Democrats push 'assault weapon' ban in new gun control bill

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., each introduced an “assault weapons” ban in their chamber on Thursday amid a “rise in domestic terrorism,” in Feinstein’s words.

“It’s been 17 years since the original Assault Weapons Ban expired,” Feinstein said in a statement. “When it was in place from 1994-2004, gun massacres declined by 37% compared with the decade before. After the ban expired, the number of massacres rose by 183%. We’re now seeing a rise in domestic terrorism, and military-style assault weapons are increasingly becoming the guns of choice for these dangerous groups.”


The bill would ban the sale, manufacture, transfer, and importation of more than 200 “military-style assault weapons” identified by name, although owners would be allowed to keep existing weapons. The bill would also require background checks on any future purchases, trades or gifting of an assault weapon included in the bill.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) wears a protective mask while speaking to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on December 11, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Feinstein and Cicilline referenced the Dayton, Ohio, shooting that left nine people dead in 2019. The shooter had a 100-round magazine.

“Assault weapons are designed for a single purpose – to kill as many people as possible in as short an amount of time as possible. That’s why they are the weapon of choice for mass shooters and domestic terrorists. They are weapons of war and do not belong in our communities,” Cicilline said in a statement.

The proposed ban would ban magazines and other ammunition feeding devices able to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, but owners would be allowed to keep existing magazines.


The ban has the support of numerous Democratic lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

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