On Heels Of Yesterdays Mall Shooting Schumer Renews Call On President To Re-Enact Assault Weapons Ban

Local man opened fire in Hudson Valley mall yesterday using a military-style assault weapon used to kill large quantities of people1994 Assault Weapons Ban written by then-Congressman Schumer expired in September, 2004 - Assault weapons ban passed on the heels of the LIRR massacreSince its expiration less than 6 months ago, gun manufacturers are once again able to produce and sell assault weap

Yesterdays shooting at a Hudson Valley shopping mall might have been prevented had Congress and President Bush reenacted the Assault Weapons Ban that expired last September, US Senator Charles E Schumer warned today. Schumer renewed his call to pass the law, which he wrote as a Congressman and passed on the heels of LIRR incident, and which had succeeded in slashing the rate of banned assault weapons used in crime by nearly twothirds.

When the ban expired last year, gun manufacturers were once again able to produce and sell 19 types of militarystyle assault weapons including TEC9s, and AK47s that have only one purpose to kill human beings. Yesterdays shooting is believed to have been promulgated by the use of a militarystyle assault weapon.

"Ten years ago, Congress took the historic step of banning the sale of assault weapons in the United States and assault weapons crimes dropped dramatically. But sadly, Congress and the President last year allowed the ban to wither away, and the result is that assault rifles that kill human beings are now much more readily available, Schumer said. Yesterdays horrific shooting is only the latest example of a militarystyle assault weapon being used to shoot large numbers of people and we need to renew the assault weapons ban so that yesterday doesnt repeat itself over and over again.

Yesterday, a gunman opened fire on the Hudson Valley Mall, wounding two and forcing the mall to be evacuated. The type of gun and assault likely would have been included under the assault weapons ban. Schumer said today that the shooting served as a stark reminder of the dangers that lie ahead without regulation by the Federal government.

No community is immune from tragedies like the one New Yorkers felt yesterday. The world has changed immensely since 911 and we need the assault weapons ban now more than ever. said Schumer. Enough is enough, we must reenact the ban now, before any more of these weapons get into the wrong hands.

Communities in New York have been changed enormously over the years because of gun crimes. In the 1970's and 1980's many parents feared sending their children outside, even cops were outgunned by thugs carrying military style assault weapons. Then, on December 7, 1993, Colin Ferguson opened fire with a 9MM pistol equipped with a high capacity magazine on a 5:33 p.m. rush hour eastbound LIRR train traveling between New Hyde Park and Garden City. Ferguson's shooting rampage killed six and injured more than a dozen others. After three Garden City men subdued Ferguson, the train stopped at the Merillon Avenue LIRR station around the corners from the Courthouse where Schumer and the families gathered today. A jury found Ferguson guilty of the murder and he was eventually sentenced to six consecutive life sentences about 200 years in prison.

Schumer wrote the original 1994 assault weapons ban which banned the manufacture of 19 types of common military style assault weapons and an additional group of firearms, which have two characteristics common to militarystyle assault weapons; protected some 670 hunting and other recreational rifles for use by lawabiding citizens; and gave police officers and other law enforcement officials the right to use and obtain newly manufactured semiautomatic assault weapons. The law had helped prevent instances when law enforcement is outgunned by perpetrators.

Schumer and Senator Diane Feinstein (DCA) then introduced new legislation last spring to reauthorize the 1994 assault weapons ban by striking the sunset date from the original law. In addition, the legislation introduced would have closed a loophole in the 1994 law, which prohibits the domestic manufacture of highcapacity ammunition magazines, but allows foreign companies to continue sending them to this country by the millions. A measure that would have closed this loophole passed the House and Senate in 1999 by wide margins, but was bottled up in the 1999 Juvenile Justice conference report due to an unrelated provision. Since 1994, the ATF has approved the importation of almost 50 million high capacity ammunition magazines from some 50 countries.

Schumer said the original bill had succeeded in meeting its goal of making assault weapons more difficult to obtain. In 1995, the first year that the ban went into effect, assault weapons represented 3.57 percent of all crime guns recovered from crimes. By 2002, assault weapons represented only 1.22 percent of the number of guns used in crimes. The Justice Department data shows a steady decline of criminal firearm traces in which the 19 banned assault weapons were used. Assault weapons were nearly three times as likely to be recovered in a crime in 1995 than last year:

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