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Federal Assault Weapons Ban (1994 – 2004)

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) (or Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act) was a subtitle of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, a federal law in the United States that included a prohibition on the sale to civilians of certain semi-automatic firearms, so called “assault weapons.” There was no legal definition of “assault weapons” in the U.S. prior to the law’s enactment. The ten-year ban was passed by Congress on September 13, 1994 and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton the same day. The ban only applied to weapons manufactured after the date of the ban’s enactment.

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired September 13, 2004, as part of the law’s sunset provision.

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