ABA President Laurel Bellows noted that a previous federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 markedly reduced criminal misuse of those weapons. While the ban was in effect, the incidence of assault weapons gun traces conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives fell 66 percent.
The Assault Weapons Regulatory Act of 2013, a revision and reauthorization of the previous assault weapons ban, carefully defines the characteristics of assault weapons to distinguish them from more than 900 specifically named firearms used for hunting and sporting. It maintains the legal status of currently owned assault weapons but better regulates their sale and transfer. High-capacity ammunition devices would also be regulated. Additionally, the legislation would ban the future transfer of assault weapon ammunition clips that have been grandfathered into legal status. The proposed act gives gun owners the option to sell ammunition clips banned from transfer through voluntary ammunition buyback programs.
ABA President Bellows’ letters to the sponsors of the Assault Weapons Regulatory Act are here.