WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress passed one of the biggest gun reform bills in decades just a couple of weeks ago. Now, Democratic members are pushing for more gun reform. They’re eyeing a ban on assault-style rifles.
Democratic members cited recent mass shootings like Uvalde, Texas, Buffalo, New York and Highland Park, Illinois where assault-style rifles were used. Members said these types of guns should not belong to civilians.
“We are serious in saying we can do better, America must do better,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D- IL). “It is inexcusable, unacceptable, un-American for us to sell combat weapons to a man like the shooter in Highland Park. There is no excuse, there is no second amendment excuse to allow that sort of thing to happen.”
Locals from Highland Park, Illinois, were at the Capitol testifying in a Senate hearing on preventing mass murders. Officials said a shooter used an AR-style rifle and open fired on a crowd at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, killing seven people and injured many more. Democratic members in both chambers are pushing for a ban on assault-style rifles and in a House committee, they even looked at a bill that would do exactly that. However, Republicans are heavily against this idea.
“These bans would be ineffective and not consistent with the right of self-defense,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R- IA). “A 2004 Department of Justice study concluded that after ten years of an assault weapon ban there was not statistically significant evidence that banning assault weapons reduced gun murders.”
At one point in our history the U.S. did have an AR-style rifle ban. Following a series of shootings in California, Congress in 1994 enacted a federal assault weapon ban but it was passed with a ten year “sunset provision” which means that ban expired in 2004 but congress did not reauthorize the ban. Looking at the recent bipartisan, bicameral gun reform legislation President Biden signed into law, Democrats pushed for an assault-style rifle ban to be included in that legislation but that’s one of the areas Republicans drew the line at. Even though there’s this renewed push on banning automatic and semi-automatic rifles among Democrats, if that House bill makes it into the Senate it’s likely to fail.