Senate Republicans Prevent Attempt to Ban “Assault Weapons”

by Tommy Grant

Another attempt to ban “assault weapons” and expand background checks has been averted by Senate Republicans recently. Proposed by Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the legislation would infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. Specifically, originally sponsored by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the bill would ban popular modern sporting rifles.

“Assault Weapons” Ban Blocked by Senate Republicans

This past Wednesday, December 6, 2023, Republican Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) objected to Sen. Schumer’s request for unanimous consent to pass the “assault weapons” ban. The request follows recent shootings, which Democrats argue are becoming more commonplace.

According to Schumer’s argument on the Senate floor, “The scourge of gun violence in America is a national crisis. The American people are sick and tired of enduring one mass shooting after another. They’re sick and tired of vigil and moments of silence for family, friends, classmates, coworkers.”

True to form, guns are getting the blame, while violent crime is spiking across the country, and soft-on-crime policies only exacerbate the issue. Not to mention the “Defund the Police” movement that has taken root in many of our cities.

“Americans have a constitutional right to own a firearm. Every day, people across Wyoming responsibly use their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms,” said Barrasso. “Democrats are demanding that the American people give up their liberty.”

He went on to say, “The Second Amendment is freedom’s essential safeguard. Without it, there can be no liberty, and there can be no security. So, Mr. President, I object.”

According to The Hill, “The assault weapons ban, originally sponsored by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), would ban semiautomatic rifles with pistol grips, forward grips and folding or telescoping stocks, as well as rifles outfitted with grenade launchers, barrel shrouds or threaded barrels to allow for noise and flash suppressors to be attached.”

This would include all MSRs (modern sporting rifles) by definition, which are owned by more Americans than the Ford F-150.

Facts and Figures

Even more important is the fact that “assault weapons,” by the gun control lobby’s definition, are not responsible for the majority of shootings.

According to CrimeResearch.org, “With all the discussion about having another assault weapon ban, only 14% of mass public shootings are done solely with any type of rifle.”

A good illustration of this is President Biden’s most recent call for an “assault weapons” ban following the UNLV shooting. However, the suspect used a pistol to carry out the heinous act.

Although “assault weapons” are not the bogeyman the gun control lobby is trying to create, they still target them. The reason may simply be because they look scarier and are easier to demonize.

The Hill reports, “He [Barrasso] said that Democrats are trying to ban many types of semiautomatic firearms ‘because of the way they look.’”

Barrasso also stated that popular rifles like AR-15s “work the same way as popular shotguns and other rifles used for hunting and personal protection.”

Likewise, a majority of mass shootings seem to be a direct result of gun control. Specifically, gun-free zones.

CrimeResearch.org goes on to state, “Among the other findings, about 9 in 10 of the attacks are in gun-free zones (though over the longer period from 1950, 94% of the attacks are in gun-free zones).”

As Breitbart News points out in a recent X (Twitter) post, criminals don’t follow the law. Making more laws is not going to change that.

Universal Background Checks

Also proposed by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) was legislation requiring universal background checks.

Murphy stated, “We don’t have more mental illness in this country, we don’t spend less money on law enforcement, we don’t have angrier people, we have more guns, and we are much more permissive in this country about allowing felons, dangerous people, to get their hands on guns.”

First and foremost, we have background checks in place before you can purchase a firearm. In fact, referring back to the UNLV shooting, the suspect purchased his firearm legally, which requires a background check.

Breitbart News reports, “Breitbart News has repeatedly shown that the majority of high profile shooters during the past 16 or 17 years have acquired their guns via background checks.”

Also, unfortunately, we do have a mental illness problem in this country, and it is increasing.

NPR reported last year, “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve heard about sharp increases in the number of people suffering from mental health problems.”

The CrimeResearch.org story also states, “48% of the mass public shooters were seeing mental health care professionals prior to their attacks.”

Not to mention the rise in antidepressants that seem to be prevalent in a large number of mass shooting suspects.

Likewise, recent polls show that we also have angrier people.

According to a separate NPR report, “Some 84% of people surveyed said Americans are angrier today compared with a generation ago, according to the latest NPR-IBM Watson Health poll.”

Finally, Murphy claims that we have more guns while ignoring the fact that we also have more people. A Statista chart shows that in 1996, there were 265.3 million people in the United States, compared to 331 million in 2020. A number that is surely higher now.

Guns are not the problem. Criminals are.

