Assault weapons ban

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An assault weapons ban is a form of gun control. In the United States, there was a federal-level ban from 1994 until 2004. Attempts to renew the ban failed, as have attempts to pass a new ban. Existing and proposed weapon bans come under scrutiny in the wake of mass shootings, most recently after the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. In the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the world there are or have been similar bans.

United States of America[edit]

Federal assault weapons ban[edit]

Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 (defunct)[edit]

In January 1989, 34 children and a teacher were shot in Stockton, Calif., using a semi-automatic replica of an AK-47 assault rifle. Five children died.[1][2][3]:10 President George H.W. Bush banned the import of semiautomatic rifles in March 1989,[4] and made the ban permanent in July.[5] The assault weapons ban tried to address public concern about mass shootings while limiting the impact on recreational firearms use.[6]:1–2

In November 1993, the ban passed the U.S. Senate, although its author, Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, and other advocates said that it was a weakened version of the original proposal.[7] In January 1994, Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, said handguns and assault weapons should be banned.[8] In May of that year, former presidents Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan, wrote to the U.S. House of Representatives in support of banning "semi-automatic assault guns." They cited a 1993 CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll that found 77 percent of Americans supported a ban on the manufacture, sale, and possession of such weapons.[9] Rep. Jack Brooks, D-TX, then chair of the House Judiciary Committee, tried to remove the ban from the crime bill but failed.[10]

The Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, commonly called the federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB and AWB 1994), was enacted in September 1994. The ban, including a ban on high-capcity magazines, became defunct (expired) in September 2004 per a 10-year sunset provision.

Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 bill (failed to pass)[edit]

Efforts to pass a new federal assault weapons ban were renewed on December 14, 2012, when 20 children and 6 adults were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut[11] - the deadliest primary or secondary school shooting in U.S. history.[12] On January 24, 2013, Dianne Feinstein introduced S. 150, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 (AWB 2013), in the U.S. Senate.[13] The bill was similar to the 1994 federal ban, but differed in that it used a one-feature test for a firearm to qualify as an assault weapon rather than the two-feature test of the 1994 ban.[14] On April 17, 2013, AWB 2013 failed on a Senate vote of 60 to 40.[15]

State assault weapon bans[edit]

County assault weapon bans[edit]

Municipal assault weapon bans[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]


  1. ^ "Senate restricts assault weapon imports, production". The Pittsburgh Press. Associated Press. May 23, 1990. p. A13. 
  2. ^ Pazniokas, Mark (December 20, 1993). "One Gun's Journey Into A Crime". The Courant (Hartford, CT). 
  3. ^ Roth, Jeffrey A.; Koper, Christopher S. (1997). Impact Evaluation of the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act of 1994 (PDF). Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute. 
  4. ^ Mohr, Charles (March 15, 1989). "U.S. BANS IMPORTS OF ASSAULT RIFLES IN SHIFT BY BUSH". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ Rasky, Susan F. (July 8, 1989). "Import Ban on Assault Rifles Becomes Permanent". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Roth, Jeffrey A.; Christopher S. Koper (March 1999). "Impacts of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban". National Institute of Justice Research in Brief (NCJ 173405). 
  7. ^ Bunting, Glenn F. (November 9, 1993). "Feinstein Faces Fight for Diluted Gun Bill". Los Angeles Times. 
  8. ^ Sugarmann, Josh (January 1994). Reverse FIRE: The Brady Bill won't break the sick hold guns have on America. It's time for tougher measures.. Mother Jones. 
  9. ^ Eaton, William J. (May 5, 1994). "Ford, Carter, Reagan Push for Gun Ban". Los Angeles Times. 
  10. ^ Seelye, Katharine Q. (July 28, 1994). "Assault Weapons Ban Allowed To Stay in Anti-crime Measure". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ Barron, James (December 15, 2012). "Children Were All Shot Multiple Times With a Semiautomatic, Officials Say". New York Times (New York Times Company). Retrieved April 12, 2014. 
  12. ^ Effron, Lauren (December 14, 2012). "Mass School Shootings: A History". ABC News. Retrieved April 13, 2014. 
  13. ^ Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rev. Gary Hall, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, et al (January 24, 2013). Assault Weapons Ban Bill (video). Washington, D.C.: National Cable Satellite Corporation. Retrieved April 13, 2014. 
  14. ^ Kucinich, Jackie (January 24, 2013). "Democrats reintroduce assault weapons ban". USA Today. Retrieved April 13, 2014. 
  15. ^ Simon, Richard (April 17, 2013). "Senate votes down Feinstein's assault weapons ban". Los Angeles Times. 

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