Illinois Has More Assault
Weapon Manufacturers Than Any Other State, New Study Shows
(March 3rd, 2004,
Chicago, IL)-A new study shows that Illinois has more "post-ban" assault
weapon manufacturers than any other state, according to the release of
"Illinois: Land of Post-Ban
Assault Weapons" conducted by the Violence Policy Center, based
in Washington, D.C. Although the federal assault weapons ban was passed
in 1994, the gun industry has willfully circumvented federal law and created
through a process dubbed "sporterization" a new generation of assault
weapons and re-named them "post-ban" or "after-ban" assault
weapons. The gun industry has evaded the intent of Congress to get military
style semi-automatic assault weapons off the streets by making minor cosmetic
changes and producing "clones" and "knock-off" versions to continue to
sell for profit at the expense of public safety.
Since 1994, six Illinois
gunmakers - ArmaLite, Inc., D.S. Arms, Inc., Eagle Arms, Les Baer Custom,
Inc., Rock River Arms, Inc., and Springfield Armory, Inc. - have manufactured
post-ban assault weapons. Today, all, except apparently for Springfield
Armory, Inc., manufacture post-ban semi-automatic assault weapons.
Yesterday, the Senate
passed an extension of the assault weapons ban as an amendment to legislation
that would have granted the gun industry civil immunity. The gun industry
immunity bill was soundly defeated as the result of gun control amendments.
However, had the assault weapons amendment become law, it would not have
stopped Illinois gun manufacturers from producing post-ban, semi-automatic
assault weapons. This stands as clear evidence the ban needs to be not
only renewed, but also strengthened.
Military style semi-automatic
assault weapons pose a grave risk to law enforcement officers. One
in every five law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty between
January 1st, 1998, and December 31st, 2001, were killed with assault weapons
according to a study "Officer Down"-Assault
Weapons and the War on Law Enforcement also conducted by the Violence
"While we do not want
to diminish the significance of the Senate voting to extend the assault
weapons ban, unfortunately, the extension would do nothing to curtail
Illinois' unique distinction as being number one in manufacturing these
deadly assault weapons," said Thom Mannard, Executive Director of the
Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. "That's because the current
assault weapons ban needs to be strengthened, not just renewed.
Our police officers deserve better, and we will continue to fight for
a stronger assault weapons ban."
"The Senate vote on
the assault weapons ban amendment shows that there is bi-partisan support
on this important public safety issue. Clearly, Senators on both sides
of the aisle know that they don't want to be on the wrong side of the
assault weapons ban debate or gun violence prevention measures," said
Tracy Egan, of the North Side Chapter of the Million Mom March. "But now
our work continues to educate the public and lawmakers about the need
for strengthening the assault weapons ban."
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.
Wednesday, March 3, 2004