Table of Contents
After the 1989 California shooting that killed a teacher and 34 children, followed by the 1993 killing of 8 people, there were proposals of legislation to ban the possession of assault weapons by more than 70% of Americans. In September 1994, the proposed bill was passed, signed into law, and stipulated in the federal assault weapon ban act until 2004 when it expired. Since then, there have been several attempts to uplift the ban, but none have succeeded. Scientists’ collected data over the years show that more than 350 people have been killed and more than 450 injured by assault weapons (Gius, 2015). This shows that there have been continuous manufacture, sale, and possession of unregistered guns used as assault weapons. Therefore, to prevent more cases, justice department of California should follow legal steps to lift the ban and make strict punishments for those caught breaking the law in effort to minimize assault weapons in our society.
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Implementation of the law
Laws are well-established rules and regulation by social and governmental institutions and aims to promote peaceful relations in the society. After the signed assault weapon ban law, there was a drop in the number of assault weapon cases. The justice department of California indicates that there was a significant decrease in assault cases by 6.7% (Berk, 2002). The same study shows a reduction in the high-capacity magazines used as assault weapons. Continuous shootings and increased gun violence have questioned California laws over the past years after federal judges declared them unconstitutional. The state has, over the years, tried to uplift the ban to no effort. Over the past year, identified over 1.2 million ammunitions were used as assault weapons. This shows that despite the implementation of the law, there has been access to a range of guns. According to the Benitez ruling, an estimated 185,569 assault weapons are registered with the state as most of the weapons are acquired for self-defense and indicated that murder by knife occurs seven times more often than murder using a firearm. Benitez has ruled in favor of gun rights severally since 2004.
Reaction and consequences of law
The government of California has come up with measures to prevent the possession of these weapons; firearm purchase should require a firearm safety certificate and proof of residency with an age not less than 21. The department of justice has implemented the recording of handgun serial numbers sales for identification of the gun owner by ensuring the guns are first registered with the California department of justice. The manufacturers must have an owner’s license for the sale of weapons. This will prevent the manufacturing sale of illegal guns. California legislated a ten-day waiting period for purchases and sales to promote the sale process through a federal and state firearm license holder and private transfers of ownership to be done in the presence of a licensed dealer.
Assembly bill 1135 in June 2016 was expanded to include all the fire ammunition that uses large bullet magazines be blocked. Those purchased after the legislation of the law be registered, while the penal codes indicate strict punishment for anyone that offers the availability of guns illegally into the state and risks facing a minimum of one year imprisonment (Berk, 2021). In case of lost or stolen weapons, owners are mandated to report to the justice department. On 19August 2020, there was an invalidation of the lower court ruling by the high court judge to uphold state gun controls such as the Maryland ban on assault weapons and promoted state permits on the purchase of a gun.
Residents should only do open carrying of weapons if necessary protection of person and property is required and should be unloaded and locked in case of transportation. California law forbids non-residents from obtaining a permit to carry weapons. The manufacturing firms were only allowed to produce weapons by applying for serial numbers from the justice department and using the serial numbers on the newly manufactured weapons to ensure every gun was registered. The 2008 California Dangerous weapon control law, modified in the penal code on criminal storage of loaded firearms, a person may be charged with a crime if he keeps loaded guns within reach of children causing injuries.
Despite continuous efforts to minimize the possession of assault weapons to the public, it’s evident that there has been an increase in firearms mainly used as assault weapons since 2004. The assault weapon ban is the only significant way to deal with the increased firearm possession through strictly drafted legislation on guns. Therefore the government must execute and uphold laws guiding the individual relationship in California by using the federal systems and increasing federal officers in the field. The public will understand their role in society for the common goal through these measures. However, if no effective and efficient legislation of laws is considered, there will be an increase in the acquisition of firearms used as assault weapons, which will, in turn, lead to a rise of more cases.
- Berk, R. A. (2022). Causal Inference Challenges with Interrupted Time Series Designs: An Evaluation of an Assault Weapons Ban in California. Observational Studies.
- Berk, R. A. (2021). Post-Model-Selection Statistical Inference with Interrupted Time Series Designs: An Evaluation of an Assault Weapons Ban in California.
- Gius, M. (2015). The impact of state and federal assault weapons bans on public mass shootings. Applied Economics Letters, 22(4), 281-284.
- Koper, C. S., & Roth, J. A. (2001). The impact of the 1994 federal assault weapon ban on gun violence outcomes: an assessment of multiple outcome measures and some lessons for policy evaluation. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 17(1), 33-74.