For Release: Monday, September 13, 2004
Reacting to the expiration of the federal assault weapons ban, the Violence Policy Center released the following statement today from Legislative Director Kristen Rand:
Soon after its passage in 1994, the gun industry made a mockery of the federal assault weapons ban, manufacturing “post-ban” assault weapons with only slight, cosmetic differences from their banned counterparts. The VPC estimates that more than one million assault weapons have been manufactured since the ban’s passage in 1994.
The sad truth is that mere renewal would have done little to stop this flood of assault weapons. Conversely, the end of the ban only makes official what was already known: assault weapons are readily available in America. The only difference is that the arbitrary distinction between pre- and post-ban assault weapons is now gone.
While the assault weapons ban has ended, the debate will continue–as will the killings. A 2003 Violence Policy Center analysis of FBI data reveals that one out of five law enforcement officers (41 of 211) slain in the line of duty from 1998 through 2001 were killed with an assault weapon. So far this year, six law enforcement officers in Indiana and Alabama alone have been killed with SKS assault rifles–weapons not covered under the 1994 ban.
America’s police and public deserve an effective assault weapons ban that truly bans all assault weapons.