House Committee Approves Bill To Ban Assault Weapons

The House Judiciary Committee advanced a bill to ban assault weapons Wednesday.

The Assault Weapons Ban of 2021 was approved in a 25-18 vote but a date for a vote on the House floor has not been set, and it is unclear whether the legislation has enough support to pass a floor vote. 

Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the committee, announced last week that the panel would be moving on the legislation.

“As we have learned all too well in recent years, assault weapons — especially when combined with high-capacity magazines — are the weapon of choice for mass shootings,” he said.

“These military-style weapons are designed to kill the most people in the shortest amount of time. Quite simply, there is no place for them on our streets,” Nadler added.

Many Republicans, like Jim Jordan of Ohio, argue that legislation like this will hurt law-abiding gun owners.

“Democrats know this legislation will not reduce violent crime or reduce the likelihood of mass shootings, but they are obsessed with attacking law-abiding Americans’ Second Amendment liberties,” he said.

According to the bill’s summary, it would make it illegal to “import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon (SAW) or large capacity ammunition feeding device”.

The measure does not include any “firearm that is (1) manually operated by bolt, pump, lever, or slide action; (2) permanently inoperable; (3) an antique; or (4) a rifle or shotgun specifically identified by make and model”.

Last week at the White House, President Biden said “Assault weapons need to be banned”. “They were banned. I led the fight in 1994. And then under pressure from the NRA and the gun manufacturers and others, that ban was lifted in 2004. In that 10 years it was law, mass shootings went down”.

The committee meeting was interrupted by David Hogg, a former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who survived the 2018 Parkland school shooting.

“You’re reiterating the points of mass shooters in their manifestos,” he shouted, interrupting Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs. “The shooter in my high school: anti-Semitic, anti-black and racist”.

Hogg noted that the guns being used in mass shootings are “coming from the United States of America,” not Mexico, as he was escorted out of the room.