Democrats Seeking to Revive Federal Weapons Ban Following Recent Mass Shootings

Bill announced this week would prohibit long list of rifles, pistols, shotguns and magazines
By Michael Clements
Michael Clements
Michael Clements
Reporter
Michael Clements focuses mainly on the Second Amendment and individual rights for The Epoch Times. He has more than 30 years of experience in print journalism, having worked at newspapers in Alabama, Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma. He is based in Durant, Oklahoma.
January 24, 2023Updated: January 24, 2023

President Joe Biden praised Democrats on Jan. 23 for attempting to revive a ban on certain types of semiautomatic firearms that was allowed to sunset more than 28 years ago because it could not be shown to have significantly affected crime.

“Today, Sen. [Diane] Feinstein, with whom I worked … to pass the last assault weapons ban in 1994, has once again introduced an assault weapons and high-capacity magazine ban in the Senate, as well as legislation raising the age to purchase them to 21,” read a statement posted to the White House webpage.

On her webpage, the Democrat California Senator announced the “Age 21 Act.”

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on July 25, 2018. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, on July 25, 2018. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Feinstein’s bill would ban any semiautomatic firearm with pistol grips, barrel shrouds, telescoping or adjustable stocks, threaded barrels, and detachable magazines, among a list of other features.

In addition, the bill lists specific brands and types of rifles, pistols, and shotguns that would be banned as so-called high-capacity magazines.

Feinstein, who has represented California in the Senate since 1992, cited recent mass shootings as the reasons she decided to push to reinstate the first Federal Weapons Ban, which expired in 2004.

“We were tragically reminded this weekend of the deadly nature of assault weapons when a shooter used one to kill 11 people and injure nine more at a lunar New Year celebration in California,” read the statement on Feinstein’s webpage.

Background Checks

According to her webpage, the bill would ban the “sale, transfer, and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons by name.” Listed weapons that are currently legally owned would be grandfathered under the bill.

The bill would also ban “assault weapons” that use detachable magazines and “magazines or other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, which allows shooters to fire many rounds without need to the reload quickly.”

Such devices that are currently legally owned would be grandfathered as well.

The bill also requires a background check for the sale, trade, or gifting of any weapon covered by the bill and requires that any grandfathered weapons are stored using a secure gun storage or safety device like a trigger lock.

It prohibits the transfer of high-capacity ammunition magazines and bans bump-fire stocks and other devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at fully automatic rates.

Original Ban Allowed to Sunset

The bill reportedly exempts more than 2,200 guns used for hunting, home defense, and recreational purposes, and exempts all weapons lawfully owned at the date of enactment.

It also raises the age to legally purchase “assault weapons” to 21.

The bill is co-sponsored by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).

Congressman David Cicilline (D-R.I.) is expected to introduce a companion version of the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1994, during the administration of President Bill Clinton, Congress implemented a 10-year Federal Weapons Ban as part of the larger Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

While the ban was billed as the remedy for violent crime, it was allowed to sunset after three studies found no evidence it had a noticeable impact.

Michael Clements focuses mainly on the Second Amendment and individual rights for The Epoch Times. He has more than 30 years of experience in print journalism, having worked at newspapers in Alabama, Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma. He is based in Durant, Oklahoma.