Posted: March 2, 2004

The United States Senate today adopted two gun safety bills, written by Delaware Republican Congressman Mike Castle, to extend the assault weapons ban and close the gun show loophole, as amendments to the gun liability legislation.

"The voices of the American people have been heard.  No semi-automatic weapons belong on our streets or in our communities and no criminals should be allowed to exploit a loophole to get their hands on a gun they should not have.  Today's votes in the U.S. Senate are a victory for families and law enforcement across the United States," said Castle, a key negotiator of the 1994 crime bill which included the assault weapons ban.

"But it is just as important to recognize that today's victory is not a defeat for the Second Amendment either.  These amendments do not undermine the Second Amendment and do not prevent any American from hunting or owning a gun to defend his or her own home or hunt.

"President Bush has indicated he will sign the renewal of the assault weapons ban into law if it reaches his desk -- and our goal should be to get it to the President's desk."

The assault weapons ban amendment, sponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein and John Warner passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 52-47 and the background check bill, sponsored by Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman, passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 53 to 46.

"Today's votes show the will of the U.S. Congress to break the stalemate on the renewal of the assault weapons ban and the gun show loophole issue in Washington, D.C. Should the overall gun liability legislation pass, we cannot let this bill languish in a Conference Committee -- the stakes are simply too high.  Come September 13, 2004, Uzis AK-47s could be back on the streets where we live.  We do not want to face this reality."