On Monday, Representatives David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) and Ted Deutch (D-Florida) formally introduced a bill to ban assault rifles.
The legislation, which was introduced as the Assault Weapons Ban of 2018, came just two weeks after a mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school claimed the lives of 17 students and staff members. An AR-15 was used during the shooting, which is one of the firearms that the bill proposes to ban.
Supporters of the bill argue that the AR-15 is an assault rifle, while opponents dispute the point, arguing that because the AR-15 is not fully automatic, it is not an assault weapon. They also emphasize that AR stands for Armalite Rifle, which is the name of the company that created the gun.
The AR-15, which is the most popular rifle in America, is easier to purchase in some states than handguns. Notably, five of six of the deadliest mass shootings of the past six years in the United States featured a gunman wielding an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle.
The Democratic legislation aims to make it “unlawful for a person to import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, a semiautomatic assault weapon.”
The ban would not apply to semi-automatic weapons that were “lawfully possessed” at the time the measure went into effect. The proposed measure would also task the attorney general with creating a public record of semiautomatic assault weapons that have been used in a crime.
The new legislation, which Deutch had declared he would introduce during a CNN town hall event last week, is the latest in a series of attempts by left-leaning politicians who wanted to prevent shootings by establishing a ban on certain guns. This has been a trend since the Federal Assault Weapons ban expired back in 2004.
The White House has already come out as an opponent of such a ban. The National Rifle Association has also opposed the ban.
“[President Trump] campaigned for president and was opposed to the assault weapons ban, and his position hasn't changed on that,” a spokesman for the NRA said.
After the shooting, the debate for gun control became rekindled. At the heart of the movement for gun control were the victims of the Parkland shooting. The students have pressured politicians to make moves against gun violence.
President Trump hosted some of the students for a listening session and announced that he would seek to ban accessories that turn rifles into fully-automatic guns and raise the age of buying a gun to 21.
The President has also proposed arming some teachers with guns.
H/T: The Hill