This is an article about Senator Feinstein’s Assault Weapon ban. If you’d like to learn about the more recent Assault Weapon Ban introduced in the House, please see: Assault Weapon Ban 2019
We’re going to explore what the proposed “assault weapon” bill would ban, whether it’ll be effective (hint, it won’t), and what the exemptions are. Also, at the end of the article, we’ve gathered some good deals for you on the items in the proposed ban in case you’d like to stock up before it’s too late.
But first, a quick background on “assault weapons.”
We don’t like the term “assault weapons.” This isn’t just because it drives anti-gunners into a gun-hating frothy frenzy. It’s also because the term is not accurate. And, unlike some, we prefer to speak in facts and accurate terms.
First, the term “assault weapon” seems to give an impossible characteristic to an inanimate object. No inanimate object can assault anybody. For example, any knife could be used to assault someone, however, the knife is not an “assault knife.” Instead, an assaulter (a person) used a tool (a knife) to assault someone.
Likewise, drunk driving cars don’t exist. We have drunk drivers who happen to use cars to injure themselves and others.
Second, if we do try to define the term “assault weapon,” we typically end up with the military definition which includes a medium-caliber fully-automatic (machine gun) rifle. Whenever an anti-gunner refers to an “assault weapon,” it is clearly not one of these.
But…. it’s the term that has stuck so we’ll use it….. begrudgingly.
During the Clinton era, we had an assault weapons ban (AWB). The ban, which sunset (expired) in the early 2000s, restricted the sale and ownership of certain rifles. Typically, these were AR-15 style rifles that had certain characteristics.
So, under the federal AWB, an AR-15 could be used (same firearm/mechanism/ammo/etc.) but, the stock couldn’t collapse (somehow this made it more dangerous?) and it couldn’t have a bayonet lug (you know, to stop those drive-by bayonetting’s).
Some states have their own versions of AWBs and they typically include a features-based prohibition (collapsible stock, pistol grip, magazine capacity, etc.) and sometimes they also include a list of specific firearms by name.
Assault Weapon Ban of 2019 Announced
From Senator Feinstein’s Press release:
“Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today led a group of senators in introducing the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019, an updated bill to ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.”
Quotes from Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal (both from Connecticut and both big reasons I’m thankful I left that crumbling state) attribute the ban as an attempt to stop mass-shootings:
“Military-style assault rifles are the weapons of choice for mass murderers. There’s just no reason why these guns, which were designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible, are sold to the public,” said Senator Chris Murphy. “This past year, we’ve seen Americans rise up and demand Congress change our gun laws. Banning assault weapons would save lives, and I’m proud to join Senator Feinstein in introducing this bill.”
“Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are deadly and dangerous weapons of war that belong on battlefields—not our streets. They have no purpose for self-defense or hunting, and no business being in our schools, churches and malls,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal. “By passing this legislation, Congress can honor the memory of the beautiful lives cut short by military-style assault weapons in Newtown, Parkland, Las Vegas, San Bernardino and far too many other American cities. This is the year for my colleagues to turn our rhetoric into reality and finally end America’s gun violence epidemic.”
First, these so-called “assault weapons” are the most popular firearm in America. Let’s assume for a second that their existence is why we have mass shootings (it’s not). If that is their belief, then why would they only ban new ones and grandfather current ones (see below)? The most common rifle in America is, by far, the AR-15. This bill does nothing to address the vast majority of rifles in America.
Now don’t get me wrong… we’re VERY HAPPY that they aren’t going after current rifles. We’re just pointing out the absurdity of this ban and how it won’t do what they propose.
Second, and a reason why the first point is moot, “assault weapons” are not why we have mass murder. If they were, then how do you explain the Virginia Tech mass shooting, the Ft. Hood shooting, the 9/11 hijackers, the Boston Bombers, etc? They used handguns, box cutters/airplanes, and pressure-cookers.
Banning objects will never work. In fact, there’s a strong correlation to be made that these mass-shootings ONLY happen where guns are banned.
We do understand, and hope that you do too, that repeatedly saying “bans won’t work” isn’t as effective as following that up with, “here’s something that might.” Why wouldn’t we try crowd-sourcing school, church, and business safety/security with real-time location-based alerts for lock-downs and communication?
We won’t even get into how a pistol grip, or any other cosmetic feature, makes a new firearm more lethal.
What is Banned by the Assault Weapons Bill of 2019?
UPDATE: The actual language of the bill is finally available!
For the first week of this news, we had to rely upon the unclear information in the press release.
Let’s explore some of the ban’s “key provisions.”
The ban, in its current state, will not affect those who currently own the banned firearms/magazines. However, these firearms/magazines will no longer be allowed to be made nor imported.
The firearms/magazines that are banned by the bill will be “grandfathered.” That is, if you possessed them before the ban goes into effect, you may keep them. The firearms may be sold in accordance with special rules (see below) but the magazines may not – if you don’t possess the magazines before the ban goes into effect, it will be illegal for you to purchase them after.
For the other items on the proposed ban, it is not yet clear whether they will be “grandfathered.” For example, much like the current rule-making that will ban bump-fire stocks and require their destruction or surrender, the same may be true for the stock and pistol braces banned below.
The Assault Weapons Bill of 2019 will ban:
Certain “Assault Weapons” by Name
The AWB 0f 2019 bill includes 205 “military-style assault” firearms listed, by name, that will be banned.
