Dear Mr. XYZ,
Thank you for contacting me to voice your opposition to H.R. 1022, the Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act. I appreciate having the opportunity to respond to your concerns on this very important issue.
I believe our citizens must be protected from the criminal use of weapons. I also recognize that the legitimate possession of firearms by law-abiding citizens should not be hampered by federal legislation. When addressing various gun control measures, I do my best to balance these two concerns.
As you may know, the Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act would reauthorize the assault weapons ban passed by Congress in 1994. There is no will in Congress to make further changes to firearms laws. The Congressional Research Service, the research arm of Congress, reported that,"assault rifles were originally developed to provide a lighter infantry weapon that could fire more rounds, more rapidly." In short, they were intended to kill more people, more quickly. I am one of several cosponsors of H.R. 1022 because it will keep military-style assault weapons out of our neighborhoods and ensure that law enforcement is not outgunned by criminals wielding weapons of war.
The prohibitions on assault weapons work. In 1989, when President George H. W. Bush stopped the import of certain assault rifles, the number of imported assault rifles traced to crime dropped by 45% in one year. After the 1994 ban was enacted, there were 18% fewer assault weapons traced to crime in the first eight months of 1995 than were traced in the same period in the previous year. Unfortunately, shortly after the 1994 ban, slight cosmetic modifications were made to the prohibited assault weapons to evade the law. Since these design changes were made, military-style assault weapons have reentered the civilian market. The MAC-10 has been replaced by the MPA-10 and the TEC-9 by the AB-10, for "after ban."
After the fall of Kabul in November 2001, a document found in a safe house entitled "How Can I Train Myself for Jihad?" advised readers of the ripe availability of assault weapons in the United States. Given the threats to our national security, we must ensure that military style weapons do not fall into the hands of would-be terrorists. The very firearms that the new Assault Weapons Ban would prohibit are those that make aiming and spraying large amounts of bullets simpler. I believe that this ban will make important steps in cutting down violent crime both domestically and internationally.
Although we differ in our positions, I hope that you will respect the integrity of my views, as I respect yours. I am sure there are other matters of concern to you on which we agree, and I hope you will feel free to contact me again about matters that are important to you.
Member of Congress