Despite predictions that the streets would be awash in military-style guns, the expiration of 1994 assault weapons ban last September has not set off a sustained surge in the weapons’ sales, gun makers and sellers say, the New York Times reports. It also has not caused any noticeable increase in gun crime. The expiration showed what analysts had been saying: that the ban was “so porous that assault weapons remained widely available throughout their prohibition.”
Law enforcement officials say that military-style weapons, which were never used in many gun crimes but did enjoy some vogue in the years before the ban took effect, seem to have gone out of style in criminal circles. “Back in the early 90’s, criminals wanted those Rambo-type weapons they could brandish,” said Jim Pasco of the Fraternal Order of Police. “Today they are much happier with a 9-millimeter handgun they can stick in their belt.” After the ban took effect, at least 1.17 million more assault weapons were produced – legitimately by manufacturers that availed themselves of loopholes in the law, says the Washington, D.C.-based Violence Policy Center. Assault weapons account for no more than 2 to 8 percent of gun crimes.