States That Ban Assault Weapons

States That Ban Assault Weapons

Gun ownership across the country is more concentrated in rural districts, as opposed to urban districts. That is partly why Republican voters and Representatives, as well as Senators, are from rural districts and states. Certainly, the ability to fire guns in a rural district is much easier than in an urban one. And fear of outsiders is greater in rural districts, inspiring more guns for safety. So we recognize the inevitability of different gun laws. Yet more states are passing laws that do not allow cities from setting their own gun laws to protect the non-gun-owning Democrats gathered in cities.

Seven states and Washington D.C. ban the sale or importing of AR-15 like assault weapons. Looking up the states led to the very sad history, that California was first to ban assault weapons in 1989, following the 1989 Cleveland Elementary School shooting in Stockton, CA. 34 children and a teacher were shot, killing 5 of the children, with an AK-47 knockoff. THAT WAS 29 YEARS AGO! The Federal ban did not pass until 1994, which was proposed by Senator DiANE FEINSTEIN of California, 24 YEARS AGO! It was supported by 77% of the public and President George H. W. Bush, and backed by former Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan. Unfortunately, the 10 year ban expired in 2004. This is not a case of Deja Vu, but of gross negligence by the Congress. The ban also banned large ammo magazines. A new ban was introduced to Congress in December 2015, but was not passed.

The magnificent seven states banning assault weapons are California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New York. Most also prohibit magazines of more than 10 rounds. With 2018 population figures, 87.4 million Americans are covered in these states and the D.C., which out of 328 million, represents 26.6%, a little over a quarter of Americans.

The simplest thing to do, considering today’s situation, would be to ban the sale of assault style weapons until age 21, either state by state, or at the federal level. Also, closing the gun show loophole to background reviews, as well as private and Internet sales. The California law prevents anybody from bringing assault type weapons into the state or shipping them into the state, as well as magazines containing over ten rounds.

It has now been revealed that the Parkland, Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz had legally purchased ten rifle like weapons. Unfortunately, mass shooters are competing for immortality by having a high or the highest body count, as if they were playing a video game. The Las Vegas sniper had 12 semi-automatic rifles, each equipped with a high-fire-rate bump stocks. Big Data could identify such threats, if computer records were kept of gun sales. The police had made 20 visits to the Cruz’s home. He was mentally evaluated by social services after he cut himself on social media. He should have been declared a threat to himself or others at that point, and prevented from purchasing weapons under Florida law. I don’t know if the law could allow for the seizure of his weapons.

After each of three major shootings, polls to ban assault type weapons showed about 56% were in favor. However, just before the election, only 36% were in favor, the lowest poll showing.  A Washington Post-ABC poll today found that 77% of people thought that more effective mental health screening and treatment could have prevented the shooting.   58% thought that stricter gun control laws could have prevented the shooting, but there is no rise in support for banning assault weapons from 51% in 2016.

It has been 14 years since we have had an assault weapons ban, and they are now the weapon of choice for mass shooters. President Trump was the keynote speaker of the NRA convention, and thanked them for their support in the election, and promised to do good things for them in return. They were his biggest donor, at $31 million. Also, considering the Republican House and Senate, many people are pessimistic. Republican and potential Senatorial candidate Gov. Rick Scott of Florida has to be embarrassed after not responding to three mass shootings, and is trying to cast blame to the FBI.  His pro-gun efforts have earned him an A+ rating from the NRA.  Florida astronaut and Democratic Senator Bill Nelson is for banning assault weapons and limiting magazines to 10 bullets.  Trump only won Florida’s 29 electoral votes in 2016 by a 1.2% margin.  Thank God for the students, who are saying that it is not about your politics, it is about protecting them.

 

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in Assault Weapons, Big Data, Children, Congress, Donald Trump, FBI Director, Governors and State Legislatures, Gun Control, Guns. Bookmark the permalink.

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