Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Pascrell Blasts President Bush and the Republican Leadership on Failure to Extend Ban on Semi-automatic Assault Weapons

Sep 9, 2004
Press Release

Landmark Legislation to Curb Gun Violence Expires as Lawmakers Leave for Reces

WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ, 8th) today blasted Republican leadership for its failure to extend the federal ban on semi-automatic assault weapons.  Set to expire on September 13th, the Assault Weapons Ban has barred 19 types of military-style guns for ten years.

"To oppose reauthorizing this ban may call into question one's sense of reason - but to thwart the democratic process by holding legislation hostage is unconscionable," stated Pascrell.  "There's a reason every law enforcement organization, including the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Sheriffs' Association supports this ban:  It works.

"This is an absolute disgrace," continued Pascrell.  "By allowing this measure to expire, the Republican majority blatantly chooses special interests over people's lives.  The gun industry has won yet again and the cost will be deadly.  The NRA will have blood on its hands."

"Uzi's, AK-47's, Street Sweepers.I have yet to meet a duck hunter who demands access to such advanced weaponry. We can protect the rights of law abiding citizens who own guns for hunting or security, but we can all agree these weapons of war must be kept off our streets."

"Our communities and members of law enforcement deserve this protection.  Inaction and empty promises do not keep deadly guns out of criminal hands. According to the National Institute of Justice, police traces on assault weapons used in crimes declined by 20 percent the first year alone.  It makes common sense - how can any member of Congress be opposed to such necessary legislation?"

"This administration repeatedly short changes first responders.  This is yet another example of how Republican priorities are misplaced as we'll be forced to face an extended war on terror here on our streets at home."

The federal assault weapons ban was enacted in 1994 and is due to expire unless the Congress and White House act on new legislation. Pascrell is a co-sponsor of H.R. 2038, which  makes the existing ban permanent and strengthens it in several ways, including closing a loophole which enables the sale of parts through the mail which could be used to construct assault weapons at home and establishing a tighter definition of assault weapon to cover more guns.