WASHINGTON - August 25 - The three contiguous states of Arizona, Nevada, and Utah have the largest number of "post-ban" copycat assault weapon manufacturers of any region of the United States, the Violence Policy Center revealed today.
The region contains 10 assault weapon manufacturers (see chart below) with a combined product line that includes post-ban AR-15s, AK-47s, UZIs, and others. The product lines of these 10 companieslocated in a region the VPC has labeled the "UZI Triangle"are yet another example of how the gun industry has successfully evaded the current federal ban by making insignificant, mostly cosmetic, changes in the design of banned assault weapons and then marketing them as "post-ban" guns. The changes can be as slight as simply removing a flash suppressor from the end of the barrel of an assault rifle and replacing it with a muzzle brake (two components that look almost identical, but perform different functions) or adding a fixed stock. The 1994 ban will expire on September 13, 2004, without action by Congress and President Bush.
State : Arizona
American Spirit Arms, Corp., Scottsdale / Arizona Expert Arms, Gilbert / Bobcat Weapons Inc,. Mesa / Cavalry Arms Corp., Mesa / Tactical Weapons Training Academy, Mesa
State : Nevada
Armscor Precision Inc., Las Vegas / Arsenal Inc., Las Vegas /
State : Utah
L.A.R. Manufacturing, Inc., West Jordan / Robinson Armament Company, Salt Lake City / Vector Arms, Inc., North Salt Lake
As Gun World magazine boasted in a 2001 article about the Vepr II assault rifle, a "sporterized" version of the AK-47: "In spite of assault rifle bans, bans on high capacity magazines, the rantings of the anti-gun media and the rifle's innate political incorrectness, the Kalashnikov [AK-47], in various forms and guises, has flourished. Today there are probably more models, accessories and parts to choose from than ever before."
Josh Sugarmann, VPC executive director, states, "Gunmakers have cynically eviscerated the 1994 federal assault weapons ban. For the assault weapons ban to work, it must be strengthened. For those who fear that if the ban expires there will be a flood of AK-47s and UZIs on our streets, the sad truth is that we're already drowning."
The July 2004 VPC study United States of Assault Weapons: Gunmakers Evading the Federal Assault Weapons Ban revealed that more than 40 gunmakers in 22 states are currently marketing "post-ban" assault weapons. The study also estimates that more than one million "post-ban" assault weapons have been manufactured in the United States since the ban's passage in 1994 and warns that today "there are more assault weapon manufacturers and assault weapons available for sale than ever before." The study proves that if the 1994 ban is simply renewed, and not strengthened, every single one of the assault weapons made by these companies will remain on the market, legal for sale to the American public under federal law.
In addition to the threat assault weapons pose to the general public, they continue to pose a unique threat to law enforcement personnel. The May 2003 Violence Policy Center study "Officer Down"Assault Weapons and the War on Law Enforcement revealed that, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation data, one in five law enforcement officers (41 of 211) slain in the line of duty from January 1998 through December 2001 were slain with an assault weapon, many of which were "post-ban" models that will remain untouched by a renewal of current law.
Federal legislation to address the industry's subversion of the 1994 banthe "Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2003" (H.R. 2038 and S. 1431) has been introduced in the 108th Congress by Representatives Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and John Conyers (D-MI) in the House of Representatives and Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in the Senate.