Sept. 14, 2004 – A ten-year ban on assault weapons expired last night at midnight, despite great support for controls on such guns. The ban, enacted in 1994, was often considered ineffective, as shops continued to sell assault rifles slightly modified to evade the ban. The Violence Policy Center estimated in 2003 that one in five law enforcement officers killed on the job between 1998 and 2001 fell victim to an assault weapon.
President Bush, generally a gun-rights supporter, has promised to sign a new measure to ban assault weapons, but has not lobbied for it. Gun control advocates, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, may now be shifting their attention to the state level. Seven states now have some sort of ban on assault weaponry, and similar legislation may be introduced in seven other states this year.