Left-Wing NYT Columnist On Clinton’s Assault Weapons Ban: ‘No Strong Evidence That It Saved Lives’
A salesperson shows an AR-15 rifle to a customer at a store in Orem, Utah, U.S., on Thursday, March 25, 2021. Two mass shootings in one week are giving Democrats new urgency to pass gun control legislation, but opposition from Republicans in the Senate remains the biggest obstacle to any breakthrough in the long-stalled debate.
Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A left-wing columnist at The New York Times admitted over the weekend that there was no strong evidence that the assault weapons ban enacted under the Clinton administration, which lasted 10 years, “saved lives.”

Columnist Nicholas Kristof, who advocates for laws cracking down on the Second Amendment, made the admission in a piece about some of the executive orders that he wants Democrat President Joe Biden to use against the Second Amendment. Kristof said that he was “sympathetic” toward wanting to ban so-called “assault weapons,” which are semi-automatic firearms that effectively operate the same way that basic pistols do, but noted that there was no way that Congress was going to ban them.

“It’s also true that while liberals loved the assault weapons ban for the 10 years it was in effect, there is no strong evidence that it saved lives — but it did turn the AR-15 into a conservative icon, so that today there appear to be more AR and AK rifles in private hands than in the United States military,” Kristof wrote. “And most crime and deaths involve handguns, not rifles.”

Statistician Leah Libresco, a former writer for the data journalism site FiveThirtyEight, noted in a piece in The Washington Post back in 2017 that her months-long research into gun violence concluded that few laws would have any impact on gun violence in the U.S.

Highlights from her piece:

  • “We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.”
  • “The column comes as there have been a couple of shootings that have garnered national headlines over the last month. Democrats and their allies in the media have used the tragedies to shift attention off of Biden’s border crisis, which had dominated the news cycle for weeks.”
  • “I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans.”
  • “As my co-workers and I kept looking at the data, it seemed less and less clear that one broad gun-control restriction could make a big difference.”
  • “By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout. I was still anti-gun, at least from the point of view of most gun owners, and I don’t want a gun in my home, as I think the risk outweighs the benefits. But I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them.”

The Biden administration recently urged the Supreme Court to uphold a warrantless gun confiscation in a case that was argued late last month. Biden has called on Congress to ban assault weapons, and his administration has signaled that he is open to using executive action to crackdown on the Second Amendment.

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