From Lois Beckett:
Over the past two decades, the majority of Americans in a country deeply divided over gun control have coalesced behind a single proposition: The sale of assault weapons should be banned.
That idea was one of the pillars of the Obama administration’s plan to curb gun violence, and it remains popular with the public. In a poll last December, 59 percent of likely voters said they favor a ban.
…It turns out that big, scary military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do. In 2012, only 322 people were murdered with any kind of rifle, F.B.I. data shows.
These statistics are not a sound argument against a curb on assault weapons. Saving even a fraction of the 322 firearm deaths caused by rifles would be a positive step. But it does illustrate politicians’ propensity to follow the path of least resistance, rather than taking effective action. A partial restriction on handguns — whether on sales, ownership, storage or requiring trigger locks — would not grab as many headlines, but would be far more effective in saving lives.