Former AZ Sen. DeConcini: Assault Weapons Ban Could've Saved Lives If It Were Still In Effect Today

Published: Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 2:57pm
Updated: Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 3:06pm
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Former Arizona Sen. Dennis DeConcini — one of the original sponsors of the long-expired Assault Weapons Ban — believes it could have saved lives in recent shootings if it were still in effect today.

DeConcini worked with fellow Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California to get the legislation passed in 1994, only to watch it expire 10 years later after Republicans had gained control of Congress.

While research on the ban’s effectiveness has yielded mixed results, DeConcini feels it’s hard to argue against it.

“Can you justify using a weapon that is for military purposes on innocent civilians?” DeConcini said. “Now, if you have one that is semi-automatic and doesn’t fire and release as many bullets, it’s assuming that you’re not going to hit as many targets. Now, I can’t prove that.”  

DeConcini says the Assault Weapons Ban had political implications for Democrats at the ballot box, which is why they may be hesitant to propose it again. He also believes the NRA has even more political clout than it did 20 years ago.   

The 80-year-old DeConcini, who served three terms, was the last Arizona Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate 30 years ago.

In a wide-ranging interview with KJZZ, he also discussed dysfunction in Congress, what Democrats need to do to get Congress back.  

He also talked about his often-times fraught relationship with fellow Arizona Sen. John McCain and their roles in the Keating Five scandal as two of the senators implicated in the failure of the Lincoln Savings and Loan at the height of the Savings and Loan crisis.

Charges against them were later dropped — but hard feelings remain.

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