argument top image

Should we have gun control?
Back to question

Assault weapons should be banned

With no application in hunting, assault weapons should not be available to civilians.
Assault Weapons Ban Gun Control Guns


In 1994, Bill Clinton passed a bill banning assault weapons. However, it expired after 10 years and George W. Bush chose not to renew the ban, allowing assault weapons to reenter the public market.[1]

The Argument

The assault weapons ban needs reviving. Banning assault weapons has been shown to reduce gun deaths and has wide support with the American public.[2][3] Criminals and murderers use assault weapons and semi-automatic weapons because they are readily available. If they were restricted, fewer murderers would be able to obtain an assault weapon and would have to use guns which fire fewer rounds per minute. In a mass shooting incident, this would drastically reduce the number of people the assailant would be able to kill in a short space of time. These weapons also have no legal use. They are not designed for hunting. They are military-grade weapons designed to inflict damage on humans. They have no purpose in day-to-day life.

Counter arguments

Banning assault weapons will have no impact on the homicide rate. Criminals will simply move to other weapons. In countries with exceptionally stringent gun laws, there are still murders and homicides - they just use other weapons. If assault weapons were banned, murderers would simply use rifles and handguns.[4] Also, an owner may want to keep an assault weapon for sport or protection. The majority of assault weapon owners use their guns for pleasure on a shooting range. Why should they be punished and have their guns taken away because of a few bad apples?



The good of the community comes above that of the individual. Individual rights are not unassailable.


[P1] Assault weapons allow murderers to inflict far more damage in a far shorter time frame than other weapons. [P2] Banning them would limit deaths in mass shootings. [P3] Therefore, they should be banned.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] It may limit the number of deaths, but it won't limit the number of mass shootings.

Further Reading

Abrams, Daniel. “Ending the Other Arms Race: An Argument for a Ban on Assault Weapons.” Yale Law & Policy Review, vol. 10, no. 2, 1992, pp. 488–519. JSTOR, DiMaggio, Charles, et al. “Changes in US Mass Shooting Deaths Associated with the 1994–2004 Federal Assault Weapons Ban.” Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, vol. 86, no. 1, 2019, pp. 11–19. Crossref, doi:10.1097/ta.0000000000002060. Gius, Mark. “The Impact of State and Federal Assault Weapons Bans on Public Mass Shootings.” Applied Economics Letters, vol. 22, no. 4, 2014, pp. 281–84. Crossref, doi:10.1080/13504851.2014.939367.


This page was last edited on Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 14:58 UTC

Explore related arguments