Today the President detailed three policies we need to limit mass murder; to close loopholes that allow guns to be sold without a background check, ban high capacity magazines, and renew the assault weapon ban. These are common sense approaches that might get enough support to become law, but we surely must do more.
Renewing the assault rifle ban would only affect the production of new assault rifles and high capacity magazines. It does nothing about the military grade weaponry that is already out there.
During the period when the AWB was in effect, it was illegal to manufacture any firearm that met the law's flowchart of an assault weapon or large capacity ammunition feeding device, except for export or for sale to a government or law enforcement agency. The law also banned possession of illegally imported or manufactured firearms, but did not ban possession or sale of pre-existing 'assault weapons' or previously factory standard magazines that were legally redefined as large capacity ammunition feeding devices. This provision for pre-ban firearms created a higher price point in the market for such items, which still exist due to several states adopting their own assault weapons ban.And if that's where common sense gun law reform stops we'll still have an astounding amount of legal lethal hardware. Is this an opportunity for a stimulus program, tax credit and/or a public-private partnership to build gun safes and cases? Or cable locks? Or maybe even to personalize guns, as Stephen P. Teret and Patti L. Culross discuss in a publication called Product-Oriented Approaches to Reducing Youth Gun Violence
Gun violence prevention can be considered a subset of injury prevention, a discipline that for several decades has studied the most effective methods for reducing the incidence of injuries. A basic tenet of injury prevention, supported by these studies, is that attempts to modify the behaviors of individuals so that they act more safely have not in themselves proven adequate to address most injury problems. Changing the design of products has been more effective in reducing risks of injury.The idea of my tax dollars going to upgrade someone's assault rifle is initially offensive, but the idea of no change or just a micro-change is so much worse.