New Study Reveals More
Than 40 Gunmakers Currently Marketing Assault Weapons�Including UZIs,
AK-47s, AR-15s, MAC-10s, Galils, MP5s, and Others�Despite 1994 Federal
Latest Proof of
Gun Industry's Evasion of Federal Assault Weapons Ban�Scheduled to Expire
on September 13, 2004�and Need for Law to be Strengthened
More Than One Million
Assault Weapons Marketed Since Ban's Passage in 1994
than 40 gunmakers in 22 states are currently marketing "post-ban" assault
weapons�including UZIs, AK-47s, AR-15s, MAC-10s, Galils, MP5s, Tommy Guns,
Stens, and others�according to United
States of Assault Weapons: Gunmakers Evading the Federal Assault Weapons
Ban, a new study released today by the Violence Policy Center
(VPC), a Washington, DC-based national research and educational organization.
The study also estimates that more than one million "post-ban" assault
weapons have been manufactured in the United States since the ban's passage
in 1994 and warns that today "there are more assault weapon manufacturers
and assault weapons available for sale than ever before." The study
proves that if the 1994 ban is simply renewed, and not strengthened, every
single one of the assault weapons made by these companies and featured
in the study will remain on the market, legal for sale to the American
public under federal law.
The study was released
nationally at press conferences today in Los Angeles and Oakland, CA,
with policymakers, law enforcement officials, California gun violence
prevention advocates, and emergency room physicians. In 1999, California
tightened its assault weapons ban to stop the sale of the type of "post-ban"
weapons featured in the study. Federal legislation, modeled on California
law, is currently pending in the U.S. House and Senate.
Josh Sugarmann, VPC
executive director and study co-author states, "This study is only the
latest proof of how gunmakers have cynically eviscerated the 1994 federal
assault weapons ban. For the assault weapons ban to work, it must be strengthened.
For those who fear that if the ban expires there will be a flood of AK-47s
and UZIs on our streets, the sad truth is that we're already drowning."
Andr�s Soto, policy
director for the San Francisco-based Trauma Foundation, states, "California's
law is a proven model for the nation. Today, assault weapon ads warn `not
for sale in California.'"
Billie Weiss, MPH,
founder and former executive director of the Los Angeles-based Violence
Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles, states, "Public health and
safety demand that the federal assault weapons ban be as effective as
The study also details
how the gun industry has successfully evaded the current federal ban by
making insignificant, mostly cosmetic, changes in the design of banned
assault weapons and then marketing them as "post-ban" guns. The changes
can be as slight as simply removing a flash suppressor from the end of
the barrel of an assault rifle and replacing it with a muzzle brake (two
components that look almost identical, but perform different functions)
or adding a fixed stock. In October 2002, the Washington, DC-area snipers
used a Bushmaster "post-ban" AR-15-style assault rifle in a killing spree
that left 10 dead and three wounded. As Gun World magazine boasted
in a 2001 article about the Vepr II assault rifle, a "sporterized" version
of the AK-47:
"In spite of assault
rifle bans, bans on high capacity magazines, the rantings of the anti-gun
media and the rifle's innate political incorrectness, the Kalashnikov
[AK-47], in various forms and guises, has flourished. Today there are
probably more models, accessories and parts to choose from than ever
At the same time,
new assault weapons have come onto the market, such as the Hi-Point Carbine
used in the 1999 Columbine massacre, the Beretta Storm Carbine (marketed
with the slogan, "There's a Storm on the horizon"), the Bushmaster Carbon
15 assault pistol, and the Heckler & Koch USC Carbine.
In addition to the
threat assault weapons pose to the general public, they continue to pose
a unique threat to law enforcement personnel. The May 2003 Violence Policy
Center study "Officer Down"�Assault
Weapons and the War on Law Enforcement revealed that, according
to Federal Bureau of Investigation data, one in five law enforcement officers
(41 of 211) slain in the line of duty from January 1998 through December
2001 were slain with an assault weapon, many of which were "post-ban"
models that will remain untouched by a renewal of current law.
to address the industry's subversion of the 1994 ban�the "Assault Weapons
Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2003"�has been introduced in
the 108th Congress by Representatives Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and John
Conyers (D-MI) in the House of Representatives and Senator Frank Lautenberg
(D-NJ) in the Senate.
For more information
please visit www.vpc.org. The Violence Policy Center also has b-roll available
demonstrating pre- and post-ban AK-47s, as well as the model of Bushmaster
assault rifle used in the Washington, DC-area sniper shootings, being
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.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x109