Additionally, the ban grandfathered in 1.5 million privately owned weapons and nearly 25 million guns equipped with large-capacity magazines. (The ban limited magazine capacity to 10 bullets in most cases.)
"The ban's exemption of millions of pre-ban AWs (assault weapons) and LCMs (large- capacity magazines) ensures that the effects of the law would only occur gradually," the study concluded.
The study's findings suggest that simply renewing the assault weapon ban as it existed from 1994 to 2004 wouldn't significantly impact gun violence.
But what if a new ban went farther?
Australia imposed a stricter version of an assault weapons ban in 1996, banning all semiautomatic rifles. According to the Washington Post, Australia "spent $500 million buying up nearly 600,000 guns from private owners."
The Post quotes a British Medical Journal study that said gun violence dropped and the country went a decade without any fatal mass shootings.
These are emotional times. Every American has been touched by the horror in Newtown and the desire to do something.
And something should be done to try to ensure that mentally deranged individuals cannot get their hands on lethal weapons and carry out mass killings.
But whatever we do should be fact-driven and geared toward a realistic expectation of what can be accomplished.
Kercheval is host of TalkLine, broadcast by the MetroNews Statewide Radio Network from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. The show can be heard locally on WCHS 580 AM.