Five Years After Columbine Shooting, Assault Weapons Continue to Threaten Public Safety, Illustrating Need to Strengthen and Renew Federal Assault Weapons Ban

For Release:  Monday, April 19, 2004

Washington, DC – Five years after Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and one teacher with an arsenal that included a Hi-Point Carbine assault rifle and a TEC- DC9 assault pistol, assault weapons continue to threaten America’s police and public in spite of a 1994 federal law intended to ban these military-style weapons the Violence Policy Center (VPC) warned today. Without action by Congress and President Bush, the law will expire on September 13, 2004.

Crime gun traces of the Hi-Point Carbine which did not exist when the 1994 law was passed jumped from zero in 1995 to 505 in 2000. Introduced in 1996, this inexpensive ($200-$300) assault rifle moves faster than any other rifle or shotgun from first retail sale by a federal firearms licensee to recovery at a crime scene, according to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) data. At the same time, the gun industry has made slight, cosmetic design changes to outlawed weapons to evade the 1994 ban. For example, although the TEC-DC9 was banned by name in 1994, it was quickly replaced by a “post-ban” model, the AB-10 (“AB” stands for after ban). Trace numbers for the AB-10 jumped from eight in 1995 to 746 in 2000. Gunmakers are today manufacturing and selling “post-ban” versions of AR-15s, AK-47s, UZIs, MAC-10s, and other assault weapons.

VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “The Columbine shooting is a case study for why renewal of the current assault weapons ban is not enough. To truly ban assault weapons, the law must not only be renewed, but strengthened.”

Intratec AB-10s and Hi-Point Carbines Traced to Crime Scenes, 1995 to 2000

Firearm 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 Total
Intratec AB-10 8 82 240 439 659 746 2,174
Hi-Point Carbine 0 7 134 408 478 505 1,532
Total 8 89 374 847 1,137 1,251 3,706

Legislation pending in Congress, the “Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2003,” would enact a permanent assault weapons ban and significantly strengthen current law to address the limitations that have allowed the gun industry to circumvent the ban.

 

 

 

 

 

The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

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