- Wed March 15, 1989 – spring suspension
- July 7, 1989 – Signed into law
- Bush Administration
- banned imports of semiautomatic assault rifles indefinitely
- announced by William J. Bennett, the director of national drug policy
- requests from importers to bring in the rifles had nearly tripled those for all of 1988
- Law enforcement officers have complained they are often outgunned by drug-traffickers and other criminals who carry high-powered weapons that fire many rounds without needing reloading.
- Doctors and nurses in major cities have reported sharp increases in the numbers of deaths and serious wounds from such weapons
- firearms dealers attributed the sharp jump in import-permit applications to a fear by the gun-owning public that purchase of the weapons soon would be prohibited
- Stephen E. Higgins, the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, estimated that half the owners of assault rifles are collectors.
- The permanent ban affected all 43 of the 50 models included in the spring suspension
Imports cited by Bennett
- 1988 = 113,732
- 1987 = 40,000
- 1986 = 4,000