Should Congress Restrict Semiautomatic Weapons?

Awaiting Vote
Bill Summary

This bill aims to limit what weapons may be sold and owned by restricting semiautomatic assault weapons. Sponsor: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Democrat, California) View full bill text ➔

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Opponents say

•     "I’ve never been more worried about an attack on the Second Amendment than I am right now...One of the things about our Constitution is that we understood early on that if you live in a dictatorship, or in the places where the government runs everything, the first thing they take away from you is not just your speech, but your ability to defend yourself. That’s why the Second Amendment exists. The ability to own a gun responsibly is a constitutional right in American, and here’s what I would say: we need that right today, as much as any other time in American history."

Source: Sen. Lindsey Graham (Republican, South Carolina)

•     "Misguided legislation or unilateral executive actions that only punish law abiding citizens are not the answer. The left is seizing on a heartbreaking situation to double down on failed policies to infringe on our second amendment rights."

Source: Rep. Jodey Arrington (Republican, Texas, District 19)

•     "Semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 are the most popular rifles in the United States for home protection and defensive skills-based firearm training and marksmanship competitions, and they're increasingly popular among hunters….Ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are standard equipment for many handguns and rifles designed for defensive purposes, they're commonly used in handguns kept for protection at home and carried for protection away from home, and they're commonly used in defensive skills-based firearm training and sports."

Source: National Rifle Association (NRA)

Proponents say

     "It’s been 17 years since the original Assault Weapons Ban expired, and the plague of gun violence continues to grow in this country...To be clear, this bill saves lives. When it was in place from 1994-2004, gun massacres declined by 37 percent compared with the decade before. After the ban expired, the number of massacres rose by 183 percent. We’re now seeing a rise in domestic terrorism, and military-style assault weapons are increasingly becoming the guns of choice for these dangerous groups."

Source: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Democrat, California) 

•     "Military-style assault rifles were designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible. Period. There is no reason why these weapons should be sold to the public. President Biden ran on passing commonsense legislation to end the gun violence epidemic. The data is clear: an assault weapons ban will save lives. I’m proud to join Senator Feinstein in reintroducing this critical legislation."

Source: Sen. Chris Murphy (Democrat, Connecticut) 

     "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. By passing this legislation, Congress can honor the memory of the beautiful lives cut short by military-style assault weapons in far too many American cities."

Source: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Democrat, Connecticut)