Mr. Speaker, I rise to express my outrage at the decision of the President and the Republican leadership to allow the assault weapons ban to expire.
This law has been a critical part of our nation's successful effort to dramatically bring the violent crime rate down in this county.
Since the ban went into effect in 1994, annual firearm deaths have decreased by 25%.
And according to a study published by the Brady Center, the number of cases in which the ATF traced an assault weapon to a crime has dropped by 66% since the enactment of the ban.
And the ATF has data showing that the longer the ban is in effect the fewer assault weapons have been available for use by a criminal.
The ban has broad public support. Most importantly key law enforcement officers and agencies support it.
They know that these weapons have no place in our communities.
The ATF description of these weapons in their "Assault Weapons Profile" clearly shows us why.
"Assault weapons were designed for rapid fire, close quarter shooting at human beings. That is why they were put together the way they were. You will not find these guns in a duck blind or at the Olympics. They are mass produced mayhem."
The Department of Treasury has reported that these weapons are not suitable for sport and are more attractive to criminals.
The ATF goes on to say that "Access to them shifts the balance of power to the lawless."
In essence these are not weapons to be used by sportsmen or kept at home. They are weapons designed to kill people—lots of them.
Assault weapons have been at the center of many of the worst mass murders in the US.
In 1984 21 people were killed and 19 people injured by a man with an Uzi in a McDonalds in California.
In January of 1989 another man used a semiautomatic version of an AK-47 to kill 5 children at an elementary school children. 29 other children and their teacher were wounded in the same incident. The man fired 106 rounds in two minutes.
In 1993, Mir Aimal Kasi killed 2 CIA employees and wounded three others outside Langley using a Chinese-made semiautomatic AK-47 he bought in a gun store in Virginia.
And in July of 1993, 8 people were killed and 6 people were wounded in a San Francisco law office. The man responsible used two TEC-DC9 assault pistols with 50 round magazines.
And these weapons are a serious threat to the men and women who serve out communities as law enforcement officers.
Allowing access to these weapons mean that our law enforcement officers have to carry heavier firepower that they do not want to use.
In 1994 every major national law enforcement organization worked to pass the assault weapons ban.
Now the President and the Congressional leadership have abandoned these peace officers by letting the ban expire.
This is particularly stunning given the world we live in after September 11th.
And yet they have now made it easier for terrorists to arm themselves in our country.
This is unacceptable.
We don't need these weapons in our communities. They are an invitation death and destruction and a threat to our freedom.
The Congress needs to restore the ban immediately to protect our constituents and our children.
I urge the Speaker to schedule a vote as soon as possible, and ensure that assault weapons do not come flooding back into the United States.