Argument: An assault weapons ban violates presumption of innocence

Issue Report: Assault weapons ban in the United States


  • Jeff Synder. “An argument for assault weapons”. Oct 3, 1994 – “The essence of the ‘weapon of choice’ argument is that, because criminals and madmen use these guns to commit crimes, the law-abiding must give them up. But to ban guns because criminals use them is to tell law-abiding citizens that their rights and liberties depend upon the conduct of the lawless. By criminalizing an act that is not wrong in itself — the purchase or sale of a firearm — the ban violates the presumption of innocence, the principle which ensures that government honors the liberty of its citizens until their deeds convict them. By completely banning the sale of assault weapons to prevent crime before it occurs, the law effectively and irrefutably presumes that all who want such a weapon are no better than murderers or madmen, forever ineligible to acquire these firearms.”