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Federal judge upholding SAFE Act gun ban relied on unsupported assumptions

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Presumably expert witness testimony relied on by federal judge to uphold New York’s SAFE Act ban on selected semi-automatic firearms presented conclusions not upheld by studies the witness himself co-authored, leading economist, author and commentator John R. Lott Jr. demonstrated in an assessment published Friday at National Review Online.

“The decision relied heavily on testimony by George Mason University criminology professor Chris Koper, who argued ‘that the criminal use of assault weapons declined after the federal assault-weapons ban was enacted in 1994, independently of trends in gun crime,’” Lott wrote. “But Koper’s two studies on the 1994 federal assault-weapons ban don’t support his claims.”

Citing a 1997 National Institute of Justice study that Koper co-authored with colleague Jeffrey A. Roth, and a follow-up study conducted seven years later, Lott highlighted two key admissions.

“[T]he evidence is not strong enough for us to conclude that there was any meaningful effect [of the weapons ban],” the initial study reported.

“[W]e cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence,” the second study concluded. “And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence.”

Lott goes on to deconstruct Skretny’s rationale for concluding that requiring FFL background checks to purchase ammunition “does not unduly burden interstate commerce,” further exposes the judge’s errant belief that registering guns provides public safety benefits, flatly stating “Not a single study is cited showing that registration reduces crime, and decries “[t]he judge’s reliance on the left-wing Mother Jones magazine to buttress claims about mass shootings” as “almost comical.”

Lott concludes by expressing hope that “an appeals court will be more careful with the evidence.” That would be the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, where the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association said Friday they have filed a notice of Appeal.

What remains to be seen is if that court, with its composition, will be inclined to render a decision in favor of the right of the people to keep and bear the type of arms the citizen disarmament lobby demands to outlaw. If not, the last “legal” stop would be the Supreme Court, and without a conflicting ruling, all they would need do to allow the SAFE Act to stand is nothing, that is, refuse to hear the case.


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