VPC Releases Target America: Can the Flood of Foreign Assault Weapons be Stopped?

For Release:  Tuesday, March 17, 1998

Study Analyzes Why ATF Has Failed to Stop Import of Assault Weapons and Raises Questions as to Whether Most Recent Effort Can Succeed

Study Contains Criminal Tracing Data, Advertisements with Photographs of Imported Assault Weapons

President Clinton is expected to announce this month the results of a 120-day review of the process by which the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) regulates the import of foreign-made assault rifles. The President ordered ATF to reexamine its import criteria for so-called “sporterized” assault weapons after it was disclosed last November that the agency was allowing large numbers of such weapons into the country. In anticipation of the White House announcement, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) today released Target America: Can the Flood of Foreign Assault Weapons be Stopped? The new 72-page report:

  • offers a short narrative of the controversy over imported assault weapons;
  • presents advertising and catalog photos of the specific firearms considered for import by ATF;
  • offers information on criminal traces for foreign-made assault weapons broken out by state for the years 1995 and 1996; and,
  • contains original source documents cited in the report.

The report notes that to date ATF’s “action on foreign-made assault weapons has better served the interests of foreign manufacturers and firearm importers than the American public. ATF now has the opportunity to abandon its failed gun-by-gun approach and develop a comprehensive rule that treats assault weapons as a specific class of firearm. Any solution short of a tightly crafted rule prohibiting the import of all firearms with an assault weapon configuration including `sporterized’ weapons is, unfortunately, doomed to fail.”

Follow this link to view the full text (except for the appendices) of Target America.




About the Violence Policy Center
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