Several police chiefs, including those from Washington, D.C.,
Atlanta, Los Angeles and Seattle, urged lawmakers to renew the
They talked about how their officers are already up against bad
guys with better guns. The ban, they argued, would only make the
"We're sick and tired of picking up young bodies off our
streets," said Richard Pennington, Atlanta's police chief.
(the banned weapons) are a threat to the safety of our dedicated
police officers and the public," said Washington, D.C., police
Chief Charles Ramsey.
A recent report by the Consumer Federation of America, a conglomerate
of 300 consumer groups that favor tighter legislation of the gun
industry, concluded "assault weapons will be more lethal
and less expensive" without the ban and that police "may
be forced to adopt a more militaristic approach."
The report analyzed gun industry advertisements and other sales
materials as well as interviews with gun industry officials.
Most automatic weapons, including most machine guns, that have
been illegal since 1934 will remain that way.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is among those
who question the ban's success and said legislation outlawing
guns has the potential to reach "all kinds of hunting rifles."
Other opponents of the ban criticized the confusing nature of
what was specifically outlawed. Richard Batory, a firearms instructor
and NRA member from Tucson, Ariz., said the ban is "basically
about cosmetics of certain firearms. It doesn't affect function
or the way firearms are being used."
Opponents also point out that banned weapons manufactured and
sold before 1994 were grandfathered in, meaning they were still
legal to buy and sell.
Senator Feinstein of California acknowledged the fight is over
for now, but she also said she's not done. Feinstein vowed to
re-introduce an assault weapons ban next year.
for NewsHour Extra by Jule Gardner