In what they view as a response to ongoing mass shootings, Democrats in Congress renewed efforts to reinstate a military-style assault weapons ban. 

A similar ban on semi-automatic rifles and handguns signed by President Clinton during the 1990s had been allowed to expire more than a decade. A growing number of Democrats view the growing numbers of assault weapons on the streets as a crucial step to combating mass shootings. 

“The sole purpose of these types of weapons is to kill as many people as quickly as possible,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island), who introduced the bill, according to a press release. “It is unconscionable that we continue to allow military-style weapons to be bought and sold while mass shootings are growing more common.”

But the National Rifle Association along with their Republican allies argue these possessing these weapons are a Constitutional 2nd Amendment right and that people do indeed use assault weapons such as the AK-47 or the AR-15 for hunting. At LiveOutdoors, we recently featured a story about common hunting techniques with these types of rifles. 

According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, a majority of Americans — roughly 53 percent — say they oppose efforts to renew a ban on military-style weapons. But that hasn’t stopped Democrats, who have 91 co-sponsors to the bill.  

“I don’t know any hunters who use an assault weapon — and if they do, that’s not much of a sport,” added House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.). 

A similar assault weapon ban in Chicago was recently upheld by the US Supreme Court despite a challenge by the NRA, signaling that such laws do not violate the 2nd Amendment in the eyes of the court.

The Assault Weapons Ban of 2015 would not affect weapons currently in possession, though owners might have trouble reselling them. The bill would ban the sale of new military style assault weapons, which includes the following distinctions. 

  • Semi-automatic rifles and handguns with a military-style feature that can accept a detachable magazine;
  • Semi-automatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds;
  • Semi-automatic shotguns with a military-style feature;
  • Any ammunition feeding device that can hold more than 10 rounds;
  • And 157 specifically-named and listed firearms.

Photo credit: Dreamstime