Certain Firearms Based on its Characteristics
Typical of prior federal bans on “assault weapons,” and current state bans, the AWB 2019 proposes to ban certain rifles, handguns, and shotguns based on cosmetic characteristics.
- Rifles. The Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 will ban any semiautomatic rifle that has a detachable magazine AND has any one of the following characteristics:
- folding/collapsible stock,
- pistol grip,
- barrel shroud,
- or a threaded barrel. Of special note, a threaded barrel is defined as any “feature or characteristic that is designed in such a manner to allow for the attachment of a device such as a firearm silencer or a flash suppressor.” Wow… that’s any method of attaching something, not just “threads.”
- Handguns. The Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 will ban any semiautomatic handgun that has a detachable magazine AND has any one of the following features:
- threaded barrel,
- second pistol grip,
- barrel shroud,
- the ability to accept a detachable magazine outside the pistol’s grip. This part bans all AR-15-style and AK-style handguns,
- an unloaded weight of at least 50 ounces,
- a stabilizing brace (see below),
- Shotguns. The AWB 2019 bans any semiautomatic shotgun that has any of the following:
- folding/collapsible stock,
- pistol grip,
- greater than 5 round magazine capacity,
- a detachable magazine,
- a forward grip,
- a grenade launcher (that’s right, you’re going to have to do without those grenade launching shotguns), or
- a revolving cylinder.
Certain Firearms By Type
In case you were thinking that you’d be able to get what we used to call post-ban or “neutered” rifles, not a chance.
The ban also outlaws the following “types of firearms:
- AK-style rifles and pistols,
- AR-style rifles and pistols,
- FAL-style rifles,
- SKS-style rifles with detachable magazines,
- belt-fed semi-auto firearms,
It even includes list of specifics that are loosely related such as SCAR, ACR, PS90, FS2000, Barrett M107, IWI Tavor, CETME, HK91, Hi-Point. etc. Effectively, it tries to ban any “scary” rifle to anti-gunners.
It also bans “any combination of parts from which a firearm described in subparagraphs (A) through (K) can be assembled.”
Interestingly, the Ruger Mini-14, Mini-30, PC9, and PC40 are specifically exempted.
Magazines over a 10 round Capacity
Ammunition feeding devices (magazines) that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition will be banned.
Note from above – magazines are grandfathered for whoever possessed them before the ban – there will be no reselling/transfer allowed after the ban.
Pistol Stabilizing Braces
Pistol braces, which were first made popular by Sig Sauer, will be banned. This is because any “part” that can be used to make a banned firearm is also banned. It is not clear that these will be grandfathered. Only firearms and magazines are specifically grandfathered, and these are parts. We’ll see what happens.
Folding or Collapsing Stocks
The AWB 2019 seems to ban these stocks (and not simply ban a firearm with one of these stocks). This is for the same reasoning as above. Also, it is unclear whether these will be grandfathered.
This is very interesting, is the inclusion of bump-fire stocks in this ban a sign that they agree that the current ban done by presidential fiat is invalid?
The actual language of the bill bans anything that “is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle but not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machine gun.”
The language in the AWB of 2019 specifically grandfathers “assault weapons” and magazines – it says nothing about these. The logical conclusion is that they will be banned outright and surrendered or destroyed.
If they were merely a limiting feature of defining a firearm, we wouldn’t think this. However, they are specifically banned in addition to firearms and magazines.
Other Requirements of the AWB 2019
Among banning many objects, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 also adds a new requirement and provisions.
The AWB 2019 requires a background check (presumably a transfer through an FFL) on any future “sale, trade or gifting” of an “assault weapon” covered by the bill.
This Assault Weapon Ban also requires that these newly defined “assault weapons” be stored using a secure gun storage or safety device like a trigger lock. The bill specifically defines that “stored” refers to any time a firearm is not in the direct control of the possessor or in the immediate vicinity where it could readily be in the direct control of the possessor.
Effectively, you walk away from it and it has to be stored properly.
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Exemptions to the Assault Weapons Bill
Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Ban exempts more than 2,200 firearms by name and it includes a grandfather clause that exempts all current owners (those that owned prior to the bill taking effect) of the banned firearms/magazines.
Also, it is very common that FFLs are exempted from these provisions. This is because they have been for all prior bans. If you’re thinking about getting your FFL, you should start this week so that you can have it in time.
What You Can Do About the AWB 2019
First and foremost, be an advocate against gun control. Call and write your representatives explaining how this ban won’t accomplish what it intends to and it will only infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens.
Also, please consider supporting advocacy groups. As of today, this also means supporting the Firearms Policy Coalition. I will not be giving any support or money to the NRA until they make some SERIOUS changes to their organization. In my opinion, they are directly responsible for the current ban on bump-fire stocks and they are not demonstrating advocacy for Second Amendment rights.
The NRA, after taking serious criticism for their supporting gun control by rule-making, explained that they were playing chess and not checkers, and they explained that they supported gun control as a compromise to avoid another “assault weapons” ban.
I was a strong voice against this explaining that this was absurd. The NRA could never get the Democrats to agree to not introduce an assault weapons ban in exchange for rolling over on bump-fire stocks. They can introduce a ban whenever they like… and they just did.
In addition to fighting this, you might want to stock up on some of these items now – if this bill takes effect, you won’t be able to get them later. Here’s a collection of deals we found for you:
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