The Banned Guns and Magazines Were Used in Up to A Quarter of Gun Crimes
Prior to the Ban
ē AWs were used in only a small fraction of gun crimes prior to the ban: about 2%
according to most studies and no more than 8%. Most of the AWs used in crime
are assault pistols rather than assault rifles.
ē LCMs are used in crime much more often than AWs and accounted for 14% to
26% of guns used in crime prior to the ban.
ē AWs and other guns equipped with LCMs tend to account for a higher share of
guns used in murders of police and mass public shootings, though such incidents
are very rare.
The Banís Success in Reducing Criminal Use of the Banned Guns and Magazines
Has Been Mixed
ē Following implementation of the ban, the share of gun crimes involving AWs
declined by 17% to 72% across the localities examined for this study (Baltimore,
Miami, Milwaukee, Boston, St. Louis, and Anchorage), based on data covering all
or portions of the 1995-2003 post-ban period. This is consistent with patterns
found in national data on guns recovered by police and reported to ATF.
ē The decline in the use of AWs has been due primarily to a reduction in the use of
assault pistols (APs), which are used in crime more commonly than assault rifles
(ARs). There has not been a clear decline in the use of ARs, though assessments
are complicated by the rarity of crimes with these weapons and by substitution of
post-ban rifles that are very similar to the banned AR models.
ē However, the decline in AW use was offset throughout at least the late 1990s by
steady or rising use of other guns equipped with LCMs in jurisdictions studied
(Baltimore, Milwaukee, Louisville, and Anchorage). The failure to reduce LCM
use has likely been due to the immense stock of exempted pre-ban magazines,
which has been enhanced by recent imports.
It is Premature to Make Definitive Assessments of the Banís Impact on Gun Crime
ē Because the ban has not yet reduced the use of LCMs in crime, we cannot clearly
credit the ban with any of the nationís recent drop in gun violence. However, the
banís exemption of millions of pre-ban AWs and LCMs ensured that the effects of the law would occur only gradually. Those effects are still unfolding and may
not be fully felt for several years into the future, particularly if foreign, pre-ban
LCMs continue to be imported into the U.S. in large numbers.