Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) told a local radio station on Wednesday that an assault weapons ban would be pointless because people don't use that type of weapon to commit crimes, Think Progress reports.
Speaking to KHTE's Alice Stewart, Boozman declared that passing an assault weapons ban "doesn’t do anything" because the firearms are "big" and "bulky," which he said makes them unappealing to those who want to use guns for criminal purposes.
Boozman backed up his argument, saying that, "90 percent of violent crime is handguns; 5 percent is rifles; less than 1 percent is assault-style weapons."
According to FBI homicide statistics from 2011, of the 12,664 murders in the U.S., 6,220, or just under half, were committed using a handgun, while only 323, or around 2.5 percent, of murders were committed with rifles, which include military-style assault weapons.
However, as Mother Jones reported in February, of the 143 weapons used in 62 mass shootings that occurred since 1982, 20 were assault weapons that would be banned under Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) assault weapons ban proposal -- including the weapons used during the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting and the Sandy Hook tragedy. Think Progress also pointed out a Mayors Against Illegal Violence study showing that mass shootings involving assault weapons are responsible for greater numbers of deaths.
Feinstein told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell this week that, despite earlier setbacks, she will offer her assault weapons ban as an amendment to possible gun control legislation that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to bring to debate Thursday.
"I have a commitment from the majority leader that I will have a vote, and I take him at his word," said Feinstein, who asserted a new optimism for her bill that seemed doomed in the Senate in late March when Reid decided against including it in a Senate gun control package.
Still, any assault weapons ban that passes the Senate is likely to face dim prospects in the Republican-controlled House.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has mostly avoided talking about gun control issues, but told Jake Tapper of CNN that current gun laws should be enforced before passing any new measures.
"We've got plenty of laws on the books. Let's go and enforce them before we just load up more laws on law-abiding citizens," said Boehner.