Congress Pushes National Ban On High-Powered Guns

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette and other Democrats are pushing for the reinstatement of a national ban on high-powered firearms, like the AR-15 rifle and high-capacity magazines. DeGette introduced the bill last Wednesday along with  survivors of gun violence and in her remarks she recalled the shooting at Columbine High School and a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. “Frankly, there is no legitimate reason why any civilian in this country needs a gun that holds 30, 60 or even 100 rounds,” DeGette said at the news conference. “These devices aren’t designed for hunting. These devices are designed for war.” The bill in its current form would ban a long list of high-powered guns, along with magazines that can hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition.

With a Republican-controlled House it seems unlikely DeGette’s bill will pass to the Senate but Biden has a made it clear that he wants to sign a bill banning high-powered firearms.

Here are the weapons that would be banned, as summarized by DeGette’s office:

  • All semi-automatic rifles that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one of the following military features: pistol grip; forward grip; folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; grenade launcher; barrel shroud; or threaded barrel
  • All semi-automatic rifles that have a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 15 rounds
  • Bump fire stocks and any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle but not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machine gun
  • All semi-automatic pistols that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one of the following military features: threaded barrel; second pistol grip; barrel shroud; capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip; or semi-automatic version of an automatic firearm
  • All semi-automatic shotguns that have at least one of the following: a folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; pistol grip; fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than five rounds; ability to accept a detachable magazine; forward grip; grenade launcher; or shotgun with a revolving cylinder
  • High-capacity magazines capable of accepting more than 15 rounds

High-powered firearms were restricted in the United States in 1994 but Congress allowed these restrictions to expire only a decade later after not obtaining the political support to counter the powerful gun lobby and reinstate the weapons ban.

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