Federal Assault Weapons Ban

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The Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), officially the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, is a subsection of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, a United States federal law, which included a prohibition on the manufacture for civilian use of certain w:semi-automatic firearms that were defined as assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The 10-year ban was passed by the United States Congress on September 13, 1994, following a close 52–48 vote in the US Senate, and was signed into law by US President Bill Clinton on the same day. The ban applied only to weapons manufactured after the date of the ban's enactment. It expired on September 13, 2004, in accordance with its sunset provision.

Quotes[edit]

  • These results indicate that fatalities due to mass shootings were lower during both the federal and state assault weapons ban periods. Although some prior research has shown either that assault weapons bans did not reduce crime or that they actually increased gun-related murder rates, the present study’s focus on mass shootings shows the effectiveness of these gun control measures in reducing murders due to mass shootings. Regarding the injury regression, state-level assault weapons bans had no statistically-significant effects, but the federal ban had a significant and negative effect on mass shooting injuries.
  • Results suggest assault weapons (primarily assault-type rifles) account for 2–12% of guns used in crime in general (most estimates suggest less than 7%) and 13–16% of guns used in murders of police. Assault weapons and other high-capacity semiautomatics together generally account for 22 to 36% of crime guns, with some estimates upwards of 40% for cases involving serious violence including murders of police. Assault weapons and other high-capacity semiautomatics appear to be used in a higher share of firearm mass murders (up to 57% in total), though data on this issue are very limited. Trend analyses also indicate that high-capacity semiautomatics have grown from 33 to 112% as a share of crime guns since the expiration of the federal ban—a trend that has coincided with recent growth in shootings nationwide....
    AW [assault weapon] laws also commonly include restrictions on large-capacity magazines (LCMs), which are typically defined as ammunition feeding device sholding more than ten rounds of ammunition (some laws have higher limits). LCM restrictions are arguably the most important components of AW laws in that they also apply to the larger class of high-capacity semiautomatic firearms without military-style features. In the broadest sense, AW-LCM laws are thus intended to reduce gunshot victimizations by limiting the stock of semiautomatic firearms with large ammunition capacities and other features conducive to criminal use....
    Importantly, trend analyses suggest that LCM firearms have grown substantially as a share of crime guns since the expiration of the federal ban on AWs and LCMs.
  • Mass-shooting related homicides in the United States were reduced during the years of the federal assault weapons ban of 1994 to 2004....
    Recently, 75% of members of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma endorsed restrictions to “civilian access to assault rifles (magazine fed, semiautomatic, i.e., AR-15),” and 76% of the Board of Governors were in favor of a limit to “… civilian access to ammunition designed for military or law enforcement use (that is, armor piercing, large magazine capacity).” In 2015, the American College of Surgeons joined seven of the largest most prestigious professional health organizations in the United States and the American Bar Association to call for “restricting the manufacture and sale of military-style assault weapons and large-capacity magazines for civilian use.” This analysis adds evidence to support these recommendations....
    Our results add to the documentation that mass shooting–related homicides are indeed increasing, most rapidly in the postban period, and that these incidents are frequently associated with weapons characterized as assault rifles by the language of the 1994 AWB.
    ...taken in the context of the increase in mass shootings in the United States, these results support the conclusion that the federal AWB of 1994 to 2004 was effective in reducing mass shooting–related homicides in the United States, and we believe our results support a re-institution of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban as a way to prevent and control mass shooting fatalities in the United States.

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