Washington, DC, September 13, 2022 – On the anniversary of the signing and expiration of the federal Assault Weapons Ban – which went into effect on September 13, 1994, and expired on September 13, 2004 – Brady renews its call on the U.S. Senate to pass the Assault Weapons Ban of 2021, which would prevent the kind of massacres afflicting Americans and seen most recently in Buffalo, New York; Highland Park, Illinois; and Uvalde, Texas.
Brady President Kris Brown said:
“Weapons of war have no place in our communities, and every day we wait to renew and improve upon the Assault Weapons Ban, more lives are at risk. As we’ve seen over and over in communities like Buffalo, Highland Park, Uvalde, Parkland, Las Vegas, and too many others to name, easy access to such lethal weapons is an open invitation to individuals looking to inflict maximum destruction.
We have the power to prevent these uniquely American tragedies, and a ban on assault weapons is critical to accomplishing that goal. Brady applauds those representatives and senators who are heeding the will of the American public to pass this bill and make our communities safer.”
On July 29, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to reinstate an assault weapons ban with bipartisan support. This bill would prohibit the future importation, sale, manufacture, or transfer of:
Semi-automatic firearms that can accept a detachable magazine and have specific features that enhance their lethality;
Semi-automatic firearms with such features that have a fixed magazine of more than 15 rounds;
Any part, or combination of parts, that increases the rate of fire of a semiautomatic firearm, including bump stocks; and
High capacity feeding devices capable of accepting more than 15 rounds.
The Senate must vote on this bill before the current Congress adjourns if it is to become law in the near future.
It's Also the Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act
September 13 is also the 28th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, which was championed in Congress by then-Senator Joe Biden.
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022 – signed into law by President Biden on March 15 – helps to protect victims of domestic violence and includes new provisions that notify law enforcement when domestic abusers and other prohibited individuals attempt to obtain firearms. While closing the “boyfriend loophole” was not included in the VAWA reauthorization, Congress largely addressed this loophole in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act signed by President Biden in July of this year.
Today, we celebrate the passage of this bill and the measures it has taken to protect victims of domestic violence, and we continue to advocate for further steps to be taken to fully confront the gun violence epidemic. Brady urges Congress to close the boyfriend loophole to prevent unmarried partners and stalkers who physically abuse their partners from obtaining a firearm.
About the Lethality of Assault Weapons
During the 10-year period the federal assault weapons ban was in effect, mass shooting fatalities were 70% less likely to occur compared to the periods before and after the ban.
Since Congress let the ban expire, deaths from mass shooting incidents in which six or more people were killed have increased by 347%.
An analysis of mass shootings resulting in four or more deaths found that more than 85% of such fatalities were caused by assault rifles.
About the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban
In 1994, Congress enacted a federal assault weapons ban as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Brady’s namesakes, Jim and Sarah Brady, were instrumental in passing this life-saving law, working hand-in-hand with legislators every step of the way. However, the ban expired in 2004 and was not renewed. In the decade after the ban expired, more than 300 people were shot and killed in 34 gun massacres (defined as six or more people shot and killed), representing a 183% increase in such massacres and a 239% increase in fatalities.
About Firearms and Domestic Violence
In America, firearms are the weapons of choice for domestic violence homicides. In fact, female intimate partners are more likely to be murdered with a gun than by all other means combined. The mere presence of a firearm can threaten, intimidate, psychologically abuse, and force compliance on a partner.
In America, 60% of mass shooting events between 2014 and 2019 were either domestic violence attacks or perpetrated by those with a history of domestic violence.
A perpetrator’s direct access to guns during a domestic violence incident increases the likelihood of a female victim’s homicide compared to other acts of violence by 11 times.
Women who were killed by a spouse, intimate partner, or a close relative were seven times more likely to have lived in homes with guns.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.