A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Rangel’s Assault Weapons Whopper

Rep. Charlie Rangel falsely claimed there are “millions of kids dying, being shot down by assault weapons.” In fact, fewer than 100,000 persons younger than 20 years old died of gun violence, including suicide, over a 30-year period through 2010, government data show. About two-thirds of those deaths — or nearly 65,000 — were homicides.
That’s for all guns, not just assault weapons. We don’t know how many of them were killed by assault weapons, but federally funded studies have shown that such weapons are used in a small percentage of crimes.

Did the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban Work?

Both sides in the gun debate are misusing academic reports on the impact of the 1994 assault weapons ban, cherry-picking portions out of context to suit their arguments.

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association, told a Senate committee that the “ban had no impact on lowering crime.” But the studies cited by LaPierre concluded that effects of the ban were “still unfolding” when it expired in 2004 and that it was “premature to make definitive assessments of the ban’s impact on gun violence.”

Biden Wrong on Police Deaths

In an online interview promoted by the White House, Vice President Joe Biden made the false claim that “there were fewer police being murdered … when the assault weapons ban, in fact, was in existence.” But the FBI statistics on killings of law enforcement officers show no such trend.
In fact, the number of officers killed when the ban was still in effect in 2002 — 56 — is the same number as in 2010. The numbers have fluctuated,

Gunman’s Weapons Already Illegal?

Arguing against the need for new gun laws in the wake of the Aurora shootings, Mitt Romney said many of the weapons possessed by shooter James Holmes were “illegal … already.” While it’s true that the bombs found later at Holmes’ apartment were illegal, that’s not the case for the weapons he used at the movie theater on the night of the rampage. Police confirmed that all of the weapons and ammunition used by Holmes that night were legally obtained at local sporting goods stores or over the Internet.

A False Ad About Assault Weapons

A new MoveOn PAC ad implies machine guns are becoming legal, which isn’t true. And it blames Bush, even though Bush said he would have extended the ban on assault weapons.