Congress weighs assault weapon ban again

  1. Editor
    And here goes the great gun grab of 2015 as a group of more than 120 Democrats in Congress made a move last week to double down on the failed 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban by bringing forth a new and even more sweeping challenge to the Second Amendment.

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    U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., and other House Democratic advocates for comprehensive gun control are pushing a new and improved assault weapons ban.

    We give you:

    The Assault Weapons Ban of 2015

    Introduced as H.R.4269 on Dec. 16 by U.S. Rep. David Cicilline and 123 of his fellow Democrats, the measure plans to go several steps past what the "old" AWB did.

    He says it is needed to help save the day.

    "Since 2011, the frequency of mass shootings has increased by a factor of three. And according to one study, more than half of all mass shooters used an assault weapon, a gun with a military-style feature, or a high-capacity magazine. The sole purpose of these types of weapons is to kill as many people as quickly as possible," said Cicilline. "It is unconscionable that we continue to allow military-style weapons to be bought and sold while mass shootings are growing more common. This bill is an important first step that will restore some sanity to the way we treat guns in the United States."

    As the distinguished gentleman from Rhode Island wants to bring back an expired ban with new features, let us look at the old one.

    The AWB of 1994-2004

    If you remember the good old days, President Bill Clinton signed the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, better known as the federal assault weapons ban, into law on September 13, 1994. Shamefully, it passed the Senate with a wide 61-38 margin and the House by 235-195.

    The AWB banned the sale, manufacture and transfer of semi-auto rifles, handguns and shotguns that had two or more features including folding stocks, additional pistol grips, threaded barrels or muzzle attachments, the ability to attach magazines outside of the grip (for pistols) and so forth. It also listed 660 guns by name that were banned.

    Magazine capacity was capped at 10 rounds, pistol weight was capped at 50 ounces and so on.

    Now the bill had little effect on crime. Specifically, a study by Christopher S. Koper, Daniel J. Woods, and Jeffrey A. Roth of the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology, University of Pennsylvania, held that statistically, the AWB was a flop.

    The law was allowed to sunset in 2004 and the country has somehow been OK without it for over a decade and despite several states having similar bans in place (California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New York) as San Bernardino and Newtown show, such prohibitions have little effect on stopping mass shootings.

    Despite the fact the ban has been lambasted as ineffective, in 2013, Sen. Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA) tried to bring it back as S.150 which added more than 150 new guns to the 660 gun ban list by name.

    That bill listed the "Kel-Tec Sub2000, SU16, and RFB" by name under banned rifles as well as the "Kel-Tec PLR 16 pistol" under banned handguns to include all "copies, duplicates, variants, or altered facsimiles."

    Further, instead of allowing two features before a gun was banned for cosmetic reasons, her bill only allowed one.

    Cicilline's bill repeats that same test.

    What's in the new bill?

    As noted by a release from the Congressman's office:

    The Assault Weapons Ban of 2015 will prohibit the sale, transfer, production, and importation of:

    -Semi-automatic rifles and handguns with a military-style feature that can accept a detachable magazine;
    -Semi-automatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds;
    -Semi-automatic shotguns with a military-style feature;
    - Any ammunition feeding device that can hold more than 10 rounds;
    -And 157 specifically-named and listed firearms.

    Looks like the 2013 Feinstein push all over.

    That one died in committee but only had 24 co-sponsors, about 1/4 of the Senate. The new House bill has 123, about 1/3 of the body, so right off the bat it has more lawmakers behind it.

    Of course, Republicans control the House now and in 1994, they only had 176 seats against 258 Democrats, so a repeat of what happened 21 years ago is unlikely. Further, when AWB I passed, three former Presidents (including Reagan) wrote Congress citing that 77 percent of the country wanted the ban according to a 1993 CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll.

    News this week from a ABC/Washington Post poll found just 45 percent of the nation wants a new AWB with 53 percent opposed to such a concept.

    Moreover, 2016 is an election year after all.

    Image via Gazette Net

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