Senate Democrats are trying to pass a bill to ban assault rifles, and here’s what you should know

Steph Barnes
Senate Democrats are trying to pass a bill to ban assault rifles, and here’s what you should know

On Sunday, November 5th, a gunman wearing all black, covered in body armor, and holding a military-style rifle in his hands approached the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs in Texas and opened fire. A least 26 people were killed and many more injured. In light of another tragic mass shooting, Senate Democrats are moving to ban assault weapons and any device that can modify semi-automatic weapons to function as automatic weapons by simulating quicker fire.

The incident in Sutherland Springs marked the 307th mass shooting in 2017 alone, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. We are already 312 days into the year, which averages to just about one mass shooting a day.

The Hill reports that Senator Dianne Feinstein and roughly two dozen other Democrats introduced legislation on Wednesday, November 8th, that would ban assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines, and bump stocks (an attachment that enables a semiautomatic rifle to fire faster).

After the mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas last month, where nearly 60 people were killed and more than 500 were injured, lawmakers have not only been focusing on the guns themselves but on gun accessories. Why? Because authorities discovered that a dozen of the rifles used by the suspect, Stephen Paddock, had been modified with bump stocks.

”We’re introducing an updated Assault Weapons Ban for one reason: so that after every mass shooting with a military-style assault weapon, the American people will know that a tool to reduce these massacres is sitting in the Senate, ready for debate and a vote,” Feinstein said in a statement.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of an assault weapons ban. Back in 1994, Congress passed a similar law, but that legislation expired in 2004. The current proposed legislation would ban the sale, production, and transfer of military-style assault weapons (though current owners would still be able to keep the ones they already have). Magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition would also be banned under this new legislation.

Additionally, the bill would require a background check on any future trade or sale of an assault weapon covered by the legislation and require that any guns grandfathered under the bill be securely stored.

We’ll be monitoring the progress of this particular bill closely, and are hoping common sense prevails when it comes to these dangerous and unnecessary weapons and accessories.