(This blog was originally published yesterday, however I realized I had made a factual error and have corrected it in this version. My apologies).
If you were thinking about running out and getting your hands on an AR-15, .308, AK-47 or some other similar style magazine-fed rifle, don't be in a rush. There is a lot of fear mongering going on to justify sky high prices, i.e. "The Dems are going to take your guns!" But history says differently.
The first ban on assault rifles was by a Republican president. George H.W. Bush petitioned Congress for a ban after the January 1989 school shooting in Stockton, CA, that left 5 dead and 32 wounded. The ban covered 43 types of imported semi-automatic rifles, including the Chinese-made AK-47 and the Israeli-made Uzi, but did not affect domestic firearms manufacturers. The bill had bipartisan support.
In 1993, President Clinton petitioned for a ban on assault rifles and it passed in the Senate with significant Republican support (10 Republican senators voted in favor. New Mexico's Senators Domenici and Bingaman, Republican and Democrat, respectively, voted against it). The bill took effect in 1994 for a period of ten years . The bill was supported by former Presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan. The ban included folding stock rifles, telescoping stocks, pistol grips, rifles with grenade launching capabilities, flash hiders and threaded barrels (for silencers). Some semi-automatic pistols were included on the list, as well, as were magazines that held more than 10 rounds.
It is important to note that high-ranking Democrats in Congress and the Senate opposed Clinton's bill because they knew that it would cost them votes at mid-terms. They were correct. There was a 54-seat swing from Dem to Republican in Congress, and eight seats in the Senate. Politicians took note and historically any efforts to reinstitute the ban following its 2004 expiration have failed.
The reality is that mass shootings (defined by the FBI as four or more people shot) constitute less than 1% of USA gun homicides. Most of those mass shootings are crime related (gangs, drugs, etc). Studies done after the 1994-2004 ban expired showed that banning assault rifles had little to no effect on mass shootings. Those calling for a ban on assault rifles are merely reacting to the psychological aspect of it. Children being shot and killed is horrific, but looking at it statistically, more children in the city of Chicago were shot in 2021 than died of Covid nationwide.
Biden won't push for a ban on assault rifles. This country is in bad enough shape with high gas and grocery prices, and the worst inflation in 40 years. Dems already know they will lose seats this year because of the economy. Legislation asking for a ban on assault rifles would be a nail in the coffin for any representative or senator from either party. Senators and representatives will make a lot of noise and point fingers at each other, but in the end it will be business as usual in the nation's capital.