It seems that our Washington DC senators are realizing that the country will not support an "assault weapons" ban. Possibly because more of the country understands the futility of such a measure as an effective way to address the broadest range of causes of gun violence, injury and death.
Maybe, this Department of Justice memo is more widely circulated in DC than in Hartford since Gov Malloy feels he is smarter than the DoJ analysts and a plurality of our national elected leaders. If you have not read that memo, you SHOULD but here are the salient bits on the most popular gun control elements:
On the designing gun laws aiming to impact "mass shootings:
Fatalities from mass shootings (those with 4 or more victims in a particular place and time) account on average for 35 fatalities per year. Policies that address the larger firearm homicide issue will have a far greater impact even if they do not address the particular issues of mass shootings.
Assault Weapon Ban
Assault weapons are not a major contributor to gun crime. Prior to the 1994 federal ban, assault weapons were used in 2-8% of crimes. Therefore a complete elimination of assault weapons would not have a large impact on gun homicides. Since assault weapons are not a major contributor to US gun homicide and the existing stock of guns is large, an assault weapon ban is unlikely to have an impact on gun violence. If coupled with a gun buyback and no exemptions then it could be effective. The 1997 Australian gun buyback was massive in scale and, while it appears to have had no effect on gun homicide, Australia has had no mass shootings since the ban was put in place. (Paine's note: The compliance with the Australia ban has been estimated at 25%; 75% of weapons were never turned in).
Gun buybacks are ineffective as generally implemented.
On magazine capacity limits:
In order to have an impact, large capacity magazine regulation needs to sharply curtail their availability to include restrictions on importation, manufacture, sale, and possession. An exemption for previously owned magazines would nearly eliminate any impact. The program would need to be coupled with an extensive buyback of existing large capacity magazines. With an exemption the impact of the restrictions would only be felt when the magazines degrade or when they no longer are compatible with guns in circulation. This would take decades to realize. (Paine: The CT OLR estimates that the cost of a magazine buy-back program could be $100-200mm with $50mm+ a year in lost economic activity).
On tracking ammunition sales:
There is evidence that the program can be used to identify prohibited purchasers and can aid in the recovery of illegal firearms. The volume of recoveries is not of a scale likely to impact the illegal firearm trade, but could disrupt some criminal activity.
Require all gun transfers to occur at an FFL
Such a process can discourage a normally law-abiding citizen to spend the time and money to properly transfer his or her firearm to another. To be effective, requiring all transfers to occur at an FFL needs to be coupled with all the necessary incentives (or at least no disincentives) for unlicensed sellers to follow the law. Sanctions and threats of penalties are insufficient.
So the Obama/Holder Department of Justice summarizes that the most popular gun-control measures have been mostly ineffective in the past and would likely be as ineffective in the future, barring the most restrictive and confiscatory implementations (which would likely fail constitutional challenges on a 2nd, 4th, 5th and possible 14th Amendment grounds).
So, apparently Senators Murphy and Blumenthal have finally seen that this is the case on a national basis. Via BusinessInsider:
DANBURY, Conn. — Connecticut's two Democratic Senators signaled Thursday that an assault weapons ban is unlikely to be taken up in Congress when legislative measures to curb gun violence are introduced as early as next month.
Both Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal were evasive about their hopes for a ban on assault weapons being part of a package — at least for now.
"I think there are parts that should be proposed initially, and then there are parts that should be proposed down the road."
Blumenthal wouldn't say whether that applied to an assault weapons ban, a key element of Obama's plan outlined last month. But both Blumenthal and Murphy mentioned that this assault weapons ban could follow the similar lengthy process as the one signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994.
"I understand that the assault weapons ban is the toughest part of the package to propose," Murphy told BI. "But that doesn't mean we're going to stop pushing for it. The assault weapons ban was not passed when it was first proposed in the 1990s.
"Even if we don't get it passed this time — listen, we're going to pass it during my time in the United States Senate," Murphy added. "And I'll keep on working on it."
Both Senators sounded much more optimistic about legislation to increase background checks, including potentially closing the so-called "gun show loophole" that allows some private sales to be completed without background checks.
When asked what measures had enough votes to pass through Congress, Blumenthal only mentioned background checks, saying that bipartisan negotiations on that issue were "close to success." He did not mention an assault weapons ban or a potential ban on high-capacity magazines.