Proposed Assault Weapons Ban Introduced in Senate


Today, January 24th, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, 42 days after Sandy Hook, 188 days past Aurora, Colorado. The bill is a comprehensive update to the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994.

The new legislation has two major components that will affect gun sales in the future and current owners of affected firearms.

  • First, the bill prohibits the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of more than 150 of the most commonly owned military-style assault weapons [see list at bottom of summary]. It also bans an additional group of assault weapons that can accept a detachable ammunition magazine and have one or more military characteristics.
  • Second, the bill bans large-capacity magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. These devices allow shooters to fire numerous rounds in rapid succession without having to stop and reload.

The Assault Weapons Ban includes a grandfather clause that specifically exempts all assault weapons lawfully possessed at the date of enactment from the ban. The intent of the grandfather clause is to insure all gun owners that the government is NOT confiscating currently owned firearms. The bill does not affect the purchase of hunting and sporting rifles manually operated by bolt, pump, lever or slide action including more than 2,200 hunting and sporting rifles by specific make and model.

Regarding the first component, those semi-automatic rifles that accept detachable ammunition magazines used in recent mass shootings. The bill addresses the variations of the AR-15, AK-47 and other military style rifles. These rifles, by design can accept magazines that hold up to 100 rounds, and have been shown firing up to 13 rounds per second, depending on modifications and skill level.

While future weapons on the list would be banned, weapons currently in the hands of gun owners are excluded.  Currently owned weapons will have, however some new restrictions. Grandfathered assault weapons must be stored safely using a secure gun storage or safety device in order to keep them away from prohibited persons. Also, all future transfers of assault weapons covered by the legislation, including sale, trade and gift must be subject to a normal background check, as if purchased at a Federal Firearms License [FFL] gun dealer. Further, the sale or transfer of high-capacity ammunition feeding devices that are currently in existence is prohibited.

Since Sandy Hook the gun community has rushed to hoard every gun that was likely to be on the list of banned weapons and to stockpile the magazines that will now be illegal to sell or transfer or require dealer involvement to provide a background check of the new buyer [for the guns].

The second component of the legislation bans large-capacity magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. This affects the gun community in two ways. First, it will require that manufactures only supply magazines with a capacity of 10 rounds or less for ALL guns that are sold. The just passed New York legislation used a threshold of 7 rounds.

But more important to the general public, guns sold to buyers for self-defense will now be limited to 10 rounds. This will require that future purchasers train differently to defend from attack…no longer would they be able to quickly or easily defend themselves from multiple attackers or home invaders with a single 10 round magazine. While the likelihood of need to defend family and home is extremely small…this law will weaken that ability for the 99% of gun owners who do not use them for criminal intent.

A third component of the legislation is to ban many of the modifications that are currently available for the AR-15 type of rifles including bump or slide fire stocks, which are modified stocks that enable semi-automatic weapons to fire at rates similar to fully automatic machine guns and to ban “bullet buttons” that allow the rapid replacement of ammunition magazines, frequently used as a workaround to prohibitions on detachable magazines. Further, thumbhole stocks, a type of stock that was created as a workaround to avoid prohibitions on pistol grips would be prohibited.

Other elements of the legislation include adding a ban on the importation of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, something that many thought President Obama would do by way of Executive Order. It also eliminates the 10-year sunset that allowed the original federal ban to expire. Additionally, monies would be allocated to allow states and localities to use federal Byrne JAG grant funds to conduct a voluntary buy-back program for grandfathered assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices.

As recently as last week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that he would not bring any Assault Weapon Ban legislation to a vote as he didn’t believe it would pass in the House. He has since changed his position and will bring it to a vote.

Complete text of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 will be published later today.

McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst. His grandfathers helped organize the coal fields of Eastern Kentucky and his father was a career long butcher and union representative.
You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.