|Attention All Citizens and Firearm Arm Owners:
Last week, Senators Angus King (IND-ME) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced perhaps the most sweeping gun prohibition bill of the 21st Century. Both had voted against prior versions of federal “assault weapons” bans, making their debut effort into the genre notable not only for its scope but as a paradigmatic in-office flip-flop. Please see the latest NRA-ILA Alert for more details on the “GOSAFE Act” HERE.
“This legislation blatantly violates the U.S. Constitution and U.S. Supreme Court rulings by banning the very types of firearms and magazines most often utilized by Americans for defending themselves and their families. This bill unjustly and improperly places the full burden of the law on law-abiding residents, while doing nothing to take guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals. The NRA opposes this legislation and will fight to protect the constitutional freedoms of all law-abiding Americans.” – Randy Kozuch, Executive Director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action
Most assault weapons bills to be introduced in Congress follow a similar formula. First, they ban various types of firearms by name, usually adding “their duplicates or copies,” whatever that might mean. Then they generically prohibit all semiautomatic long guns with certain supposed “military-style“ features. Finally, they ban detachable magazines based on their capacity, typically drawing the line at 10 rounds. This bill, however, targets semiautomatic firearms of all kinds and configurations, presumptively banning them as a class, and then exempting some of them. The usual magazine ban is also included, capping legal capacity of most types of ammunition feeding devices at 10 rounds. This legislation goes even further. If passed, the bill would order ATF to publish a list of whatever semiautomatic firearms remain legal for sale to and possession by the general public. This is likely due to the vague definitions and exemptions within the bill.
We have said it many times before when it comes to “assault weapons” bans, but it bears repeating: the guns targeted by this bill are primarily owned by law-abiding people who keep them for defensive and other lawful purposes. They are in fact the most popular guns sold in America today. And, semiautomatic rifles are actually underrepresented in murders, behind not just other guns but other types of weapons, including knives and even hands and feet.
Beyond all of the practical problems with the bill, it clearly violates the Second Amendment. The Supreme Court has made clear that the Second Amendment protects arms “in common use” for lawful purposes. And just last year, the Supreme Court laid out the test for evaluating whether a law is in violation of the Second Amendment. To survive Second Amendment scrutiny, a law must be consistent with America’s history and tradition of arms regulation.
In the end, this legislation follows the same path as most modern gun control by attempting to blame violent crime on America’s law-abiding gun owners while doing nothing to stop those who use firearms unlawfully.
Please stay tuned to your email inbox and www.nraila.org for more updates!