DeGette sponsors legislation to ban military-style assault weapons

Feb 15, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) sponsored legislation filed today to ban the sale, manufacture or possession of any new military-style assault weapons.

The legislation – known as the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 (H.R.1296) – would ban 205 specific firearms by name, including the AK47 and AR-15 assault rifles. It would also ban any semi-automatic rifle, pistol or shotgun that accepts a detachable magazine and has one or more “military-style” features, such as a pistol grip, threaded barrel or folding stock.

“With Democrats once again in control of the House, now is the time to enact commonsense gun safety legislation,” DeGette said. “We can’t allow what happened in Aurora, or Columbine, or Parkland, or Newtown, or Las Vegas, to ever happen again. We need to get these assault weapons off of our streets and we need to do it now.”

The bill seeks to ban the military-style assault weapons that have been used in some of the nation’s most high-profile mass shootings, such as the AR-15 rifle used by the shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, the Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle used in Aurora, Colorado, and the Sig Sauer MCX used at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.

Specifically, the legislation prohibits the sale, transfer, production, and importation of:

  • Semi-automatic rifles and pistols with a military-style feature that can accept a detachable magazine;
  • Semi-automatic rifles with a fixed magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds;
  • Semi-automatic shotguns with a military-style feature;
  • Any ammunition feeding device that can hold more than 10 rounds;
  • And 205 specifically-named and listed firearms.

The legislation, however, would not ban the sale, possession or transfer of any semiautomatic weapon that’s lawfully possessed before the bill is signed into law.

Research shows that when a shooter uses a military-style assault weapon or a high-capacity magazine that holds more than 10 rounds to carry out one of these horrific attacks, the number of victims who are killed increases substantially.

In 1994, Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which prohibited the manufacturing of 18 specific semiautomatic weapons, along with the manufacturing of high-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. That ban, however, expired in 2004 – and Congress has, so far, failed to reenact it.

A 2004 study found that gun crimes involving assault weapons declined by as much as 72 percent while the ban was in effect. Another study found that in the 10 years immediately after the ban expired, mass shootings that resulted in the deaths of six or more people increased by 183 percent.

The Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 is co-sponsored by 190 members of the U.S. House. It is endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Center for American Progress, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, March for Our Lives, Newtown Action Alliance, NoRA, and Everytown for Gun Safety.