U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar is seeking to renew the Federal Assault Weapon Ban (AWB) which expired on September 13, 2004, the lawmaker stated in an interview with Bloomberg on Monday.
Voicing his approval for the ban, Lugar stated that the act should be reinstated although he recognized the fact that the politics domestically in our country with regard to this are on a different track altogether. As a matter of fact it appears that ammunition is being purchased from stores all over the country.
Lugar also said that following the Tucson attack, many Americans feel that the Congress might react by limiting either the amount of ammunition or the type of ammunition available in the market.
The AWB was a 10 year ban that prohibited the civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms called assault weapons. Although in the past, there have been several attempts to renew the ban, but no permanent solutions have come up by far. However, a key aspect of the AWB is that it addressed only semi-automatic firearms and thus, has no effect on the legal status of fully automatic firearms.
This was the point that gave opponents the opportunity to raise their voice against the act. After the expiration of the AWB, they claimed that there has been either little or no increase in the crime rate in the country and hence, the existence of the act does not make much difference.
In the past, there have been several attempts to either renew the act or add an extension period. During the November 2008 elections, a detailed agenda in the official website of President-Elect Barack Obama also included plans to make the ban permanent. Even Attorney-General Eric Holder expressed his desire for the AWB on February 25, 2009.
Nevertheless, Obama did not push for the reinstatement and rather planned to improvise the CIFTA (Inter American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and other related materials) treaty which prevents international small arms trafficking.
Although Lugar acknowledges that renewing the ban is unlikely in the current political scenario, much depends on the re-election which he will face in 2012.