Assault Weapons Ban

Democrats in Congress and some Republican allies passed an assault-weapons ban in 1994.

Tucked into the sweeping and controversial Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act signed by President Clinton in 1994, is the subsection titled Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act. This is known as the assault weapons ban — a temporary prohibition in effect from September of 1994 to September of 2004. Multiple attempts to renew the ban have failed.

The provisions of the bill outlawed the ability to “manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon,” unless it was “lawfully possessed under Federal law on the date of the enactment of this subsection.” Nineteen military-style or “copy-cat” assault weapons—including AR-15s, TEC-9s, MAC-10s, etc. could not be manufactured or sold. It also banned “ high-capacity ammunition magazines of more than ten rounds,”.