Friday, August 17, 2012

PF 2012 AWB Random Reports

For part 1 of this topic, click here
For other Public Forum Debate topics, click here

The Final Report
This report contains the final assessment of the 1994 AWB and gives the statistics showing the effectiveness on the ban in reducing gun crime.  The report was compiled shortly before the expiration of the ban.  It is not pretty but there are are some interesting caveats which possibly benefit Pro.

An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003, Report to the National Institute of Justice, United States Department of Justice, By Christopher S. Koper, June 2004
Full report:
Summary rpt:

August 2012 Review of Gun Control Legislation
This report, though not particularly useful for evidence is a good summary of current legislation being reviewed by Congress.  I reproduce in full, the section which discusses the expired 1994 AWB.
Congressional Research Service, Gun Control Legislation, William J. Krouse, Specialist in Domestic Security and Crime Policy, August 3, 2012
Expired Semiautomatic Assault Weapons Ban
(pg 86-87)

In 1994, Congress banned for 10 years the possession, transfer, or further domestic manufacture of semiautomatic assault weapons (SAWs) and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices (LCAFDs) that hold more than 10 rounds that were not legally owned or available prior to the date of enactment (September 13, 1994). The SAW-LCAFD ban expired on September 13, 2004. The SAW ban statute classified a rifle as a semiautomatic assault weapon if it was able to accept a detachable magazine and included two or more of the following five characteristics: (1) a folding or telescoping stock, (2) a pistol grip, (3) a bayonet mount, (4) a muzzle flash suppressor or threaded barrel capable of accepting such a suppressor, or (5) a grenade launcher.348 There were similar definitions for pistols and shotguns that were classified as semiautomatic assault weapons.349 Semiautomatic assault weapons that were legally owned prior to the ban were not restricted and remained available for transfer under applicable federal and state laws. Opponents of the ban argue that the statutorily defined characteristics of a semiautomatic assault weapon were largely cosmetic, and that these weapons were potentially no more lethal than other semiautomatic firearms that were designed to accept a detachable magazine and were equal or superior in terms of ballistics and other performance characteristics. Proponents of the ban argue that semiautomatic military-style firearms, particularly those capable of accepting large-capacity ammunition feeding devices, had and have no place in the civilian gun stock.

During and following World War II, assault rifles were developed to provide a lighter infantry weapon that could fire more rounds, more rapidly (increased capacity and rate of fire). To increase capacity of fire, detachable self-feeding magazines were developed. These rifles were usually designed to be fired in fully automatic mode, meaning that once the trigger is pulled, the weapon continues to fire rapidly until all the rounds in the magazine are expended or the trigger is released. Often these rifles were also designed with a “select fire” feature that allowed them to be fired in short bursts (e.g., three rounds per pull of the trigger), or in semiautomatic mode (i.e., one round per pull of the trigger), as well as in fully automatic mode. By comparison, semiautomatic firearms, including semiautomatic assault weapons, fire one round per pull of the trigger.

According to a 1997 survey of 203,300 state and federal prisoners who had been armed during the commission of the crimes for which they were incarcerated, fewer than 1 in 50, or less than 2%, used, carried, or possessed a semiautomatic assault weapon or machine gun.350 Under current law, any firearm that can be fired in fully automatic mode or in multi-round bursts is classified as a “machine gun” and must be registered with the federal government under the National Firearms Act of 1934. Furthermore, it is illegal to assemble a machine gun with legally or illegally obtained parts. The population of legally owned machine guns has been frozen since 1986, and they were not covered by the semiautomatic assault weapons ban.

In the 108th Congress, proposals were introduced to extend or make permanent the ban, whereas other proposals were made to modify the definition of “semiautomatic assault weapon” to cover a greater number of firearms by reducing the number of features that would constitute such firearms, and expand the list of certain makes and models of firearms that are statutorily enumerated as banned. A proposal (S. 1034) introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein would have made the ban permanent as would have a proposal (H.R. 2038/S. 1431) introduced by Representative McCarthy and Senator Lautenberg. The latter measure, however, would have modified the definition and expanded the list of banned weapons. Senator Feinstein also introduced measures that would have extended the ban for 10 years (S. 2109/S. 2498). In addition, on March 2, 2004, the Senate passed an amendment to the gun industry liability bill (S.1805) that would have extended the ban for 10 years, but the Senate did not pass this bill.351

In the 109th Congress, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced a bill that would have reinstated previous law for 10 years (S. 620). Representative McCarthy and Senator Lautenberg reintroduced their bills to make the ban permanent (H.R. 1312/S. 645).

In the 110th Congress, Representative McCarthy reintroduced a similar proposal (H.R. 1022) and another measure (H.R. 1859) that would prohibit the transfer of a semiautomatic assault weapon with a large-capacity ammunition feeding device, among other things. Representative Mark Steven Kirk introduced the Assault Weapons Ban Reauthorization Act of 2008 (H.R. 6257). Senator Biden included provisions to reauthorize the ban in the Crime Control and Prevention Act of 2007 (S. 2237).

In the wake of the Tucson shootings, Representative McCarthy introduced a measure that would reinstate the large capacity ammunition feeding device ban(H.R. 308). Senator Lautenberg introduced a similar measure (S. 32).

Continue the topic series here.

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