VPC Offers Strong Support
for McCarthy-Conyers Assault Weapons Ban
Violence Policy Center (VPC) announced its strong support for the "Assault
Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2003," legislation introduced
today by Representatives Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and John Conyers (D-MI).
The legislation would renew a 1994 federal law banning certain assault
weapons. More importantly, the bill would significantly strengthen
current law to address limitations in the ban that have allowed the gun
industry to circumvent the law.
The current assault
weapons ban will end on September 13, 2004, unless Congress and the President
act and pass new legislation.
The gun industry has
successfully circumvented the current law, designing and marketing assault
weapons that incorporate slight modifications to evade the ban. The gun
industry markets a wide variety of such "post-ban" assault weapons. "These
guns are assault weapons, but they are not banned by current law,"
states Kristen Rand, VPC legislative director. These "post-ban" guns incorporate
features that are the essence of an assault weapon, design characteristics
that make it easy for a shooter to simply point � as opposed to carefully
aim � the weapon to quickly spray a wide area with a lethal hail of bullets.
These design characteristics make assault weapons especially attractive
to criminals and distinguish them from true hunting weapons. Today, "post-ban"
versions of AK-47s and AR-15s, guns banned by name by the 1994 law, are
flooding the civilian market. A post-ban AR-15 clone manufactured by Bushmaster
was used by the Washington, DC-area snipers to kill 10 and injure three
in October 2002.
bill is modeled on California's assault weapons ban. The California law
was passed in 1999 to improve upon that state's landmark 1989 legislation
to ban assault weapons in the wake of the Stockton schoolyard massacre.
Adds Rand, "The updated California law has successfully prevented the
gun industry from manufacturing and marketing "sporterized" assault weapons.
This should be the goal of any new federal law."
The Violence Policy Center is a
national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence
in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research
on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related
death and injury.
Thursday, May 8, 2003
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x105