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Ford, Carter, Reagan Push for Gun Ban

May 05, 1994|WILLIAM J. EATON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.), sponsor of a previous assault-weapons ban that passed the Senate but died in the House, said police organizations will deserve the credit if the bill succeeds in the House this time around.

"This is the time for the House to take the political risk and do the right thing," DeConcini said. "There is political life if you vote against the NRA."

Plea From 3 Ex-Presidents

The letter from three former presidents to the House:

May 3, 1994

To Members of the U.S. House of Representatives:

We are writing to urge your support for a ban on the domestic manufacture of military-style assault weapons. This is a matter of vital importance to the public safety. Although assualt weapons account for less than 1% of the guns in circulation, they account for nearly 10% of the guns traced to crime.

Every major law enforcement organization in America and dozens of leading labor, medical, religious, civil rights and civic groups support such a ban. Most importantly, poll after poll shows that the American public overwhelmingly support a ban on assault weapons. A 1993 CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll found that 77% of Americans support a ban on the manufacture, sale, and possession of semi-automatic assault guns, such as the AK-47.

The 1989 import ban resulted in an impressive 40% drop in imported assault weapons traced to crime between 1989 and 1991, but the killing continues. Last year, a killer armed with two TEC9s killed eight people at a San Francisco law firm and wounded several others. During the past five years, more than 40 law enforcement officers have been killed or wounded in the line of duty by an assault weapon.

While we recognize that assault weapon legislation will not stop all assault weapon crime, statistics prove that we can dry up the supply of these guns, making them less accessible to criminals. We urge you to listen to the American public and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of these weapons.

Sincerely,

Gerald R. Ford

Jimmy Carter

Ronald Reagan

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