Feinstein Assault Weapon Ban of 2019 [EXPLAINED]

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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

[UPDATE 2/13/19}: More gun control legislation introduced…Universal Background Checks

Here we go again… the proposed Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 has just been introduced.

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.”

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.

This assault weapons ban is very similar to prior bans, however, it goes a bit further in that it also bans certain non-firearm objects and it is not clear whether those objects will be grandfathered.

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.

  1. 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:
    1. folding/collapsible stock,
    2. pistol grip,
    3. foregrip,
    4. barrel shroud,
    5. 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.”
  2. 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:
    1. threaded barrel,
    2. second pistol grip,
    3. barrel shroud,
    4. the ability to accept a detachable magazine outside the pistol’s grip.  This part bans all AR-15-style and AK-style handguns,
    5. an unloaded weight of at least 50 ounces,
    6. a stabilizing brace (see below),
  3. Shotguns.  The AWB 2019 bans any semiautomatic shotgun that has any of the following:
    1. folding/collapsible stock,
    2. pistol grip,
    3. greater than 5 round magazine capacity,
    4. a detachable magazine,
    5. a forward grip,
    6. a grenade launcher (that’s right, you’re going to have to do without those grenade launching shotguns), or
    7. 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:

  1. AK-style rifles and pistols,
  2. AR-style rifles and pistols,
  3. FAL-style rifles,
  4. SKS-style rifles with detachable magazines,
  5. belt-fed semi-auto firearms,
  6. etc.

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.

If you want to stock up (especially before a mad-rush on them), we’ve found good deals for you here and here.

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.

Bump-Fire Stocks

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.

If you’re looking for more updates on this bill, please subscribe to our mailing list:

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:

Rifles:

Deals on rifles covered by this proposed ban: here, here, and here.

Magazines:

We’ve found good deals for you on magazines here and here.

Other Parts:

It’s not clear whether pistol braces, folding stocks, nor bump-stocks will be grandfathered.

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    26 Comments

    • Ruben Garcia
      Posted January 10, 2019 12:49 pm

      I wish both sides will come together and try to find a solution, it seem that the left goes more to the left and the right goes even more to the right, its unfortunate what is happening here with the proposed law, this one seems a bit confusing (I haven’t read it just reading your articule), I read the Florida proposing law back in 2018 and it was clear to me, even when I am not a lawyer, that was a clear ban on assault rifles, I am not a friend of the NRA also, I saw some radical commercial campaning from the NRA and I found it less than tastfull and divisive, I am an gun owner, but I get that we having a big issue here, I should participate in your post cast Ryan one day to express the middle (with some Bias) ground Lol

    • David
      Posted January 10, 2019 12:55 pm

      Thanks for getting quality, informed information out in such a timely manner. Without the full proposed text, it’s hard to say much for sure, but I appreciate you writing from facts rather than speculation.

      I’m curious, was the 1994 AWB ever challenged in court?

      • Tex
        Posted January 13, 2019 11:58 am

        The 1994 AWB was challenged as a violation of the Commerce Clause, not the Second Amendment. It was upheld as a valid act of Congressional authority.

    • buddy Grren
      Posted January 10, 2019 7:45 pm

      The NRA sold out the NFA guys back in the eighties so it is not a reach to think they would sell out other segments of the gun culture for for something their patrons considered a bigger win.

    • Greg
      Posted January 10, 2019 8:49 pm

      She’s just another idiotic Democrat who knows nothing about the crap coming out of her mouth.

    • Jake
      Posted January 10, 2019 10:57 pm

      It should be noted that this AWB is far more extreme than the ‘94 ban. The language as presented in Feinstein’s announcement would define a Thompson Center Compass bolt action rifle as an assault weapon. It has a detachable magazine and one of the “military style features”; it has a threaded barrel to accept a suppressor. So a basic deer rifle is now deemed an “assault weapon” because of that. Nevermind that you need a stamp and background check from the feds for the can.

      That said, the NRA and other gun lobbyists along with their supporters got us into this. I’m not one for compromise, but if you don’t offer up viable solutions to a problem, then someone is gonna fix it for you. And you aren’t going to like their solution. It has effectively been analogous to sticking one’s fingers in their ears and screaming “I can’t hear you!” Worse yet, a number of measures far more restrictive are being introduced at the state level across the country. Things are about to get dicey.

