Military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines have no place on our streets. Because these weapons were originally designed for combat, to kill large numbers of people in a short period of time, they are used disproportionately in mass shootings, resulting in more victims and more fatalities. Today, even people with criminal records, or with serious mental illness, can and do buy assault weapons from unlicensed private sellers who don’t conduct background checks.
While these weapons often play a prominent role in mass shootings, they are also a common threat in everyday incidents of gun violence that don’t always make national headlines. According to the Department of Justice, high-capacity magazines are used in 14 to 26 percent of all gun crimes and in 31 to 41 percent of fatal police shootings. As Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty said in January 2011 after one of his officers was fatally ambushed by a teenager with a semiautomatic AR-15: “There are just more and more assault rifles out there, and it is becoming a bigger threat to law enforcement each day. They are outgunned.”
It is no wonder that law enforcement groups across the country, as well as the majority of NRA members, support banning these dangerous weapons. In fact, a recent national survey found that 81 percent of likely voters support a ban on assault weapons, including 71 percent of gun owners and 60 percent of NRA members.
Congress should pass The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 (S. 150/H.R. 437), legislation that would save lives by limiting the possession and transfer of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.