Failure of the Assault Weapons Ban

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  • Topic: Crime, Assault rifle, Federal Assault Weapons Ban
  • Pages : 2 (780 words )
  • Download(s) : 174
  • Published : November 27, 2005
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In the late 1980's and early 1990's, the frequency of crimes involving firearms became a very public issue. The attempted assassination of President Reagan and critical wounding of numerous police officers in a highly publicized shootout with bank robbers in California raised the issue of the need to ban certain types of weapons. For nearly a decade, the need for an assault weapons ban was a hotly debated subject. In 1994, Congress succumbed to public pressure and passed the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. Eventually, the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban was proven to be an impotent piece of legislation due to it's ineffectiveness in banning true assault weapons, its near uselessness as a crime prevention tool, and it was passed with a "sunset clause" which limited its lifespan.

The Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 was never able to truly ban assault weapons because it did not ban actual weapons, rather it banned cosmetic and ergonomic aspects found commonly on firearms intended for recreational purposes as well as assault weapons. Such aspects as a bayonet mount, a pistol grip protruding conspicuously beneath the stock and folding or collapsible stocks were addressed while rate of fire or power of the round fired were not. While the frequency of "drive-by bayonettings" dropped dramatically, the sale of true assault weapons did not. Common shotguns and deer rifles were being pulled from the shelves because of a pistol grip or folding stock while rifles capable of firing 30 high velocity rounds in 30 seconds were being sold in unrestricted amounts because they did not have the banned cosmetic aspects. This fact alone made the ban ineffective.

Along with its lack of effect on banning true assault weapons, the ban also failed to address the issue of illegal gun activity. The Congressional Record, 13 September 1990 states that a group of over 100,000 police officers delivered a message to Congress stating that only 2% to 3% of crimes are committed using a so-called assault weapon....
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