Why Not Renew the Assault Weapons Ban? Well, Ill Tell You Why Not Renew the Assault Weapons Ban? Well, Ill Tell You [EDIT: Since this article was published, the Democratic party has officially added support of the assault weapon ban renewal to their party platform and Senator Feinstein has vowed to introduce it again in the upcoming session, hoping the Newtown massacre will help it push through. This bill WILL be debated and voted on, and I hope you can learn something about it here.] Between Two Worlds Its not easy being a leftist who loves guns. Its like being a Republican who listens to NPR or supports single payer health care. But being a leftist, I get exposed to all the liberal publications and media that invariably call for gun control every time someone does something stupid with one. Being a gun enthusiast, I also get exposed to the political Rights oversimplification of those liberals as somehow lacking moral fiber or true appreciation of freedom. Rather than agreeing with both, I tend to end up arguing with both. Its exhausting to always feel like Im apologizing for the other side. This article takes a point of view, but aims to do so in a way that members of both sides of the political spectrum can understand. Ill try to give some idea as to why we on the political left roll our eyes at the rhetoric of the NRA, and how we in the gun culture can possibly defend something called assault weapons. We all know the cycle by now: Tragic incident occurs, both sides attempt to use it for their political gain, both sides act shocked that the other would attempt to use it for political gain, insults are flung, statistics are cherry-picked, rinse, repeat. I began writing this some time after the Aurora massacre, but it was just this morning that news started coming in of the mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. I knew the wave of cries for a renewal of the assault weapon and high capacity magazine bans hadnt yet faded from Aurora, and that they would be reinforced by this next event, regardless of how relevant either of the topics were to the incident. So in order to get around to why the assault weapons ban was an utter and absolute failure in its attempt to deter violent crime, I have to start with mass shootings. Misleading Vividness Im just going to submit this uncomfortable truth to both camps up front, with the vain hope that it will not sound callous: Mass shootings are a tiny, tiny problem. Which isnt to say that they arent utterly horrifying in more than one way. Peoples lives are destroyed, both literally and figuratively. What I mean to say is that if we were to prioritize our political attention to topics according to how many lives were at stake, mass shootings wouldnt even be on the radar. Factoring in the rate of death caused by mass shootings from Columbine to the present (about 210 people in 13 years), it will be more than 300 years until we reach the number of casualties that occur from accidental drownings every single year in this country. In a little more than 150 years from now, well approach the number of people who are poisoned to death every single year in this country. Sometime in 2014 we might surpass the number of people struck by lightning every single year in this country. Which is to say that mass shootings are incredibly rare and dont kill a lot of people when they do happen. Good info and analysis in the article.