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Blumenthal, Murphy, Feinstein, Cicilline Introduce Legislation to Ban Military-Style Assault Weapons & High-Capacity Magazines

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and U.S. Representative David N. Cicilline (D-RI) introduced the Assault Weapons Ban yesterday. The updated legislation would ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, like those used in the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, where the shooter used an AR-15 assault-type weapon with numerous 30-round magazines.

“What do Las Vegas, Orlando, Newtown, Sutherland Springs, El Paso, and Parkland all have in common? These communities are a tragic shorthand for some of the deadliest mass shootings in our nation’s history, all of which involved an assault weapon,” said Blumenthal. “Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are deadly and dangerous weapons of war that belong on battlefields—not our streets. They have no purpose for self-defense or hunting, and no business being in our schools, churches and malls. By passing this legislation, Congress can honor the memory of the beautiful lives cut short by military-style assault weapons in far too many American cities.”

“Military-style assault rifles were designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible. Period. There is no reason why these weapons should be sold to the public. President Biden ran on passing commonsense legislation to end the gun violence epidemic. The data is clear: an assault weapons ban will save lives. I’m proud to join Senator Feinstein in reintroducing this critical legislation,” said Murphy.

“It’s been 17 years since the original Assault Weapons Ban expired, and the plague of gun violence continues to grow in this country,” said Feinstein. “To be clear, this bill saves lives. When it was in place from 1994-2004, gun massacres declined by 37 percent compared with the decade before. After the ban expired, the number of massacres rose by 183 percent. We’re now seeing a rise in domestic terrorism, and military-style assault weapons are increasingly becoming the guns of choice for these dangerous groups. I’m hopeful that with the new administration and Democratic control of the Senate, we can finally pass commonsense gun reforms to remove these deadly weapons from our communities.”

“Assault weapons are designed for a single purpose – to kill as many people as possible in as short an amount of time as possible. That’s why they are the weapon of choice for mass shooters and domestic terrorists. They are weapons of war and do not belong in our communities,” said Cicilline. “Banning these weapons will make our cities and towns safer and more secure and help to reduce gun deaths.”

In the Senate, the bill is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Tom Carper (D-DE), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tina Smith (D-MN), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

Key provisions of the legislation include:

  • Banning the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons by name. Owners may keep existing weapons.
  • Banning any assault weapon with the capacity to utilize a magazine that is not a fixed ammunition magazine and has one or more military characteristics including a pistol grip, a forward grip, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel or a folding or telescoping stock. Owners may keep existing weapons.
  • Banning magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, which allow shooters to quickly fire many rounds without needing to reload. Owners may keep existing magazines.
  • Requiring a background check on any future sale, trade or gifting of an assault weapon covered by the bill.
  • Requiring that grandfathered assault weapons are stored using a secure gun storage or safety device like a trigger lock.
  • Prohibiting the transfer of high-capacity ammunition magazines.
  • Banning bump-fire stocks and other devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at fully automatic rates.

The legislation also provides key exemptions like exempting by name more than 2,200 guns for hunting, household defense, or recreational purposes, and including a grandfather clause that exempts all weapons lawfully possessed at the date of enactment.