The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 was written by then Senator Joe Biden, passed by Congress, and enacted by President Bill Clinton. It allocated billions of dollars to hire more police officers and expand prison systems.

The Act was partly in response to events such as the mass shootings in Waco, Texas, California, and other places. More crimes were federally classified as death penalty offenses. Crimes in immigration, crimes related to gang activity, sex crimes and hate crimes were also classified and defined.

The Act also funded increased crime prevention programs, including those to counteract violence against women. Pell grants for inmates and other prisoner education programs were eliminated by the Act. Today there is support for reinstating Pell grants for inmate and prison education programs.

Boot-camp style institutions for young people were established. The prison population increased significantly under the Act and crime decreased.

Which Crimes Does the Law Enforcement Act Regulate?

The following crimes were regulated under the Law Enforcement Act:

  • The national sex offender registry was created.
  • The federal assault weapons ban made it illegal to produce certain kinds of semi-automatic gun weapons. 
  • Federal release inmates received mandatory drug testing.
  • A “Three Strikes You’re Out” program increased sentences and penalties for repeat offenders.
  • Convicted felons were prohibited from working in insurance.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Anyone who has been charged with a crime should have a criminal attorney to represent their best interests. A criminal defense lawyer is essential for presenting the best case in potential plea agreements and in court. Many federal regulations on assault weapons expired in 2004, but many states still regulate them.