How Do We Know an 'Assault Weapon' Ban Would Not Have Stopped Adam Lanza? Because It Didn't.Jacob Sullum
Dec. 18, 2012
WATCH: Bernie Delegate Interviews Seat Filler at the DNC!
Austria: Syrian Migrant Caught 'Masturbating Next to Children's Playground'
Poll: Trump Takes Lead Over Hillary After Gaining 17 Points in Two Weeks
IRS Launches Investigation Of Clinton Foundation
Historic? Malia Obama Skips Hillary's DNC Speech for Lollapalooza Music Festival
Although Friday's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School has prompted renewed calls for reinstating the federal "assault weapon" ban, we know for a fact that such a law would not have stopped Adam Lanza or made his attack less deadly, because it didn't. The rifle he used, a .223-caliber Bushmaster M4 carbine, was legal under Connecticut's "assault weapon" ban, which is similar to the federal law that expired in 2004. Both laws, in addition to listing specifically prohibited models, cover semiautomatic rifles that accept detachable magazines and have at least two out of five features: 1) a folding or telescoping stock, 2) a pistol grip, 3) a bayonet mount, 4) a grenade launcher, and 5) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor. The configuration of the rifle used by Lanza, which his mother legally purchased and possessed in Connecticut, evidently was not covered by that definition.