The House Judiciary Committee announced on Friday that it will hold a markup session on July 20 to consider a bill to ban so-called “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazines.
Semiautomatic firearms like the popular AR-15 style are one key target for this new “assault weapons ban.” Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), the bill’s sponsor said, “AR-15 style firearms have become the weapon of choice for shooters looking to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible and have been used in the deadliest mass shootings in our history, from Sandy Hook to Parkland to Uvalde.
The proposed bill bans the sale, manufacture or transfer of any of the following:
- All semi-automatic rifles that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one of the following military features: (1) pistol grip; (2) forward grip; (3) folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; (4) grenade launcher; (5) barrel shroud; or (6) threaded barrel.
- All semi-automatic rifles that have a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
- Bump fire stocks and any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment, or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle but not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun.
- All semiautomatic pistols that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one of the following military features: (1) threaded barrel; (2) second pistol grip; (3) barrel shroud; (4) capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip; or (5) semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm
- All semi-automatic shotguns that have at least one of the following (1) a folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; (2) pistol grip; (3) fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 5 rounds; (4) ability to accept a detachable magazine; (5) forward grip; (6) grenade launcher; or (7) shotgun with a revolving cylinder.
- High capacity feeding devices (magazines, strips, and drums) capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.
The current bill language does not apply to any of the covered weapons that were lawfully possessed on or before the bill is enacted. The 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in 2004, also “grandfathered” covered weapons that were lawfully owned before the ban went into effect.
“Researchers estimate that if we still had a federal Assault Weapons Ban, we would see 70 percent fewer mass shooting deaths,” Cicilline said.
Jillian Peterson, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Hamline University and co-founder of the Violence Project, recently told the Washington Post that deaths from mass shootings — defined as instances where four or more people are killed — represent less than one percent of all people killed by firearms.
“How many more kids need to die in their schools before we finally crack down on these dangerous firearms which were designed for war?” Cicilline said Friday. “Protecting the lives and safety of Americans is not at odds with our Second Amendment rights.”
Even before the scheduled markup session next week, the bill has already attracted 212 cosponsors in the House of Representatives. The bill’s cosponsors are all Democrats and, if all Democrat lawmakers support the bill it will be guaranteed to pass a vote in the House of Representatives.
If the bill passes in the House it will face tougher odds in the 50-50 split Senate, where Democrats will need at least 10 Republicans to join them in passing the bill.