How would a new US ban on assault rifles work? (+video)
A new federal ban on sales of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, likely to be proposed in the next Congress, would probably be similar to a ban that expired in 2004.
How would a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles work? That could well be a big issue in Congress next year in the wake of the tragic Newtown, Conn., school shooting.Skip to next paragraph
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A military-style assault rifle and multiple high-capacity ammunition magazines were among the weapons Adam Lanza carried when he stormed into Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday. As a result, even some pro-gun lawmakers such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia say it’s time to think about reinstituting a federal assault rifle prohibition.
“I don’t know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle. I don’t know anybody that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about,” said Senator Manchin on Monday.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California says she will introduce legislation banning assault weapons as a first order of business when the next Congress convenes. It will be based upon a similar bill that lawmakers passed in 1994, banning the rifles for 10 years.
“It will be carefully focused on the most dangerous guns that have killed so many people over the years while protecting the rights of gun owners by exempting hundreds of weapons that fall outside the bill’s scope,” said Senator Feinstein via a press release.
Assault rifles are high-powered small-caliber rifles styled to look as if they belong in the US Army’s arsenal. In military use they can function as fully automatic weapons, firing multiple bullets with one pull of the trigger. But US civilians have been prohibited from owning automatic machine guns since the 1930s. Assault rifles available for domestic sale are semi-automatic, meaning a pull of the trigger fires one bullet.
Semi-automatic firearms per se won’t be banned, because that would mean ending traffic in pretty much every rifle and handgun available for sale in the United States. Instead, Feinstein’s legislation names specific models of rifles it would prohibit. According to a version of the bill she introduced in 2005, these would include rifles known as AK-47s, AR-15s, and Uzis, among others.