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Senate Dems introduce ‘assault weapons’ ban bill on 205 gun models

AR-15. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
March 12, 2021

Senate Democrats introduced legislation that would ban 205 “assault weapons” Thursday, just hours after the House passed two other gun control bills.  

Introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the legislation called the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2021” would also outlaw magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds and is co-sponsored by 34 other Senate Democrats.

According to a press release from Feinstein, the bill “bans any assault weapon with the capacity to utilize a magazine that is not a fixed ammunition magazine and has one or more military characteristics including a pistol grip, a forward grip, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel or a folding or telescoping stock.”

Some of the firearms listed in the proposed ban are “All AR types,” “All UZI types,” Beretta CX4, Sig Sauer P556 pistol, as well as belt-fed semi-autos.

Current owners of the “assault weapons” listed in the legislation would be allowed to keep them, but any private transfers would require an FBI background check prior to receiving the firearm.

Additionally, the bill prohibits bump stocks, which have already been illegal since March 26, 2019.

“It’s been 17 years since the original Assault Weapons Ban expired, and the plague of gun violence continues to grow in this country. To be clear, this bill saves lives,” Feinstein said in her announcement of the bill. “When it was in place from 1994-2004, gun massacres declined by 37 percent compared with the decade before. After the ban expired, the number of massacres rose by 183 percent.”

The Department of Justice National Institute of Justice issued a report in 2004 stating that the “assault weapons” ban from 1994 did not actually reduce crime.

“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,” the report stated, according to a copy which was viewed by The Washington Times.

The report noted that the “assault weapons” were “rarely used in gun crimes before the ban.”

“Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement,” the report continued, later stating, “The ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

On Thursday, the House passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 (H.R. 8) with a vote of 227-203, passing legislation that would criminalize private gun sales conducted without a background check.

The lower chamber of Congress also voted in favor of the Enhanced Backgrounds Checks Act by a vote of 219-210, a bill that would allow the FBI to put a hold on transferring a firearm for a minimum of 10 days and up to 30 days, rather than the three days currently allowed by law.

This article was updated to clarify which weapons would be banned under the bill.