20 U. Dayton L. Rev. 641 (1994-1995)
The Assault Weapons Ban - Saving Lives

handle is hein.journals/udlr20 and id is 649 raw text is: THE ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN-SAVING LIVES
Jeffrey Y. Muchnick*
I. INTRODUCTION
In late August 1994, after months, and even years, of cantankerous debate,
the United States Senate gave final approval to comprehensive anti-crime
legislation. The Senate's action ended an often painful process which at times
had appeared doomed to fail.
One of the most controversial aspects of the bill, at least among politicians,
was the provision to ban nineteen specific types of assault weapons as well as
copycat models. Although the American people, according to every public
opinion poll taken in the last five years, overwhelmingly support the ban, the
powerful gun lobby had pulled out all the stops to defeat the legislation.
In November 1993, Senator Dianne Feinstein offered the ban as an
amendment to the original Senate Crime Bill. At the time, nobody thought she
had the fifty votes. In previous sessions, before Feinstein entered the Senate,
Senator Dennis DeConcini had gained Senate approval for a more modest
measure, but the House of Representatives had failed to act. Senator Feinstein' s
bill differed from Senator DeConcini's in two important ways. First, it outlawed
not only a specific list of weapons but also weapons which were essentially the
same. Second, it specifically listed more than 650 commonly used hunting
weapons which were explicitly exempt.
By including the list of exempted firearms, Feinstein was able to persuade
a majority of Senators to support the amendment, which survived a motion to
table by one vote.
By including a set of criteria to prohibit new or copycat assault weapons,
Congress dramatically improved previous legislation. For instance, the Tec-9
assault pistol and similar models now produced by the Intratec Corporation are
included in the list of banned weapons. The Tec-9 is one of two of the banned
weapons, the M-1 1 was the other, which was among the ten guns traced most
often in crime from 1991 through early 1994 according to a study recently
conducted by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Several states, including
California, had already banned the Tec-9 by name which led Intratec to rename
the weapon Tec-DC9. Feinstein's law ensures that such obvious attempts to skirt
* Legislative Director, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. This Article is adapted from a report prepared
in 1991 by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence in support of a District of Columbia law which held makers
and sellers of assault weapons strictly liable for damages caused by their weapons in Washington, D.C.
* Years earlier the District had banned these weapons, but they continued to be used in District crimes
because of the weak laws in surrounding jurisdictions. While this law obviously differed from attempts to
ban assault weapons, the argument for taking action against assault weapons is essentially the same.

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