An additional study by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) documents the increasing militarization of the U.S. civilian gun market. Militarized firearms, which today include weapons like semiautomatic assault rifles, 50 caliber anti-armor sniper rifles, and high-capacity pistols including armor-piercing handguns, are identified as the ‘weapons of choice’ of the traffickers supplying drug organizations in Mexico. The study finds that a gun industry design and marketing strategy, begun in the 1980s, has made such weapons more easily available to civilian consumers.
Senators Feinstein, Schumer, and Whitehouse have proposed several recommendations, including proposed legislation to require background checks for all firearms purchases. Additional recommendations include the reinstatement of an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and a ban on the import of military-style firearms.