That Assault Weapon Ban? It Really Did Work

(This article was first published in The New York Times on September 5, 2019.)

John J. Donohue III

Recent mass shootings have revived demands for meaningful gun control. But many opponents of a renewed federal ban on assault weapons, led by the National Rifle Association, say the earlier ban, from 1994 to 2004, made no difference. Our new research shows otherwise.

We found that public mass shootings — which we defined as incidents in which a gunman killed at least six people in public — dropped during the decade of the federal ban. Yet, in the 15 years since the ban ended, the trajectory of gun massacres has been sharply upward, largely tracking the growth in ownership of military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines.

(Continue reading the article on The New York Times’ page here.)

John Donohue is a law professor at Stanford Law School. Theodora Boulouta is a senior at Stanford.