The U.S. House Judiciary Committee will take up proposed legislation next week that would ban certain “assault weapons,” the panel said on Friday.
The committee will meet next Wednesday, July 20, to mark up the bill, which “would ban the sale, import, manufacture or transfer of certain semi-automatic weapons,” the panel said in a statement. If the measure passes the committee, House Democratic leaders, who control the chamber, could bring it to the floor for a full vote before sending it to the 50-50 divided Senate, where it needs 60 votes to pass.
The bill, if enacted, would allow the sale of such weapons that are already lawfully possessed and would not apply to antique, manually-operated, or certain hunting and sporting firearms, the House panel stated.
According to the text of the bill (pdf), which is backed by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), it would ban at least 40 specific AR-15-style rifles, including the “Bushmaster ACR, Bushmaster Carbon 15, Bushmaster MOE series, Bushmaster XM15, Chiappa Firearms MFour rifles, Colt Match Target rifles, CORE Rifle Systems CORE15 rifles, Daniel Defense M4A1 rifles, Devil Dog Arms 15 Series rifles,” and more.
The measure would ban certain AR-style pistols such as the “DoubleStar Corporation AR pistol, DPMS AR–15 pistol, Jesse James Nomad AR–15 pistol, Olympic Arms AR–15 pistol, Osprey Armament MK–18 pistol, POF USA AR pistols, Rock River Arms LAR 15 pistol,” and others, according to bill’s text.
Impact on Gun Violence
A federal ban on so-called “assault weapons” was enacted in 1994 but ended in 2004.
A 2004 study released by the National Institute of Justice, a federal agency, found that the law did not reduce violence.
“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 said at the time.
“It is thus premature to make definitive assessments of the ban’s impact on gun violence. 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 added.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates that there are at least 20 million AR-15-style rifles and pistols in American homes as of June 2022, spokesman Mark Oliva told The National Desk last month. AR-15s are popular, he said, because they are easy to adjust for size and are versatile weapons.
“As we did surveys of our retailers to find out who exactly was buying firearms or why they were buying firearms, the number one reason that came back from all these purchasers in 2020 and going into 2021, was that they were buying firearms for concerns to their personal safety,” Oliva said.
The new proposal comes amid several high-profile mass shootings in Illinois, Texas, New York, and Oklahoma. Democrats say that such laws are needed to curb mass shootings, while many Republicans have pointed to mental health.
Reuters contributed to this report.