Argument: The 1994 assault weapons ban was ineffectual

Issue Report: Assault weapons ban in the United States


Throughout the decade-long ban, for instance, the gun manufacturer DPMS/Panther Arms of Minnesota continued selling assault rifles to civilians by the tens of thousands. In compliance with the ban, the firearms manufacturer “sporterized” the military-style weapons, sawing off bayonet lugs, securing stocks so they were not collapsible and adding muzzle brakes. But the changes did not alter the guns’ essence; they were still semiautomatic rifles with pistol grips.
After the ban expired in September, DPMS reintroduced its full-featured weapons to the civilian market and enjoyed a slight spike in sales. But that increase was short-lived, and predictably so, said Randy Luth, the company’s owner. ‘I never thought the sunset of the ban would be that big a deal,’ he said.”
  • Clark A. Wohlferd. “Much Ado About Not very much: The Expiration of the Assault Weapons Ban as an act of Legislative Responsibility.” May 19th, 2005 – “THE NOT VERY MUCH Although the AWB was intended to remove dangerous weapons from the streets, the law did little to achieve this goal. It failed to prohibit particularly dangerous weapons, because the firearms encompassed in the statute’s definition of assault weapons were not uniquely lethal compared to weapons that remained legal under the ban.32 Furthermore, concessions during the legislative process made the AWB unsuccessful in achieving its second purpose—removing these weapons from the public.33 Ultimately, the questionable evidence associating assault weapons with crime, coupled with the continuing availability of assault weapons after the ban, raise doubts as to whether the AWB addressed the underlying crime problem.”