"Around 30,000 Americans are killed with guns each year; one-third of those are murders. Obviously there's no single solution, which is why I support a wide range of policy proposals to bring sense to our firearms laws. We need to expand background checks, strengthen gun trafficking laws and make sure domestic abusers, the seriously mentally ill and other dangerous people cannot access guns.
"I continue to believe that drying up the supply of military-style assault weapons is an important piece of the puzzle—and the data back this up. These weapons were designed for the military and have one purpose: to kill as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. They are the weapon of choice for grievance killers, gang members and juveniles, and they shouldn't be on the streets.
"A 2004 Justice Department study found clear evidence that the ban on manufacture and transfer of assault weapons reduced their use in crimes. The percentage of assault weapons traced as part of criminal investigations dropped 70 percent between 1993 and 2002, and many police departments reported increases in the use of assault weapons after the ban expired. In less than a decade, the ban was already drying up supply. The study suggested the law would have been even more effective if it had banned weapons already in circulation and if it had continued past its 10-year duration. Unfortunately those limits were part of the compromise that had to be struck to pass the ban into law.
"Let me be clear: Assault weapons allow criminals to fire more shots, wound and kill more individuals and inflict greater damage. The research supports that. A ban on assault weapons was never meant to stop all gun crimes, it was meant to help stop the most deadly mass shootings. That's why it needs to be a part of the discussion, or rampages like Sandy Hook will continue to happen."
⁃ Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif