Virginia Tech

Assault guns are not just about mass shootings — they're also a big factor in attacks on police and other crimes

Assault guns are not just about mass shootings — they're also a big factor in attacks on police and other crimes

Perhaps the single most important dereliction of duty by Congress in recent years is the expiration of the ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, which was enacted in 1994 and lasted only for 10 years.

There were signs during the ban that it was beginning to take these especially lethal weapons out of criminal inventories. Gun violence experts believe that trend would have continued, had the ban remained in effect. Instead, Congress allowed it to lapse in 2004. The consequence has been increased use of these weapons in crimes of all sorts ever since.

A study by Christopher S. Koper and colleagues at George Mason University,...

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