Following the mass shooting at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas that left 26 dead and 20 injured, as well as the even-deadlier mass shooting in Las Vegas in October, members of Congress have been slow to take any meaningful action. A ban on bump stocks has stalled, and even a bill that would compel federal agencies (like the U.S. Air Force) to upload felony conviction records to the national background check system (which they are already supposed to do), and which might well have stopped the Texas shooter, does not have unanimous support. Some Democrats are thinking bigger and are introducing an assault weapons ban, as reported by NBC.
Following a series of mass shootings in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced an assault weapons ban which was enacted in 1994. However, the ban expired in 2004 and was not renewed, despite signs that it was having a noticeable effect on curbing gun violence. Now, with the death tolls from mass shootings higher than ever, Sen. Feinstein and 22 fellow Democrats want to bring the ban back on the books and ban bump stocks and high-capacity magazines, as well.
The ban would cover the sale, trade, and production of assault weapons, but would not owners who already possess such weapons. Other, similar exceptions would be in place, too. Magazines that hold over ten rounds of ammunition would also be banned under the legislation.
The bill also calls for future sales or trade of the grandfathered-in assault weapons be subject to a background check.
“We’re introducing an updated Assault Weapons Ban for one reason: so that after every mass shooting with a military-style assault weapon, the American people will know that a tool to reduce these massacres is sitting in the Senate, ready for debate and a vote,” Feinstein said in a statement that seems to indicate how far she expects the bill to go right now.
(Via NBC News)