Support Amendments 711 to Ban Certain Assault Weapons and 714 to Ban High Capacity Magazines to S. 649
Advocacy Letter - 04/17/13
Source: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Recipient: U.S. Senate
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 210 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, we write to urge you to support amendments 711 and 714 to S. 649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013, which would prohibit the sale and possession of certain military style assault weapons and high capacity magazines that can hold more than ten rounds of ammunition to the bill. The passage of comprehensive gun safety legislation is essential to improving public safety for all Americans.
The Leadership Conference believes these amendments to S. 649 will be of great benefit to the communities we represent, particularly for people of color, youth, and women who are victims of domestic violence, as they experience some of the highest rates of gun violence. Widespread gun violence has had a devastating effect on African-American families and communities. Indeed, “young black men die of gun homicide at a rate eight times that of young white men.”[i]
In view of the devastating impact of gun violence, The Leadership Conference supports congressional action to enhance public safety by preventing access to dangerous assault weapons and high capacity magazines. A Justice Department study of assault gun murders found that assault weapons were disproportionately involved in murders with multiple victims, multiple wounds per victim, and police officers as victims.[ii] The mass shootings committed since 2009 with assault weapons or high capacity magazines have resulted in 135 percent more people being shot and 57 percent more deaths than mass shootings committed with other firearms.[iii] Subsequent to the 1994 assault weapons ban, the use of assault weapons in crime declined by more than two-thirds by about nine years after the ban took effect.[iv] Yet, these significant improvements were short-lived. Following the expiration of the assault weapons ban, 37 percent of police departments reported seeing a noticeable increase in criminals’ use of assault weapons.[v]
We believe measures such as these amendments are important steps to respond to the Newtown massacre and the epidemic of gun violence facing our nation. Assault weapons bans have proven to be effective at reducing crime and getting military style and other dangerous weapons off of our streets. This legislation would ban the sale, transfer, manufacturing and importation of assault weapons and high capacity clips. Passing these amendments would help to stem the tide of mass shooting violence.
The Leadership Conference believes passage of legislation that includes a ban on dangerous assault weapons and high capacity magazines is critical to addressing the issue of gun violence in our nation. For these reasons we urge you to vote yes on amendments 711 and 714 to S.649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013. Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions, please contact either of us or June Zeitlin at (202)263-2852 or Zeitlin@civilrights.org.
President & CEO
Executive Vice President
[iii] Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Updated Analysis of Mass Shootings, 2009-2013. (http://libcloud.s3.amazonaws.com/9/56/4/1242/analysis-of-recent-mass-shootings.pdf). Available from: http://www.demandaction.org/blog/2013-02-update-comprehensive-study-of-mass-shootings-by-mayo
[iv] Christopher S. Koper, “An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003” (June 2004), University of Pennsylvania, Report to the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice.