U.S. President Bill Clinton looks on as Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco Director John Magaw holds a AK-47 submachine gun at the White House in Washington on Monday, May 2, 1994 where the President addressed law enforcement officials on banning assault weapons. The AK-47 is not affected by this proposed ban due to being banned by existing legislation.
In light of the recent tragedy, many of us have chosen to look back on the Clinton era assault weapons ban with tremendous nostalgia, ignoring the fact that the assault weapon ban signed into law in 1994 was a colossal failure.
Two of the most famous tragedies of the '90s utilizing this brand of weapon happened after the ban was signed into law —namely the North Hollywood shootout and the Columbine high school massacre.
Even worse, the legislation did not cover "military weapons" that so often people speak of, but rather cosmetic features that had little to no impact on the functionality of the weapon.
We are all heartbroken by this tragedy, but that is no excuse for us to resurrect one of the biggest failures of legislation in recent history.
Mark A. Goodwin