Why the March for Our Lives is a Waste of Time


Saturday, March 24, 2018

The March for Our Lives is today, so if you live in major urban centers, be prepared for your streets to be covered in droves of leftists holding signs that are contrary to fact and logic.

There is no shortage of hate mongering and demagoguery coming from within pro-gun control circles, which makes it difficult to parse through what exactly these students are demanding from their state and national politicians.

The March for Our Lives has identified three policy changes they believe will ensure the protection and safety of your children. Policies that are based mostly, if not completely, in fiction.

1. “Passing a law to ban the sale of assault weapons… no civilian should be able to access these weapons of war, which should be restricted for use by our military and law enforcement only. These guns have no other purpose than to fire as many bullets as possible and indiscriminately kill anything they are pointed at with terrifying speed.”

Only one problem: the guns used in these shootings were not “military grade weapons of war.” To be classified as such, a rifle must have selective fire. In fact, when the AR-15 first came on the market with it’s elegant, yet tough design, the US military requested a more powerful version to be standard issue for the US military. Even in 1964, the US military did not consider AR style rifles “weapons of war.”

The left argues this is merely a battle of semantics. They want the definition of assault weapons to be broadened, as it was in 1994 under the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. The Clinton Administration included ARs in the assault weapons category from 1994 until the bill’s expiration in 2004.

Why then, was this policy not renewed after its expiration in 2004? Because the policy didn’t curb gun violence. Per FiveThirtyEight, “A 2004 report commissioned by the Department of Justice on the effects of the assault weapons ban concluded that the law was largely ineffective at limiting access to weapons with the power of the AR-15.” Furthermore, “the review for the DOJ concluded that bans on specific models or features of assault weapons had little to no discernible impact on gun deaths.”

Regardless, even if the ban on so-called “assault rifles” had any significant impact on gun violence, it still would not redress the students’ grievances. According to the FBI in 2010, out of 8,775 homicides using guns, only 358 were at the hands of rifles, whereas handguns accounted for 6,009 homicides.

Even if they were to demand the abolishment of the Second Amendment because gun ownership drives gun violence, they still would be proven incorrect. A study by AEI found that gun ownership increased 56% from 1993-2003 while gun homicides decreased 49%. Additionally, the CDC’s findings in a 2013 report cited “Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence” found that sport accounts for the majority of gun-related activities. Gun homicides make up an incredibly small percentage of gun uses, whereas the CDC’s lower limit projection is 500,000 instances where a firearm is used in defense or as a deterrent of crime annually.

2. “Prohibiting the sale of high-capacity magazines such as the ones the shooter at our school—and so many other recent mass shootings used. Limiting the number of bullets a gun can discharge at one time will at least force any shooter to stop and reload, giving children a chance to escape.”

Given that I have clearly shown mass shootings are the exception, not the rule, when it comes to gun violence, the March for Our Lives’ crutch for this policy is shoddy at best.

Let’s revisit FiveThirtyEight’s diagnosis of the DOJ’s assessment of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, “If the law had any effect, the report said, it was most likely the result of bans on large-capacity magazines, which contain 10 or more rounds. Calculations based on homicide reports in Jersey City, New Jersey, suggested that restricting large-capacity magazines might lower the number of gunshot victims by up to 5 percent. However, there are a vast number of high-capacity magazines already in circulation. The report authors concluded that a ban on them probably wouldn’t make it hard to keep a determined shooter from legally buying a pre-ban magazine and pairing it with an AR-15 equivalent.”

The conclusion: the effects of high-capacity magazine bans would be negligible, at best. Municipalities with such bans, Washington D.C. and Chicago, for example, are riddled with gun violence. If mass shootings are what the marchers are genuinely worried about, they would find that most mass shooters prefer to use multiple guns. The Pulse shooting, the Texas Tower shooting, the Las Vegas shooting, the Columbine shooting, all involved multiple firearms to inflict damage. In the case of Columbine, not a single large-capacity magazine was used. High-capacity magazine bans would most likely have the opposite of the desired effect because criminals would further be incentivized to diversify their arsenal than buy high-capacity magazines.

3. “Closing the loophole in our background check law that allows dangerous people who shouldn’t be allowed to purchase firearms to slip through the cracks and buy guns online or at gun shows. 97 percent of Americans support closing the current loopholes in our background check system… A background check should be required on every gun sale, no exceptions.”

For starters, John Lott, President of the Crime Research Prevention Center, found “there is no real scientific evidence among criminologists and economists that background checks actually reduce crime.”  

Even so, there is one glaring issue with this last point: there is no loophole. Federal law requires an individual to undergo a background check when purchasing a gun from a firearms dealer, at a gun show, or over the internet.

The March for Our Lives also cites a Harvard survey that says “22 percent of gun sales in this country take place without a background check.” I am old enough to remember when Obama and Clinton were touting around a survey that claimed 40% of all gun sales do not involve a background check, so this information seems awfully unreliable, and if it isn’t, it proves there is not a need for more legislation in the matter because background checks increase the input costs of providing firearms to the public, which increases the general price of firearms across the board.

The left can’t seem to wrap their head around how important guns are to the average American family. As Dana Loesch said, “they want the federal government to treat every single American as a federal firearms dealer, meaning they would have to establish a national, quasi-registry (current law prevents the federal government from compiling a registry-based off of the NICS information) to make it work.”

I am glad 97% of Americans would be committed to closing loopholes if they exist, so let’s close the prodigious loopholes in enforcing gun laws. Amidst 45 warnings to the Broward Sheriff’s’ Department and the FBI, the Parkland shooter was able to get his hands on a firearm. The FBI had the opportunity to step in and prevent him from doing so, but did not. Yet, when avoidable tragedy happens, we do not properly hold law enforcement accountable. We failed to hold the Obama Administration accountable for not reporting felony convictions to the NCIS database, which bars criminals from buying guns, and for only prosecuting 44 of 48,000 felons who attempted to buy firearms in 2010.  

Enough is enough. Americans have had enough of the cries for gun control, and they’ve had enough of the FBI refusing to take responsibility for their inaction. Instead of marching for the right reasons, this group of individuals will waste their Saturday screaming bloody murder at every individual who disagrees with their agenda while advocating for a less violent culture.

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About Bradley Devlin

University of California, Berkeley

Bradley Devlin is a student at the University of California Berkeley studying Political Economics and serves as the President of the Berkeley College Republicans.

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