January 15th, 2019

New “Assault Weapons” Ban Introduced in Congress

Assault Weapon ban 2019 Dianne Feinstein California democratic house congress NSSF NRA MSR ar15

Last week, lame duck U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) revived her crusade to ban semi-automatic rifles along with all magazines holding more than ten (10) rounds. Feinstein’s new legislation, the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2019″, would ban “the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons by name.” Also included would be certain firearms that accept “a detachable ammunition magazine and [have] one or more military characteristics including a pistol grip, a forward grip, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel or a folding or telescoping stock.” The federal legislation would also outlaw a variety of adjustable stocks plus stabilizing braces for pistols. Magazines would be banned if they “hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition”.

Feinstein and lead co-sponsors Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) say their legislation is needed to end mass shootings and “rid the streets” of “military grade weaponry”.

Assault Weapon ban 2019 Dianne Feinstein California democratic house congress NSSF NRA MSR ar15

However, it is unclear that this sweeping gun ban would have any significant effects, other than restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. According to the NRA-ILA: “The firearms the bill targets are … the most popular class of centerfire rifles in America, with some 16 million having entered then stream of commerce in the U.S. since the previous national ban expired in 2004. Law-abiding Americans use them for every type of lawful purpose, including personal and home defense, hunting, marksmanship competitions, and recreational target practice.”

Semi-Auto Rifles Are Rarely Used in Crimes
The NRA-ILA states: “While law-abiding Americans have adopted semiautomatic rifles in droves, they are not the firearm of choice for violent criminals. Year after year, the FBI’s statistics tell a consistent story: rifles of any sort are used less often as a murder weapon than other types of common firearms, as well as knives and cutting instruments, clubs and other blunt objects, and even hands, fists, and feet. Feinstein’s bill would ban firearms that are actually under-represented in nationwide violent crime trends.

The NSSF Opposes Sen. Feinstein’s Latest Gun Control Bill:

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms and ammunition, today announced that it opposes the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 introduced in the U.S. Senate[.]

The legislation introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, like earlier versions, relies on wrongfully defining commonly-owned semi-automatic rifles based on certain cosmetic features. The new version of this legislation, however, expands ways to ban the most-popular center-fire rifle in America. Since the original Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004, more than 16 million of these rifles have been legally purchased for lawful purposes.

“It is disappointing to see politicians continue to pursue a failed policy agenda that has proven ineffective in improving public safety and will deny law-abiding citizens their Constitutional right,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel. “Despite what proponents may say, the record shows that Sen. Feinstein’s original 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban had no demonstrable impact on reducing crime and this one would be equally ineffective.”

Since the original ban, firearms ownership has increased while the criminal misuse of firearms has steadily dropped. FBI crime statistics demonstrate there is no justification for banning modern sporting rifles. Senator Feinstein continues to mislead the American public by demonizing semi-automatic rifles based on external, cosmetic features that have no bearing on the function of a firearm[.]

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October 14th, 2011

California Governor Signs Bills Mandating Long-Gun Registration and Banning Open Carry

Dark Day for 2nd Amendment Rights
California Governor Jerry Brown acted on several firearms-related bills on Sunday, October 9th. Gov. Brown waited until literally the last hour on Sunday to act on firearms-related legislation sent to his desk this session. Several anti-gun and anti-industry bills were signed into law, including long-gun registration. “Sadly, the steady erosion of the Second Amendment in California continues,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “Gov. Brown has now proven that he no more respects freedom and the individual right protected by the Second Amendment than his predecessor. These bills will increase costs for the taxpayer and the state’s retailers, most of whom are small mom-and-pop businesses. It will cost the state jobs and tax revenue, all the while doing absolutely nothing to reduce crime.” Below are summaries of the gun-related bills signed into law by Gov. Brown:

AB 809 (Feuer, Democrat, West Hollywood): Long-gun registration: SIGNED INTO LAW. In a nutshell, AB 809 mandates long-gun registration, starting January 1st, 2014. The bill does this, essentially, by treating long guns the same as handguns. The bill requires FFLs to make long gun sales information available to the California Dept. of Justice, and imposes new requirements on persons bringing long guns into the state. AB 809 also burdens “peace officers” with responsibilities for the compilation and retention of long-gun information.

SB 819 (Leno, Democrat, San Francisco): SIGNED INTO LAW. This bill allows the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to use Dealer Record of Sales (DROS) funds for purposes unrelated to administration of background checks. There is currently a lawsuit pending that challenges the past misuse/misappropriation of these funds by the DOJ. The DROS fee now becomes a sanctioned revenue stream for the DOJ.

AB 144 (Portantino, Democrat, La Canada): SIGNED INTO LAW. This bill bans open carry in the state. This revokes a long-standing right of California citizens that has been in effect for more than a century. The bill would make it a misdemeanor to openly carry an unloaded handgun on the person or in a motor vehicle in public areas and would make it a misdemeanor to openly carry an exposed handgun in a public place or public street. Existing laws otherwise ban open carry of loaded handguns and ban concealed carry without a permit — something virtually impossible to obtain in many California Counties.

SB 610 (Wright, Democrat, So. Central Los Angeles): SIGNED INTO LAW. This bill, which modifies the state’s concealed-carry application process, may actually benefit CCW applicants in a modest fashion. First, the bill provides that no concealed carry applicant would be required to obtain liability insurance as a condition of the license. This bill also provides that the applicant would not be required to pay for training courses prior to a determination of good cause being made.

Brown Vetoes Vague Ammo Registration Bill
One source of good news was Gov. Brown’s veto of SB 427 (De Leon, Democrat). This was sort of a re-run of an earlier bill (“handgun ammunition registration”) that Gov. Schwarzenegger signed into law. That statute was successfully challenged in court as unconstitutionally vague. The case is on appeal. DeLeon’s revived bill required registration of specified calibers but also contained vague language regarding “handgun ammunition.” In vetoing the bill for now, the governor said, “Let’s keep our powder dry on amendments until the court case runs its course”.

Photo of Gov. Jerry Brown by Phil Konstantin.
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