Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, admitted on Wednesday that the goal of the Democrat-led “assault weapons” ban is to outlaw weapons that are in “common use,” a move that would violate the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia vs. Heller.
During a committee hearing, Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) asked Rep. Nadler to clarify the Democrat position on the proposed Assault Weapons Ban of 2021 (HR1808) possibly banning weapons that are in “common use.”
“Is there any Democrat that would dispute that this bill would ban weapons that are in common use?” Rep. Bishop asked.
“That’s the point of the bill,” Rep. Nadler responded.
“So, it is the point of the bill to ban guns that are in common use?” Rep. Bishop probed.
“The problem is they are in common use,” Rep. Nadler added.
The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on District of Columbia v. Heller established a “common use” test in which firearms are protected under the Second Amendment if they are commonly used for lawful self-defense. Thus, a bill such as HR1808 targeting commonly used firearms is not likely to be found constitutional.
Introduced by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), the legislation aims to “regulate assault weapons” and “to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited” by banning a so-called “semiautomatic assault weapon.”
The bill defines “semiautomatic assault weapon” as a semiautomatic rifle, pistol or shotgun that has “a magazine that is not a fixed magazine,” a pistol grip or forward grip, or a “folding, telescoping, or detachable stock.” The legislation would also ban guns that can fire over 10 rounds and that have a threaded barrel or second pistol grip.
During the hearing, Rep. Cicilline mistakenly identified a stabilizing brace as a bump stock, prompting Rep. Thomas Massie (R-WV) to clarify the difference.
“What this stabilizing brace, which is depicted here, when attached here, it turns this weapon into an automatic weapon. It becomes a bump stock and so that will allow it to essentially be fired like an automatic weapon. That’s the danger and so I have to very strongly oppose the amendment,” Cicilline said.
“The Democrats are so zealous in their rush to ban everything related to guns and every gun that exists that I’m afraid Mr. Cicilline has his gun features mixed up,” Rep. Massie responded with a chuckle. “He just described the arm brace, which is used by people who have a handicap to help fire a pistol, he just described it as a bump stock.”
“It’s neither a stock nor a bump stock. I think it’s important that if you’re going to ban these things, that you actually understand what you’re banning,” Massie continued. “The picture that he showed, everybody needs to know, is not a bump stock. It’s an arm brace for firing a pistol from the wrist and it’s not made to increase the rate of fire. It’s not made to simulate automatic fire. It’s made to stabilize the grip of a pistol. That’s all it does.”