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Why So-Called ‘Assault Weapon’ Bans Won’t Stop Mass Shootings

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AR-15. Image: Creative Commons.

A well-maintained firearm can be usable for decades after it was first made. Even antique firearms that have been hard used over the years can still function accurately and reliability if well maintained. It isn’t uncommon to see a World War I firearm still perform quite well today, more than 100 years after it was first made.

This is notable because any efforts to ban certain firearms – including so-called “assault weapons” – would almost certainly “grandfather in” those already in private hands. As The Guardian recently reported, there are somewhere between fifteen and twenty million AR-style modern sporting rifles, what gun control supporters incorrectly deem assault weapons, out of the estimated 393 million guns owned by American citizens.

Given those statistics, it begs the question of what impact such a ban would have on our epidemic of mass shootings?

On the one hand, it has been reported that many shooters only recently bought the weapon used in the heinous events – so perhaps this should further highlight the failure of our mental health system as much as any issue related to the availability of firearms.

But even if guns were the issue – a point this writer isn’t currently out to prove– then there is the issue of whether a ban on new guns would not matter if existing ARs should be expected to last for decades, perhaps even centuries to come. Today’s modern firearms are made of interchangeable parts and are far easier to clean and maintain, while modern ammunition results in far less fouling. In other words, if new ARs were banned would it matter as those already in private hands could be serviceable and usable in 100 years?

It would likely take decades for there to be any decline in the number of ARs.

Of course, such facts would be noted, and the next step would likely be a call by some politicians not only to ban the purchase and manufacture of new ARs and similar firearms but a complete prohibition on the ownership. While nations such as Australia have conducted mandatory buybacks, it is also unlikely that a similar event would see a return of the potential twenty million firearms in private hands.

The result would be a disarming of the law-abiding, which would be ironic as they’re the individuals least likely to use the firearms for illicit purposes including mass shootings or other crimes. Meanwhile, those who could possibly conduct such activities wouldn’t likely turn in their guns ever.

It begs the question as to whether those who support gun control actually see this line of thinking, and if they do, whether they care? What is clear is that opponents of the Second Amendment seek to undermine in inches not miles. First, they’ll ban the newly made ARs and then later ban the rest. It is almost as if there is a sinister plan in the works to fool the American public and disarm the law-abiding population slowly but surely over time.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.