Today marks the one-month anniversary of the Sandy Hook elementary shootings. There’s been much talk about reinstating a ban of semiautomatic weapons, like the one used in the shooting by 20-year-old Adam Lanza.
It’s a measure critics say will have little effect. USA Today‘s editorial board disagrees, so long as a new ban is “new and improved”:
To the extent that the 1994-2004 ban was less effective than its backers had hoped, that was because the gun lobby wanted it that way. The ban was riddled with loopholes. Most significantly, the definition of assault weapon was weak enough that gun makers could make cosmetic tweaks to a banned gun and sell the revised version legally.
What to do differently this time around? A plan by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., points in the right direction. It would tighten the definition of assault weapons while explicitly exempting hundreds of hunting rifles and shotguns. That’s a good compromise that protects the rights of responsible gun owners. …
A new ban surely won’t end mass shootings or rid society of assault weapons. More than a million such weapons are already in circulation and won’t be touched. But, combined with other common-sense proposals involving background checks and mental illness, a new and improved ban is a reasonable step that is far superior to doing nothing.