Forbes has a good article that explains just why a ban on “assault weapons” is a futile gesture. Referring to the “assault weapons” ban that was in effect from 1994 to 2003:
The evidence is in on the effect of her previous assault weapons ban: zero, zilch, nada, as the saying goes. The ban made no perceptible difference in the gun violence statistics when it went into effect, and no perceptible difference when it was allowed to expire 10 years later, in 2003.
That is because the term “assault weapon” is just a PR stunt that fools the gullible and easily deluded. It is defined in legislation by cosmetic features that frighten white bread suburbanites, but do not involve any functionality of any gun. We tried it, conservatives said it wouldn’t work, and it didn’t work. Yet, it is the liberal answer to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn.
In the wake of atrocities such as Sandy Hook it’s easy to get caught up in emotionalism and feel that we need to “do something.” As Megan McArdle put it over at The Daily Beast: “There's a terrible syllogism that tends to follow on tragedies like this: 1. Something must be done. 2. This is something. 3. Therefore this must be done.” She also says:
“It would certainly be more comfortable for me to endorse doing something symbolic--bring back the "assault weapons ban"--in order to signal that I care. But I would rather do nothing than do something stupid because it makes us feel better. We shouldn't have laws on the books unless we think there's a good chance they'll work: they add regulatory complexity and sap law-enforcement resources from more needed tasks. This is not because I don't care about dead children; my heart, like yours, broke about a thousand times this weekend. But they will not breathe again because we pass a law. A law would make us feel better, because it would make us feel as if we'd "done something", as if we'd made it less likely that more children would die. But I think that would be false security. And false security is more dangerous than none.”
There’s lots of good information in both articles and I recommend that you go and read both of them.
Update: More from Larry Correia Quote: “So now that there is a new tragedy the president wants to have a “national conversation on guns”. Here’s the thing. Until this national conversation is willing to entertain allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons, then it isn’t a conversation at all, it is a lecture.”