Assault Weapon bill passed by House Democrats puts politics over people
Banning semi-automatic rifles will not stop mass shootings or gun violence
Twice during the floor debate on Friday in the House of Representatives on the new “Assault Weapon Ban,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was about “putting people above politics.” She was doing the opposite.
“Democratic representatives are not fulfilling the interest of ‘the People,’” Lawrence Keane, the general counsel of The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), said after the vote. He said they are “representing special-interest gun control groups that seek to disarm law-abiding citizens and scapegoat them for crimes committed by others.”
The final vote was 217 to 213. Pelosi smiled as she gaveled down.
Pelosi made backroom deals in the past 24 hours in order to fix her gun-control public relations failure this week. House Democrats rammed through this bill to appeal to the liberal base who wanted to “do something” —anything— after the recent mass shootings and before the upcoming midterm elections.
“They want to limit the ability of the American people to defend themselves and exercise their Second Amendment rights to protect their families,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) said in the debate.
“That’s what’s happening on the floor so my colleagues can appeal to their liberal white voters – while they ignore the black men and women and brown men and women who are buying weapons to defend themselves in criminal hell holes in the country.”
Assault weapon ban 2.0
An “assault weapon” is a political term that refers to semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines that have two or more cosmetic features. I put the link to the bill in my sources so you can read the specific features. None change the functionality of the firearm.
This billl also bans semi-automatic shotguns that with a detachable or fixed “ammunition feeding device that has the capacity to accept more than 5 rounds.”
Pelosi in her floor speech said reinstating the assault weapon ban is a “long overdue step to get deadly weapons off our streets.” She referenced the 1994 federal assault weapon ban, sponsored by then Sen. Joe Biden, and claimed the ban decreased violence by those semi-automatic rifles with certain cosmetic features.
Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) spoke after Pelosi and fact-checked her. “This ban did not stop violent crime or prevent heart-wrenching crimes like Columbine,” said Hudson. “A so-called assault weapon ban does not work. But what it does is take away your rights and leave you vulnerable. The simple truth is criminals don’t follow the laws….. But when you criminalize guns, only criminals have guns.”
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“For years, the Democrats told us, ‘We’re not coming for your guns.’ Oh yes, they are,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the Ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, during the debate.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said no one’s guns are being taken away since they are grandfathered in by the bill.
The bill says “makes it a crime to knowingly import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon or large capacity ammunition feeding device” - which used to be called “high capacity” magazines.
For the citizens who currently own one of the 24 million AR or AK style rifles, the guns are grandfathered in, but if you want to sell or transfer it, you’d have to get a licensed gun dealer to do a background check.
The bill says it will be illegal to sell or transfer “large capacity” feeding devices” - defined as more than 15 rounds.
Also, the bill says you will commit a crime if your gun is not “securely stored”, which is defined as either on your body or “locked by a secure gun storage or safety device that the prohibited individual has no ability to access.”.
Here’s Pelosi on that measure:
You have a problem with that? Pelosi asked, looking over to the Republican side of the House floor.
“You want to know what would do more right now than banning AR-15s would be to ban Democratic thinking in the big cities that would allow crime to explode,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX).
“House Democrats literally voted to penalize law-abiding gun owners for crimes they did not commit, while blaming firearms rather than criminals and their enablers,” Alan Gottlieb, Founder of the Second Amendment Foundation said after the vote.
“It will do nothing to reduce or prevent crime, and will instead further erode the Second Amendment, which appears to be the ultimate goal of these gun control proponents.”
Assault weapons and mass shootings
Nadler said that the assault weapon ban was necessary because “mass shootings have increased exponentially.” Pelosi also said mass shootings increased since the ban expired in 2004. That is factually incorrect.
I downloaded the stats for mass shooting incidents from the Department of Justice and a group it funded called the Violence Project. There have been a total of 55 mass shootings and 516 victims in the past 10 years. There is no pattern over time. Here is year by year:
2012- 6 mass shootings, 63 victimes
2013 - 5 mass shootings, 31 victims
2014 - 3 mass shootings, 14 victims
2014 - 5 mass shootings, 31 victims
2015 - 5 mass shootings, 43 victimes
2016 - 5 mass shootings, 70 victims
2017 - 7 mass shootings, 106 victims (due to the horrific Las Vegas incident)
2018 - 9 mass shootings, 72 victims
2019 - 7 mass shootings, 65 victims
2020 - 2 mass shootings, 9 victims
2021 - 6 mass shootings, 43 victims
The Supreme Court
Jordan explained that these banned rifles are in common use. That means the bill wouldn’t stand up in court because the new Supreme Court ruling in Bruen says gun-control laws are only constitutional if the lawmakers can show there is an analogy to a law at the time of the founding of the country.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-FL) said, “Republicans take note: the Supreme Court clearly allowed limitations to weapons in their decisions. Repeating a false hood doesn’t make it true.”
Rep. Chip Roy also said the rifles are in common use and this bill is a gun grab and “everyone knows it.”
You’ll remember in my story here about the cases the Supreme Court vacated and remanded that there is a case on banning assault weapons, so the justices have told the appeals courts that these laws have to be in line with text and history.
“This legislation is as dangerous as it is revealing of the contempt for which the House Democrats hold for the Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court,” said the NSSF’s powerful lobbyist and lawyer, Larry Keane. “Chairman Jerrold Nadler admitted during debate in his committee that he didn’t care the legislation was unconstitutional and defied Supreme Court precedent.”
Behind the scenes:
Pelosi had to game the rules of the House on Friday to get the vote rushed to the floor. She sent this letter to Democrats this morning that references not voting on a bill that funds law enforcement:
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