New York Times and assault weapons bans
"As busy as the gun lobby is in promoting macho myths about self-defense -- stand your ground and outshoot the bad guys -- it is no less dedicated to spinning myths for lawmakers to use as excuses to avoid enacting laws to deal with the shooting sprees that regularly afflict the nation. This was clear at the opening Senate hearing on gun controls this week, where Judiciary Committee members seemed to have largely swallowed gun lobby propaganda that the evidence shows the original 10-year ban on assault weapons was ineffective.... The false statistics comfort members of Congress who fear the gun lobby or their more conservative constituents, or both, and are blocking a new and stronger ban on assault weapons proposed by Senator Dianne Feinstein."
NY Times Editorial, "The Moment for Action on Gun Control, January 15, 2013:
"Some lawmakers are already talking about focusing on the background checks and bowing to gun lobby's opposition to an assault weapons ban. That shouldn't stop the administration and its allies from demanding that all these provisions be passed immediately. With the deaths of Newtown's children still so fresh, the public will be repulsed by lawmakers who stand aside and do nothing."
"But in the 10 years since the previous ban lapsed, even gun control advocates acknowledge a larger truth: The law that barred the sale of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 made little difference.
It turns out that big, scary military rifles don't kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do.
In 2012, only 322 people were murdered with any kind of rifle, F.B.I. data shows.
Most Americans do not know that gun homicides have decreased by 49 percent since 1993 as violent crime also fell, though rates of gun homicide in the United States are still much higher than those in other developed nations. A Pew survey conducted after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., found that 56 percent of Americans believed wrongly that the rate of gun crime was higher than it was 20 years ago."