Socialist presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders reacted to the New Zealand gun ban by calling for similar ban in the U.S.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a ban on military style semi-automatic rifles, assault rifles, “high capacity” magazines, and certain gun parts. The Christchurch attacker had five guns in his possession at the time of his attacks, two of the five were semiautomatic.
Sanders tweeted in response to New Zealand’s ban:
This is what real action to stop gun violence looks like. We must follow New Zealand's lead, take on the NRA and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons in the United States. https://t.co/lSAisDG9Ur
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 21, 2019
Sanders’ tweet continues the promulgation of the myth that banning a certain type of firearm will make us safer. However, Department of Justice reports make two things clear: First, the 1994-2004 “assault weapons” ban did not reduce crime. Secondly, “Assault weapons” are not the gun of choice for criminals.
Breitbart News reported the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ) 2004 study showing the 1994-2004 “assault weapons” ban could not be credited with any reduction in crime. NIJ noted that one of the reasons the ban was ineffectual was because “assault weapons” were not actually a weapon of choice for criminals when the ban took effect.
More recently, in January 2019, the DOJ released a study showing handguns are the weapons of choice for criminals. The study looked at roughly 300,000 federal and state inmates, finding that 18 percent of them used handguns in the commission of their crimes while 1.4 percent used rifles of any kind. The percentage of “assault weapons” used would have necessarily been even lower than 1.4.