      • Danny Moses
        Posted January 18, 2019 6:37 pm

        If they can’t get what they want they will take for now what they can get. Give up NOTHING.

      • A.D.
        Posted August 7, 2019 2:00 pm

        If you would re-read the sections covered above the ban would only apply to SEMIAUTOMATIC rifles, pistols, and shotguns. Additionally, the bill specifically exempts bolt action, slide, and pump action firearms.

        You would be able to still buy 10 round magazines.

        However, this is all calculated, because she, and the rest know you can kill large numbers of people with bolt, pump and lever action firearms. After a few shootings with “hunting” weapons there will be an outcry to ban these “sniper rifles, riot guns, and outlaw cowboy rifles” and this is how the conversation will go:

        “We still have a gun problem in this country, we tried to work with the NRA, and the rest of the gun supporters in Congress, but they opposed US at every turn. Guns that can kill at 600 yards, that are designed for law enforcement to use during civil unrest, or to be used by ICE on horseback have no place in our streets. Neither do these pistols, and criminal Saturday Night Specials that people can stuff in there pocket, and conceal. Our work is not done until we get these weapons designed for Law Enforcement are off our streets”

        Then the cry will be “let’s do it like Australia” have a buyback, just allow single shots, and double barrels”

        But the real issue is still for the moment shelved, that is $1Million in liability coverage for each gun, and the repeal of the law that prevents gun manufacturers from liability.

        Ultimately, using the courts to put gun manufacturer out of business is the over reaching goal.

        The threats are multi faceted, but a disarmed population is what they want, regardless of what they say.

    • Robert Reppermund
      Posted January 10, 2019 11:38 pm

      I’m truly in discuss about how all this Constitutional end run is progressing ! The Constitution written by the State or by the Founding Fathers is as it is, Period !! The Supreme Court ruled already that the 2nd amendment and other amendments are as they stand.
      The Socialist Left is nibbling away little by little and the sheep are falling for it !
      IF all this make their own rules are Illegal how can any of these Bills even be brought up for discussion? Is the Constitution not the Constitution ????
      I understand that all the laws being broken are being fought as legal as possible and as peaceful as possible but as simple examples, If you drive under the influence, run a red light, or shoplift then as written by law you are arrested.
      Knowing that many more people are killed by means other that a firearm and the Socialist Left wants our guns is just saying that the sooner the people are disarmed the faster the DEM elite can make begging dogs out of us all.
      With all the so called intellectuals in this country falling for this Constitutional law breaking I really wish that they would read deeply about true Socialism and what freedoms they will lose.
      None of this crap that it would be different here !!
      To Ryan Cleckner: Do we follow the Constitution, Is this still the United States of America ???
      YES I do write my representatives, BOTH State and US.

    • Tony Garry
      Posted January 11, 2019 2:19 am

      If this asinine ban goes through. When will it begin?

      • Carl
        Posted August 5, 2019 3:44 pm

        It has in Washington State. Check out I-1639

    • gadfly
      Posted January 11, 2019 6:35 am

      Thank you for taking the time to write this. Like you I hate arguments based on falsehood. I have little hope this issue will ever be resolved. For that to happen we would have to agree to at least be honest with one another and to re-examine engrained false beliefs. For me it’s simple. The Constitution and BIll of Rights define our American citizenship. Without them we’re subjects, not citizens. Opportunistic politicians and big government will always attempt to reinterpret the Constitution to concentrate power at their level and take it away from ours. This is just another attempt to do that. Gun control has never ever been about public safety. It has always been and always will be about power and control. Once we understand and admit that basic truth we can start to look for solutions that might really work instead of taking shots at low hanging fruit that has nothing to do with the preservation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    • bob fogle
      Posted January 12, 2019 2:20 pm

      there is not one weaopn clasified as an ASSAULT weapon, it is a definition of weaopns made up be the media and the liberals. just cuz a weapon looks scary it is STILL a semi auto, meaning only ONE BULLET will be fired at a time when the trigger is pulled.so in the court of law this bill could be beaten due to the fact their is NO SUCH CLASSIFICATION AS AN ASSAULT WEAPON

    • Rob
      Posted January 14, 2019 4:34 pm

      Do we really think the Senate is going to pass this with a GOP majority?

