June 14, 2024

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994


The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, commonly known as the 1994 Crime Bill, the Clinton Crime Bill, or the Biden Crime Law, is a law approved by Congress in 1994 that deals with crime and law enforcement. It is the most comprehensive crime measure in United State history, with 356 pages of provisions for 100,000 new police officers, $9.7 billion in prison money, and $6.1 billion in preventative programs, all of which were created with extensive input from experienced police officers.

The bill, which was sponsored by Texas Representative Jack Brooks, was passed by Congress and the act was signed by President Bill Clinton. Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, along with the National Association of Police Organizations, wrote the Senate version of the bill, which also included Senator Orrin Hatch’s Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

The Act increased federal law in various ways in the aftermath of the 101 California Street shooting, the 1993 Waco Siege, and other high-profile cases of violent crime. The Federal Assault Weapons Ban was one of the most well-known portions. Other provisions of the Act included a considerably expanded federal death sentence, new classifications of people prohibited from carrying firearms, and a slew of new hate crimes, sex crimes, and gang-related crime statutes. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 also required states to create sexual offender registers by September 1997.

During the 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton attempted to rebrand the Democratic Party, which had previously been criticized for being “soft on crime,” as a supporter of “tough-on-crime” enforcement methods and community policing. The Democratic Leadership Council, of which Clinton was a member, prioritized federal financing for extra police and community policing. On July 23, 1992, Bill Clinton made the following announcement, which the New York Times described as “a leaf from the Republican playbook”.


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