On August 1, 2022, Joshua Swanagon reported:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi fast-tracked a vote to ban “assault weapons” in the House Judiciary Committee Friday. The 217-213 vote saw five House Democrats delivering a “no” vote, while two Republicans voted in support of the bill. The federal “Assault Weapons Ban of 2022” now makes its way to the Senate, where it’s not likely to pass.

House Passes Bill to Ban “Assault Weapons”

The vote addressing a ban on “assault weapons” intended for Wednesday was shelved for fear there weren’t enough votes. For this reason, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the vote would move to next month. However, Friday morning (just days later), she scheduled a last-minute vote for that day and it passed.

According to The Hill, “The assault weapons ban legislation, led by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and co-sponsored by 207 voting Democrats, specifically calls for prohibiting the sale, manufacture, transfer or import of various semi-automatic assault weapons, semi-automatic pistols and semi-automatic shotguns, depending on their features.”

The vote, which is a knee-jerk reaction to recent mass shootings, is a rehash of old, failed legislation. Similar to the 1994 “assault weapons” ban, which lasted ten years, this legislation is purely symbolic and unconstitutional.

In fact, according to a 2013 report on Breitbart, “Again–in 2011, less than .012 percent of the overall deaths in America were tied to “assault weapons,” and there was not even a ban in place. Years before that, 1994-2004, when the ban was in effect, [its] impact on gun violence was nil.”

Likewise, in 2013 the Wall Street Journal reported, “Since the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired in September 2004, murder and overall violent-crime rates have fallen. In 2003, the last full year before the law expired, the U.S. murder rate was 5.7 per 100,000 people, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report. By 2011, the murder rate fell to 4.7 per 100,000 people. One should also bear in mind that just 2.6% of all murders are committed using any type of rifle.”

Just like the previous legislation, this legislation will do nothing to prevent gun violence. Likewise, disarming law-abiding citizens will only further endanger public safety in the face of rising violent crime.

Inside the Federal “Assault Weapon” Ban

The Hill goes on to give examples of affected firearms:

“For example, all semi-automatic rifles that can accept detachable magazines and have a pistol grip, a forward grip, a grenade launcher, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel or a folding, telescoping or detachable stock are subject to the ban.”

In addition, the legislation also targets standard capacity magazines, which have been redefined as “high capacity.”

A line item in Sec. 3 Restrictions on Assault Weapons and Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Devices states:

“It shall be unlawful for a person to import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, a large capacity ammunition feeding device.”

The legislation defines “high capacity” as any ammunition feeding device that holds more than 15 rounds. However, it does state that the ban doesn’t apply to “high capacity” magazines lawfully possessed before enactment of the legislation. Likewise, the legislation doesn’t apply to “any semiautomatic assault weapon” lawfully purchased before the ban.

The bill comes at a time when support for a semi-auto ban is decreasing in the United States. Not to mention, gun ownership is steadily climbing. Similarly, polls are demonstrating that Americans are rejecting more gun control by increasing margins.

“This legislation is as dangerous as it is revealing of the contempt that the House Democrats hold for the Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “Chairman Jerrold Nadler admitted during debate in his committee that he didn’t care the legislation was unconstitutional and defied Supreme Court precedent. Democratic representatives are not fulfilling the interest of ‘the People,’ instead representing special-interest gun control groups that seek to disarm law-abiding citizens and scapegoat them for crimes committed by others.”

Not Expected to Pass the Senate

Although two Republican representatives in the House—Chris Jacobs (N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.)—crossed the aisle and voted to support the bill, it likely won’t pass the Senate.

According to the Hill, “Though it received bipartisan support in the House, the legislation has little chance of progressing in the Senate because of widespread Republican opposition.”

In addition, NBC News reports, “The level of GOP opposition indicates the bill is unlikely to advance in the evenly split Senate, where it would require the support of at least 10 Republicans to defeat a guaranteed filibuster. It’s also not clear if the measure has the support of all 50 Senate Democrats.”

Although this is potentially good news, we cannot let our guard down. The Democrats are relentless in the pursuit of dismantling our Second Amendment rights. Even though the evidence is clear that law-abiding gun owners are not the problem, violent criminals are. Yet they are being all but ignored, with the exception of soft on crime and “defund the police” policies.

It is worth noting that there are over 24 million AR and AK-style rifles in circulation throughout the United States. If they were really the problem Democrats and gun control advocates say they are, there would be no denying it.

The number of MSRs accounting for less than .012 percent of overall deaths in America proves they’re not the problem. This is also a clear indication that law-abiding citizens are not responsible for gun violence.

Until Democrats are willing to look at the rising violent crime in their cities, things will only get worse.

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