View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 6, 1998
            Banning the Importation of Modified Assault Weapons
                               April 6, 1998

Announcement: Today, in response to a previously issued memorandum, the President announced that the Treasury Department has concluded that more than 50 kinds of modified assault weapons are generally not importable because they accept large capacity military magazines. Up to 1.5 million rifles whose importation had been temporarily suspended may be affected by this decision.

     On  November  15, 1997, in his radio address to the nation, 
     President Clinton announced that the Treasury Department  
     would temporarily suspend the importation of certain modified 
     assault weapons to review whether these weapons should be allowed 
     to enter the country.  Today, the Secretary of the Treasury 
     informed the President that most of the weapons studied should 
     be generally banned from importation.

     Under current law (the 1968 Gun Control Act), the Treasury 
     Department has the obligation to restrict the importation of 
     firearms unless they are determined to be "particularly suitable 
     for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes."   After taking 
     several months to review the weapons in question, the Treasury 
     Department has concluded that modified semiautomatic assault 
     rifles that accept large capacity military magazines --or LCMM 
     rifles --do not meet the sporting purposes test and are generally 
     not importable.

     Since passage of the 1968 Gun Control Act, Administrations of 
     both parties have repeatedly invoked this authority to ensure 
     that only legitimate sporting weapons are brought into the 
     country.  In 1968, the Act was used to ban the importation of 
     Saturday Night Specials and other small and inexpensive 
     handguns; in 1984 and 1986, it was used to ban the importation of 
     the Striker-12 and USAS-12 riot control shotguns; in 1989, it was 
     used to ban the importation of 43 semiautomatic assault rifles; 
     and in 1993, its authority was invoked to propose a ban on the 
     importation of certain assault pistols, though the Assault 
     Weapons Ban of 1994 made this executive action unnecessary.

     The more than 50 models of firearms affected by today's decision 
     are modified versions of military assault weapons that were 
     banned by the Bush Administration in 1989, or by the Assault 
     Weapons Ban of 1994.  Most of these models are based on the AK 47 
     assault rifle, but some are variants of the Uzi, FN-FAL, HK 91 
     and 93, and SIG SG550.

     Up to 1.5 million firearms whose importation had been suspended 
     during the review may be affected by this decision.  Importers 
     will be notified in writing and given an opportunity to respond.