The assault weapons ban will expire on September 13, 2004
if steps are not taken to reauthorize the ban.
Call on President Bush for Support | Senator Feinstein's Legislation |
| What You Can Do | News and Editorials
Watch Senator Feinstein's Recent Press
Conference to Reauthorize the Ban
The federal assault weapons ban -- prohibiting the manufacture and importation of 19-types of military-style assault weapons and dozens of others by physical characteristic -- will expire on September 13, 2004, unless Congress renews it.
The good news: The Senate went on record in March in support of legislation, which I sponsored with Senators John Warner of Virginia and Chuck Schumer of New York, that that would extend the ban.
In a bipartisan vote, the Senate approved a straight 10-year renewal of the current ban as an amendment to a bill being pushed by the National Rifle Association giving gun manufacturers and dealers protection from civil lawsuits.
But in a bizarre twist, the NRA scuttled its own bill to prevent the assault weapons ban from being extended.
We will not give up the fight to save the ban. We will try to amend the extension of the ban to another bill moving through the Senate before it expires.
Ultimately, however, the fate of the ban may be determined by President Bush, who has indicated that he supports its extension, but has not lifted a finger to help.
If Congress and the President fail to act, weapons of war -- like AK-47s, Street Sweepers, and Tec-DC9s -- will once again be made in America, and potential criminals and terrorists who threaten our neighborhoods will once again be able to purchase them over-the-counter in local gun stores.
Now is the time to renew the ban for another ten years, and keep our communities safe.
Call on President Bush for Support
President Bush has indicated that he supports each of these provisions. During the 2000 Presidential Campaign, President Bush indicated that he supported both reauthorization of the assault weapons ban and closing the clip importation loophole. And earlier this year, President’s Bush’s spokesman Scott McClellan reiterated his support for reauthorizing the ban when he said: “The President supports the current law, and he supports reauthorization of the current law.”
Despite these statements, the question remains – will President Bush actively work to get it reauthorized, or will he simply let House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and his NRA friends kill the bill in Congress? The choice is up to him.
Regardless, Senators Feinstein, Warner and Schumer will work tirelessly to see that the assault weapons ban is reauthorized.
These guns are often used for drive-by shooters and criminals who are seeking to do the maximum damage possible in the shortest amount of time.
Military-style assault weapons are the weapons of choice for those seeking to kill a substantial number of people in the shortest amount of time possible. The following are a number of the most gruesome shootings using assault weapons.
San Ysidro, Calif. – On July 18, 1984, James Huberty, a gunman at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, California, opens fire with an UZI, killing 21. He fires 245 rounds before he is killed by a police sniper.
101 California -- On July 1, 1993, Gian Luigi Ferri walked into 101 California Street in San Francisco carrying two high-capacity TEC-9 assault pistols. Within minutes, Ferri had murdered eight people and wounded six.
CIA Headquarters -- On January 24,1993, Mir Aimal KansiKansi jumped from a car in morning rush hour in front of CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and opens fire with an AK-47, killing two and wounding three others.
North Hollywood Bank of America -- On February 28, 1997, Emil Dechebal Matasareanu and Larry Eugene Phillips, Jr. tried to rob a Bank of America branch office in North Hollywood, California. While trying to escape, the two robbers engaged in a shootout with police. Though vastly outnumbered, the two men C armed with AK-47s, thousands of rounds of ammunition, several other weapons and wearing body armor C held off law enforcement personnel for hours before being shot and killed by police. Police were outgunned by the perpetrators and had to obtain weapons of equal firepower from a local gun store.
Columbine – On April 24, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold brought an assortment of homemade bombs, two sawed-off shotguns, a short military-style carbine and a TEC DC-9 semi-automatic pistol. The boys killed thirteen and then took their own lives. About two dozen were injured. Harris and Klebold used a large amount of weapons and explosives, including thirty bombs, several built from propane gas cylinders, an Intratec TEC-DC-9 semi-automatic rifle, two pistol-grip shotguns, one handgun and at least 100 rounds of ammunition.
These shootings – just a few among tens of thousands -- underscore the fundamental danger assault weapons pose to our society.
The goal of the 1994 bill was to drive down the supply of assault weapons and make them more difficult to obtain, and to eventually get them off our streets. And in the years following the enactment of the ban, crimes using assault weapons were reduced dramatically.
Indeed, over the past decade, we have had a chance to examine the assault weapons ban and to determine if it works and it enjoys support.
The results are in:
The proportion of banned assault weapons traced to crimes has dropped by 65.8% since 1995, according to data from the Department of Justice.
In 1995, the first year that the ban went into effect, assault weapons represented 3.57 percent of all crime guns recovered from crimes. By 2002, assault weapons represented only 1.22 percent of the number of guns used in crimes.
More than three-quarters of Americans – including two-thirds of gun owners -- support the extension of the ban;
The men and women of law enforcement across the nation support the ban. The Fraternal Order of Police endorses another ten years, as does almost every other major law enforcement organization, including chiefs of police all across California and the nation.
No weapons have been confiscated from legitimate gun-owners. In fact, the bill specifically protects 670 shotguns and rifles used for hunting.
Based on this evidence, it is clear that the assault weapons ban needs to be reauthorized so that we can continue to keep these military-style weapons off the street. More News and Editorials
Senator Feinstein's Legislation
Senator Feinstein has joined with Senator Chuck Schumer to introduce legislation that would permanently reauthorize the assault weapons ban. The legislation would:
Extend the ban on the manufacture of 19 types of common military style assault weapons by 10 years.
Continue to protect some 670 hunting and other recreational rifles for use by law-abiding citizens; and
Preserve the right of police officers and other law enforcement officials to use and obtain newly manufactured semi-automatic assault weapons -- helping to prevent instances where law enforcement is outgunned by perpetrators.
Maintain the ban on an additional group of assault weapons that have been banned by characteristic for 8 years.
What You Can Do
Call Your Representative in Congress and your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121
Write your Member of Congress in Support of the Ban at the House of Representatives and United States Senate
Send letters to the editor of your local newspaper to make others aware of the need to reauthorize the Assault Weapons Ban
Ask your local district attorney, police chief, sheriff, and state attorney general for their formal endorsement.