When President Biden recently claimed that a Clinton-era ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, which was allowed to lapse under President George W. Bush, brought down mass killings and should be re-enacted, was he speaking accurately or exaggerating the law’s impact?
“There is ample evidence to support President Biden’s suggestion that a new federal ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines will reduce mass shooting violence and save lives,” says Klarevas, Research Professor and author of Rampage Nation: Securing America from Mass Shootings (Prometheus Books 2016).
The Post story says that according to Klarevas, who has tracked high-fatality mass shootings, the number of gun massacres during the period the ban was in effect fell by 37 percent compared with the 10-year period before the ban, and the number of people dying because of mass shootings fell by 43 percent. Klarevas reports that after the ban ended, there was a 183 percent increase in mass shootings and a 239 percent increase in deaths over the next 10 years.
There is ample evidence to support President Biden’s suggestion that a new federal ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines will reduce mass shooting violence and save lives.
—Louis Klarevas, TC Research Professor, in The Washington Post
Klarevas, who co-authored a 2019 study on the topic in the American Journal of Public Health in 2019, also concludes that banning large-capacity magazines saves lives. “When LCMs were involved, the average death toll for gun massacres increased by 62 percent,” he says in the Post story. “Jurisdictions that did not have LCM bans in place experienced a 129 percent increase in the incidence rate and a 206 percent increase in the fatality rate of gun massacres.”