More Than 50 Members of Entertainment Community Sign Letter Calling on President Bush, U.S. Congress, to Strengthen and Renew Federal Assault Weapons Ban

For Release:  Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Signatories Include Kevin Bacon, Patricia Heaton, Dustin Hoffman, Helen Hunt, Scarlett Johansson, Christine Lahti, William H. Macy, Robert Redford, Rob Reiner, Brooke Shields, and Barbra Streisand 

Ban Set to Expire on September 13, 2004 

Ad Highlighting Letter Runs in Capitol Hill’s Roll Call Newspaper 

Washington, DC – More than 50 members of the entertainment community including Kevin Bacon, Patricia Heaton, Dustin Hoffman, Helen Hunt, Scarlett Johansson, Christine Lahti, William H. Macy, Robert Redford, Rob Reiner, Brooke Shields, Barbra Streisand, and others today sent a letter to President Bush and Congress calling for the federal assault weapons ban to be strengthened and renewed. Without action by the President and Congress, the ban will expire on September 13th, 2004.

The letter calls for passage of the “Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2003” (S. 1431 and H.R. 2038), a bill that would not only renew, but strengthen, the federal assault weapons ban. Excerpts from the letter were published today in a paid advertisement in Roll Call (follow this link for the full text of the letter and the ad), stating:

the gun industry has successfully evaded the current assault weapons ban enacted in 1994. They have done this by making slight, cosmetic design changes to their “post-ban” guns, a tactic the industry has dubbed “sporterization.”

In the past 10 years, the gun industry has flooded the market with these weapons. Today, “post-ban” AR-15s, AK-47s, MAC-10s, and even UZIs are legal to manufacture, buy, and sell and are being used in crime….From 1998 through 2001, one out of five law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty were killed with an assault weapon.

We know this legislation will work. It is modeled on California’s successful assault weapons ban passed in 1999. The rest of the nation deserves a law as strong as California’s.

The ad was paid for by the Violence Policy Center (VPC), Trauma Foundation, and Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles. A new study released yesterday by the VPC, United States of Assault Weapons: Gunmakers Evading the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, reveals that more than 40 gunmakers in 22 states are currently marketing “post-ban” assault weapons including UZIs, AK-47s, AR-15s, MAC-10s, Galils, MP5s, Tommy Guns, Stens, and others. The study also estimates that more than one million “post-ban” assault weapons have been manufactured in the United States since the ban’s passage in 1994 and warns that today “there are more assault weapon manufacturers and assault weapons available for sale than ever before.”

The letter to President Bush and Congress was signed by: Marc Abraham, Debbie Allen, Kevin Bacon, Laurie & Bill Benenson, Loraine & Peter Boyle, Elizabeth Brooks & Larry Frazin, Shelly & Larry Brown, Jackson Browne, Susan Titelman Cooder & Ry Cooder, Jamie Lee Curtis, Alison & David Dinerstein, Carrie Fisher, Eve & Bill Gerber, Mimi Polk Gitlin & Richard Gitlin, Patricia Heaton & David Hunt, Dustin Hoffman, Helen Hunt, Anjelica Huston, Marta Kauffman & Michael Skloff, Scarlett Johansson, Jena & Michael King, Christine Lahti & Thomas Schlamme, Cyndi Lauper, Lyn & Norman Lear, Tea Leoni, William H. Macy, Samantha Mathis, Harlee McBride & Richard Belzer, Shiva Rose & Dylan McDermott, Patty Smyth McEnroe & John McEnroe, Susan & Graham Nash, Leslie Neale & John Densmore, Sally & Van Dyke Parks, Stephanie & John Perenchio, Danica & Charles Perez, Tom Petty, Robert Redford, Rob Reiner, Tim Roth, Deborah & Carlos Santana, Charlie Sheen, Brooke Shields & Chris Henchy, Nancy & Martin Short, Julia & Aaron Sorkin, Barbra Streisand, James Taylor, Heather Thomas, Cheryl Tiegs, Daena Title & Jason Alexander, Jenno Topping & Chris Moore, and Don Was.






The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Media Contact:
Georgia Seltzer
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