The Scranton Times ran an editorial on Saturday calling for a reinstatement of the Assault Weapon Ban. You can read the editorial here.
In the editorial, the Scranton Times Editorial Board states that had the assault weapon ban been in play, the amount of damage perpetuated in these crimes might have been limited. They go on to state the ban would have precluded the use of the 30-round magazines found on the person of the killer.
As with many advocates of Gun Control, the Scranton Times doesn’t let a little thing like the facts get in the way of a good editorial.
The Assault Weapon Ban never prevented the use of a magazine of any capacity. What the ban did was ban the manufacture or sale of certain capacity magazines AFTER the ban was enacted. Any magazines produced before the ban was perfectly legal to own or use. What the ban did do was flood the market with cheap (usually foreign-made) high capacity magazines in anticipation of the ban. Manufacturers and importers tried to get as much of their product into the market as possible since, as basic economics would dictate, the price of these high capacity magazines skyrocketed as folks anticipated that the supply would diminish.
The ban lasted 10 years. Keep in mind, the primary argument for the ban was to stop violent crime. Post-ban, the results are in on just how good the legislation was at doing exactly that. The findings:
Assault weapons (pre-ban and post-ban) were used in only a very small fraction of crimes.
Violent crime rates were actually higher during the ban than after the ban.
Violent crime rates continue to fall now that the ban has lapsed.
The backup argument to this and other gun control measures is typically the “who needs an x” question. You can substitute the x for just about anything politicians seek to ban. The problem is one of constitutionality. In America, the onus to prove a right is never placed on the person wishing to exercise a right. It is instead placed on the person wishing to restrict a right, as it should be. If a politician or a news organization wishes to remove a right, they need to provide more than anecdotal evidence and an instance of a horrible crime to prove it. The statistics (reality) is certainly not on their side.