons. The bill’s detailed “semiautomatic assault weapon” definition includes the AR-15, Kel-Tec SUB2000, revolving cylinder shotguns and some semiautomatic pistols.

“Even if the President could, as a constitutional or practical matter, snap his fingers and make tens of millions of so-called ‘assault weapons’ disappear, it would not have the slightest bit of difference in this mass public shooting, or in any other mass public shooting,” Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow Amy Swearer told the DCNF. “Readily available ‘non-assault’ semi-automatic rifles are functionally identical to ‘assault’ semi-automatic rifles that would be banned, and these ‘non-assault’ rifles are just as capable of killing defenseless victims in the hands of a motivated assailant.” (RELATED: Activist Hijacks School Shooting Press Conference To Demand Gun Control)

Biden often mentions helping to pass the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which prohibited manufacturing semiautomatic assault weapons and magazines with higher than 10-round capacities until 2004. Lee Williams, chief editor of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project said the ban would not have covered Hale’s pistol caliber carbine or her handgun, which is not explicitly mentioned in Feinstein’s bill.

“Anybody who’s intent on murdering children is not going to honor a law or ban of any kind,” Williams, a former police officer, told the DCNF. “They don’t care about the law.”

However, gun control advocates have routinely argued that the previous ban on so-called assault weapons reduced mass shootings overall.

Everytown for Gun Safety law and policy Senior Vice President Nick Suplina argued that mass shootings have increased because assault weapons are “easier than ever to get,” Vox reported.

“Everything that we know about mass shootings suggests that assault weapons, especially when equipped with high-capacity magazines, make them more deadly,” Suplina said.

Crime Prevention Research Center President John Lott said there is no evidence that the 1994 ban reduced attacks committed with assault weapons, “however they want to define them.” A Justice Department-funded 2004 report by the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerry Lee Center of Criminology found that if the ban were renewed, its effects on gun violence were “likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

Hale had legally purchased seven firearms from five local gun stores, according to Nashville Police Chief John Drake. She was under a doctor’s care for an emotional disorder, and her parents felt she should not own weapons but believed she had sold one and did not own any more, Drake said Tuesday.

Less than an hour before the shooting, Hale told a former middle school basketball teammate via text message that she planned to die that day, adding that “you’ll probably hear about me on the news after I die,” News Channel 5 reported.

Biden signed a March 14 executive order for increasing the use of state-level “red flag” laws, which allow courts to temporarily remove firearm access for people determined to be dangerous. Tennessee has not enacted any red flag laws, according to ABC News, but Williams argued they are unconstitutional, lack due process and only have their intended effect if those who know potentially dangerous people decide to report them.

“Would this shooter’s parents have turned her in? I don’t know,” Williams told the DCNF. “I don’t know if her conduct would have qualified for a red flag law.”

Hale decided against targeting another location because she believed it had “too much security,” Drake said Monday, according to Nashville NBC affiliate WMSV 4. Crime Prevention Research Center President John Lott told the DCNF that the mainstream media “refuses to talk about” this fact.

“The bottom line is they don’t want to do anything serious,” Lott said of the Biden administration, arguing that eliminating gun-free zones would reduce mass shootings. “They don’t want to do anything that will actually stop these attacks.”

Police officers reportedly killed Hale within around twelve minutes of receiving a call about the shooting, according to The Associated Press. Williams called the response “incredible,” but said an armed “guardian” staffer like some Florida schools now use could have responded in no time at all.

“School guardians are not law enforcement officers,” Williams told the DCNF. “They’re sole duty is to patrol the school, and if a bad man comes on property, they’re gonna take him out.”

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