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Senate ‘assault weapons’ ban would outlaw 205 guns, high-capacity magazines

A rack of various modern sporting rifles, mostly AR-15s, in Gallenson's Gun Shop, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. (Michael McConville/Wikimedia Commons)
October 02, 2019

A bill in the Senate would outlaw “assault weapons,” 205 guns, high-capacity magazines holding 11 or more rounds and already-illegal bump stocks.

Sponsored by Democrat Diane Feinstein of California, the bill also includes a universal background check requirement for any future transfer of firearms covered by the ban, Breitbart reported.

Feinstein cited a 1994-2004 “assault weapons” ban, claiming it resulted in fewer gun deaths, in an attempt to increase the chances the new legislation passes.

“The data is clear: there were fewer mass shootings while the Assault Weapons Ban was in effect and significantly more after it expired,” Feinstein said.

However, a report from the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) report showed that the 1994-2004 ban was not responsible for the decrease, the Washington Times reported.

“We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence,” said University of Pennsylvania professor Christopher Koper, author of the NIJ report.

“The ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement,” the report added.

Additionally, while the aim of the legislation is to decrease the number of people killed every year, the latest FBI statistics released this week show that individuals are five times more likely to be murdered with knives than with a rifle of any type.

The legislation doesn’t address either blunt objects nor handguns, except peripherally through magazine capacity limits.

In addition to banning certain types of firearms, Democrats aim to pass legislation referred to as “red flag” laws, which would give law enforcement the ability to confiscate firearms and prevent gun owners from possessing firearms once the protective order is in place, simply because a concerned neighbor or former roommate believes that person isn’t fit to handle those types of weapons, without any other legal conditions.

The bill, recently passed by the House, incentivize states to pass their laws by creating a federal grant program to award funding to states that pass them.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) offered vocal opponent criticism of the bill, arguing it would violate an individual’s right to be considered innocent until proven guilty under the law.

“If we pass this bill today, we are going to invert the standard and say, ‘you are guilty until proven innocent, and you will be guilty without doing anything wrong.’ Under this bill, you are guilty without doing anything wrong simply because someone thinks you might do something wrong,” Jordan said.