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Courts and Academics Agree: The U.S. Needs Bans on Assault Weapons

New research and recent court decisions point to the undeniable conclusion that more robust gun bans would reduce mass shootings.
A man holds a scrolling message about guns on his smart phone at a candlelight vigil in West Hollywood, California, following the early Sunday morning attacks on a gay night club in Orlando, Florida.
A man holds a scrolling message about guns on his smart phone at a candlelight vigil in West Hollywood, California, following the early Sunday morning attacks on a gay night club in Orlando, Florida.REUTERS/David McNew

In light of the tragic mass shooting at an Orlando gay club, the political debate is back on over whether U.S. gun laws are too lenient. Addressing the situation June 12, President Obama said that “we need to keep guns like the ones used last night out of the hands of terrorists or other violent criminals.”

It’s fair to say that guns like the AR-15-style rifle that helped kill 49 people and injure at least 53 more in Orlando should be kept out of the hands of anyone—not just those who commit crimes and acts of terror. People who make this argument are often accused of hoplophobia by NRA denizens. However, the research around gun restrictions, such as bans on assault weapons, is becoming clearer in its conclusions: Such laws do tend to reduce gun-related homicides.