Editor’s Note – We are attaching the information Senator Feinstein says is in her legislation to renew the so-called “Assault Weapons Ban” so you can see what is in store by her accord. Of course, she also includes excerpts from studies that support her views, but she neglects to cite much of the independent study commissioned by the National Institute of Justice in 2004. Its a long read, but must be included in its entirety, not just cherry picking.
From the Washington Times in August 16, 2004:
The federal assault-weapons ban, scheduled to expire in September, is not responsible for the nation’s steady decline in gun-related violence and its renewal likely will achieve little, according to an independent study commissioned by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).
“We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence,” said the unreleased NIJ report, written by Christopher Koper, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
“It is thus premature to make definitive assessments of the ban’s impact on gun violence. Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times.
The report also noted that assault weapons were “rarely used in gun crimes even before the ban.”
NIJ is the Justice Department’s research, development and evaluation agency — assigned the job of providing objective, independent, evidence-based information to the department through independent studies and other data collection activities. (Read more here.)
Here is the National Institute of Justice’s Report by Christopher S. Kopher. Read more here at the Jerry Lee Center for Criminology here. Take special notice to the divergent opinions of the Kopher study, hers versus the Washington Times.
You be the judge:
From the Official web site of Senator Diane Feinstein:
Stopping the spread of deadly assault weapons
In January, Senator Feinstein will introduce a bill to stop the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition feeding devices.
To receive updates on this legislation, click here.
- Feinstein to Introduce Updated Assault Weapons Bill in New Congress, December 17, 2012
- Feinstein Statement on Connecticut School Shooting, December 14, 2012
Summary of 2013 legislation
Following is a summary of the 2013 legislation:
- Bans the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of:
- 120 specifically-named firearms
- Certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one military characteristic
- Semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds
- Strengthens the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and various state bans by:
- Moving from a 2-characteristic test to a 1-characteristic test
- Eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test
- Banning firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons” to address attempts to “work around” prior bans
- Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.
- Protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by:
- Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment
- Exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes and
- Exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons
- Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered under the National Firearms Act, to include:
- Background check of owner and any transferee;
- Type and serial number of the firearm;
- Positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint;
- Certification from local law enforcement of identity and that possession would not violate State or local law; and
- Dedicated funding for ATF to implement registration
A pdf of the bill summary is available here.
Effectiveness of 1994-2004 Assault Weapons Ban
Following are studies that have been conducted on the 1994-2004 Assault Weapons Ban:
- In a Department of Justice study (pdf), Jeffrey Roth and Christopher Koper find that the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban was responsible for a 6.7 percent decrease in total gun murders, holding all other factors equal. They write: “Assault weapons are disproportionately involved in murders with multiple victims, multiple wounds per victim, and police officers as victims.”
- Original source (page 2): Jeffrey A. Roth & Christopher S. Koper, “Impact Evaluation of the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act of 1994,” The Urban Institute (March 1997).
- In a University of Pennsylvania study (pdf), Christopher Koper reports that the use of assault weapons in crime declined by more than two-thirds by about nine years after 1994 Assault Weapons Ban took effect.
- Original source (page 46): Christopher S. Koper, “An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003” (June 2004).
- In a Washington Post story, reporters David Fallis and James Grimaldi write that the percentage of firearms seized by police in Virginia with high-capacity magazines dropped significantly during the Assault Weapons Ban. That figure has doubled since the ban expired.
- Original source: In Virginia, high-yield clip seizures rise. By David S. Fallis and James V. Grimaldi, Washington Post.
- In a letter to the editor in the American Journal of Public Health (pdf), Douglas Weil and Rebecca Knox explain that when Maryland imposed a more stringent ban on assault pistols and high-capacity magazines in 1994, it led to a 55 percent drop in assault pistols recovered by the Baltimore Police Department.
- Original source (pages 297-298): Douglas S. Weil & Rebecca C. Knox, “Letter to the Editor, The Maryland Ban on the Sale of Assault Pistols and High-Capacity Magazines: Estimating the Impact in Baltimore,” 87 American Journal of Public Health 2, Feb. 1997, at 297-98.
- A recent study by the Violence Policy Center finds that between 2005 and 2007, one in four law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty was killed with an assault weapon.
- Original source (pages 6-7): Violence Policy Center, “Target: Law Enforcement—Assault Weapons in the News,” (Feb. 2010).
- A report by the Police Executive Research Forum finds that 37 percent of police departments reported seeing a noticeable increase in criminals’ use of assault weapons since the Assault Weapons Ban expired.
- Original source (page 2): Police Executive Research Forum, “Guns and Crime: Breaking New Ground by Focusing on the Local Impact,” (May 2010).