For Release: Wednesday, October 1, 2003
Ban Will End on September 13, 2004 Without Congressional and White House Action
WASHINGTON, DC – The Violence Policy Center (VPC) today announced its strong support for the “Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2003,” legislation introduced by Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). The legislation would renew the 1994 federal assault weapons ban. More importantly, the bill would significantly strengthen current law to address limitations in the ban that have allowed the gun industry to circumvent it
Since the 1994 law’s inception, the gun industry has successfully circumvented it, making slight, cosmetic modifications to banned weapons to allow their continued sale. Today, “post-ban” versions of AK-47s, MAC-10s, UZIs, and AR-15s flood the civilian market. The most notorious example is the Bushmaster XM15 assault rifleï¿½a post-ban AR-15 cloneï¿½used by the Washington, DC-area snipers to kill 10 and wound three in October 2002. Bushmaster even advertises the XM15 as a “Post-Ban Carbine.” The Lautenberg and McCarthy bills are based on a 1999 California law that has successfully stopped this industry practice.
VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “FBI data shows that one out of five law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty is killed with an assault weapon. To successfully protect our police and the public, the federal assault weapons ban must not only be renewed, but strengthened, to end this deadly gun industry practice and truly ban all assault weapons.”
As part of its campaign to renew and strengthen the assault weapons ban, the VPC has launched a new activist web site, www.banassaultweapons.org, challenging President Bush to support an effective assault weapons law. Also, in an ad placed in Roll Call yesterday, 86 national and state organizations announced their support of the Lautenberg and McCarthy bills.