Biden Wants New Ban On Assault-Style Weapons. What Lessons Were Learned From The 90s?

Biden Wants New Ban On Assault-Style Weapons. What Lessons Were Learned From The 90s?

When an assailant stormed a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., last month and fatally shot 10 people, the suspected weapon of choice — a Ruger AR-556 pistol — captured immediate attention. Not for what it technically was — a pistol — but for what it more closely resembled — an assault-style rifle. The legality and lethality of semi-automatic "assault-style weapons" has been a topic of debate before. But in the wake of the mass shooting in Boulder, calls are once again growing for a federal ban on these guns, including from President Biden. While unveiling a series of new measures around gun violence prevention at the White House on Thursday, the president said the nation should reinstate a version of the federal assault weapons ban he helped to pass as a senator in the 1990s. That legislation, the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in the shadow of mass shootings like the 1989 Cleveland Elementary School shooting in Stockton, Calif. Designed to last for a period of 10 years, its intended effect was to bar the sale of semi-automatic weapons and large capacity magazines to civilians. The bill, while admittedly flawed even to its cheerleaders, set a model for proponents of banning high-power firearms from civilian hands. As advocates today look to overcome steep odds to bring the ban back, they are hoping to avoid a repeat of past mistakes. "I think one of the issues that came up with the […]

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