      • John
        Posted January 18, 2019 6:42 pm

        This bill is going nowhere in the *current* Senate, where sixty votes will be required. And it’s also unlikely to advance after the 2020 election (more Senate Republicans up than Democrats, but most Republicans in solid red states). But we must still develop solid counter-arguments and not just rely on the standard 2A/Heller/McDonald rhetoric. The Constitution means whatever judges say it means, and judges follow politics pretty closely — and there are lots of changes going on in our politics these days..

    • Steve
      Posted January 18, 2019 9:53 pm

      People talking about compromise with the anti gunners… I want to hit you in the head with a 20lb sledge hammer. But, in the name of compromise, a 10 will suffice. You’re welcome, now lay down so I can line this up…

    • Bret Walters
      Posted January 19, 2019 8:45 am

      How do we, as responsible gun owners, educate the American public? The majority of us do not have the prominence to reach the masses of people who only believe what they hear or see on radio and TV. The anti-gunners have their hands in the media’s, Senators and Representatives pockets to only promote their agenda. That makes it very difficult to get an opportunity to fairly represent what we love and enjoy about firearms.

      We need rules and regulations that are fair to law abiding citizens. Taking away our rights will never stop someone who lives outside of the law. They will find a way to get what they want and do harm in the manner they choose. There will never be a law that prevents that.

    • chuck
      Posted January 25, 2019 3:53 pm

      I think that someone should actually tell these people that foldings stocks and whatnot have nothing to do with the gun and its capabilities of the firearm. Maybe ban something like caliber, but for heaven sakes why does something as stupid as folding stocks have to make a weapon an assault weapon? Also, I like the part that explains that a weapon can not be an assault weapon because the weapon on its own can’t assault someone. Keep up the great content!

    • james
      Posted April 7, 2019 10:00 pm

      I am a former military (unit armorer) and current law enforcement officer with 20+ years in the later. I currently have no guns but I have had both rifles and handguns. I believe that we should have the right to own any weapon as long as we are law abiding citizens. And that is where the problems really are …. if someone doesn’t care about breaking the law by murdering people would a ban on weapons stop him or her? I don’t believe so, I have even thought that the cool down periods for gun sales to current gun owners is moot…. how many people decide to go buy a new gun legally to kill someone when they already have one? it truly leaves us but with one route try to stop guns from getting in the wrong hands by properly storing their firearms and being properly trained on how to use them. Remember guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

      • Human being
        Posted August 4, 2019 4:30 pm

        Your are gun idiots ;
        Amoral,heartless ,cruel ,hateful ,empty
        headed ,egomaniacs.
        If you love guns so much move to Iraq
        and live in s tank.

        • Ryan Cleckner
          Posted August 4, 2019 6:31 pm

          Not a very compelling argument. If this is how you try to make your points, do you really expect to ever persuade someone or are you satisfied with name calling? If the latter, you’ve helped identify why people who think like me don’t want to listen to nor associate with people like you. If you’d like to be persuasive, I suggest another tactic.

    • Carl
      Posted August 5, 2019 3:57 pm

      In Washington State all (ALL) semiauto rifles are now Assault rifles. You must now be over 21 and have taken the special AW class to buy one as of July 2019. Red flag laws mean no presumption of inocense or probable cause. They don’t need a reason to confiscate your guns. Washington State just passed a whole slate of un constitutional gun laws by an intitiative 1639. Worse now than California. I-1639 means they can pass any scheme they want now. Get it on the ballot and it will pass. We are in big trouble. Every mass shooting means more and more laws that wouldn’t have made any difference.

      • Craig
        Posted October 9, 2019 11:58 am

        The barrel shroud protects the shooter from burning his/ her hand on a hot barrel. Both sides need to understand that by getting rid of a assault style weapons won’t stop mass shootings or criminals; ban bump stocks is the best thing to do and having improved gun laws is a start; but, Democrats fail to realize that mass shootings are done by psychologically and possibly chemically unstable individuals! Guns are not the problem people are.

      • Craig Roberts
        Posted October 9, 2019 11:59 am

        The barrel shroud protects the shooter from burning his/ her hand on a hot barrel. Both sides need to understand that by getting rid of a assault style weapons won’t stop mass shootings or criminals; ban bump stocks is the best thing to do and having improved gun laws is a start; but, Democrats fail to realize that mass shootings are done by psychologically and possibly chemically unstable individuals! Guns are not the problem people are.

    • Mark Anderson
      Posted August 13, 2019 1:16 pm

      Come on Ryan, you know the real reason. Hunters need those assault rifles, deer are hard to hit. Dentists are all for them too.

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