The last two years have been hard on law abiding gun owners. While many supporters of the Second Amendment had relaxed after the 2016 election, high profile mass shootings have given new ammunition to those who want to ban guns. Now Democrats are making plans for the very near future. Just what is it they hope to achieve?
Sen. Dianne Feinstein has her sights set on what she calls assault weapons. The Assault Weapon Ban of 2019 will restrict the sale, transfer, manufacture, and import of “military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.”
These are, of course, vague terms. As such, Feinstein, along with Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, are spelling it out.
“This past year, we’ve seen Americans rise up and demand Congress change our gun laws. Banning assault weapons would save lives,” Murphy said.
“Besides outlawing 205 gun models by name — Feinstein’s original 1994 ban only listed around 20 specific models — the proposal would also define an ‘assault weapon’ as a semi-automatic with a detachable magazine that included one of a list of cosmetic features that are deemed ‘military characteristics’ such as a threaded barrel, pistol grip or folding stock. This is less lenient than the previous ban which allowed a ‘features test’ that included two such characteristics,” Guns.com writes.
There’s more. “[T]he measure would expand federal law to ban adjustable stocks, Thordsen-style stocks such as used in ‘featureless rifles’ marketed in states like California, ‘assault pistols’ that weight more than 50-ounces when unloaded, and popular pistol stabilizing braces that have become widespread in recent years,” Guns.com adds.
This focus on stocks is only one element of the potential ban. Magazines that hold more than 10 rounds would not be transferable, either.
While the details are hazy, there does appear to be a grandfather clause. Existing guns that meet these specifications would still be legal, it seems, though they would have to be locked up when they’re not in use.
In addition, Guns.com notes, a “background check would be mandatory for future sale or gifting of grandfathered guns, even between two private parties.”
So far, some 25 senators (all Democrats) have promised to sign. It is highly unlikely that the bill would pass, as Republicans still maintain control of the Senate.
The House, though, is a different story. They, too, are working on similar legislation. Passage in the house is a very real possibility.