Question about the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban (10 year ban)
I remembered it being close, but looked it up and see that it passed 52-48. So now I have questions...
1) What was the Party breakdown? I'd be willing to bet it wasn't entirely on a Party line.
2) Why didn't anyone filibuster? I find that rather odd. Not even Jesse Helms?
3) Why was the ban for only 10 years? Did anyone want to make it permanent? I can't think of many bans with expiration dates on them.
It was part of a larger crime bill that itself had bipartisan support. The awb needed a sunset provision in order to pass. Including the permanent ban would have sunk the whole bill, and President Clinton didn't want to drop the ban, so the 10 year sunset was the compromise to get it passed. I've read there was hope it could have been extended afterwards, but the resulting backlash and electoral defeat that followed, which many blamed on passing the AWB, pretty much ended that.
Considering that ALL long guns combined (hunting rifles, shotguns, and so-called "assault weapons" ) account for such a statistically insignificant portion of our gun violence, I question the wisdom of paying that political price. A ban on handguns would have had some real impact but that would never have passed and if it had passed it would have been ruled unconstitutional.
We're still paying a political price for the 1994 AWB today, 17 years after it expired.
I'm not sure what the vote you're referring to was. Was it a vote to add the ban to the crime bill or ?
The article author didn't source that particular statement.
In the "References" section, there is a link to an article about a 1990 ban that did indeed pass the Senate with a 52 - 48 vote.
The Pittsburgh Press. Associated Press. May 23, 1990. p. A13. Retrieved September 30, 2013. A campaign for curbs on assault weapons began in January 1989 after a deranged gunman with an AK-47 semiautomatic rifle opened fire on a Stockton, Calif., school yard at recess time, leaving five children dead and 30 wounded.
I suspect that the author conflated the two.
I was a young political guy in 1994. I remember it barely passing and Republicans throwing a fit. There's no way the final bill would have only gotten 4 "No" votes with something this divisive and polarizing in it.
The amendment was to the overall Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which ultimately passed 95 to 4.
That amendment modified S.1607, which was superceded by H.R.3355, which became law. Both 103rd Congress.
Wiki appears to be incorrect but that isn't uncommon.
H.R. 3355 (the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994), which contained the AWB, passed the Senate 95 to 4.
While I don't doubt you or the link since it's official, I'm positive that the vote that I remember was much later, at least around August of 1994. I was in karate when it happened, and I vividly remember the discussion and debate. I wasn't in karate in November of 1993. Could be two votes.
The Wiki link I posted says "September 13, 1994, following a close 5248 vote." While they are sometimes (or a lot of times lol) wrong, that date sounds spot-on with with where I was at.
This one says 52-48 too:
You both are right about the final crime bill vote, with only 4 Nays.
Most of the votes are procedural and not directly related to voting on the legislation itself.
The bill wasnt signed into law until September of 1994, so its likely there were many more procedural votes after the initial 95 to 4 vote referenced on the Senate.gov archive page.
Youve got a good memory for sure. Id have a hard time remembering even a handful of things I did in 1994.
I only remember because that karate class was something special. One guy I remember being furious and saying how it barely passed.
Last edited Sat Dec 25, 2021, 06:50 AM - Edit history (1)
It was contentious, which the vote on the crime bill doesn't reflect.
It was also considerably watered down from Feinstein's earlier bills, but they had to compromise to get anything passed.
I didn't mean to get into the weeds on the procedural stuff, but the correct details certainly help to locate more information about the debate, esp. if you're reading the Congressional Record or even some if the more in-depth news pieces. Not having the bill or amendment number makes things more difficult to research, or, in the case of the Wikiedia/Politico articles, confirm.
It left a huge legacy of distrust. Lists of guns were proposed to be outlawed, it covered all the sporting guns. So called assault weapons owned before the ban were grandfathered but guns with bayonets were included. If you went to a gun show after the ban, you would see people walking around with AKs and ARs carrying pennants that said PRE BAN and buckets of. Detached SKS bayonets labeled Tent Pegs.
An AWB compliant AR15 style rifle with a pistol grip is just as deadly as an AWB non-compliant AR-15 style rifle with a pistol grip, collapsible stock, bayonet lug and flash hider.