On Thursday March 11, 2021, press releases from the offices of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) announced the introduction of the” Assault Weapons Ban of 2021” –
“…a bill to “ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, like were used in the massacre in Dayton, Ohio, where the shooter had a 100-round magazine attached to an assault rifle.”
Citing a rise in domestic terrorism, Senator Feinstein offered this: “To be clear, this bill saves lives.” Not to be outdone, Congressman Cicilline added: “[b]anning these weapons will make our cities and towns safer and more secure and help to reduce gun deaths.”
Among other things, under the Assault Weapons Ban:
- It will be unlawful to import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, a semiautomatic assault weapon, unless already owned legally on the date this bill is enacted into law, i.e., grandfathered semiautomatic assault weapon. The bill defines a “semiautomatic assault weapon” to mean certain semiautomatic pistols, semiautomatic rifles, and semiautomatic shotguns that meet defined characteristics (not set forth here).
- It will be unlawful for a person to import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, a large capacity ammunition feeding device, unless already owned legally on the date this bill is enacted into law, i.e., grandfathered. The bill defines a large capacity ammunition feeding device to mean “a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device, including any such device joined or coupled with another in any manner, that has an overall capacity of, or that can be readily restored, changed, or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition.” There is an exception for a device that is capable of operating only with .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.
Appendix A to the bill exempts by name thousands of guns identified under the following categories:
(1) Centerfire Rifles – Autoloaders,
(2) Centerfire Rifles – Lever & Slide,
(3) Centerfire Rifles – Bolt Action,
(4) Centerfire Rifles –Single Shot,
(5) Drillings, Combination Guns and Double Rifles,
(6) Rimfire Rifles – Autoloaders,
(7) Rimfire Rifles – Lever & Slide Action,
(8) Rimfire Rifles – Bolt Actions & Single Shots,
(9) Competition Rifles – Centerfire & Rimfire,
(10) Shotguns – Autoloaders,
(11) Shotguns – Slide Actions,
(12) Shotguns – Over/Unders, and
(13) Shotguns – Bolt Actions and Single Shots.
But if you look for the AR-15 under one of these exempted listings, you won’t find it! This bill bans by name many types of guns, including AR-15- and AK-47 models.
Since the House recently passed H.R.8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 and H.R.1446, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021, Senator Feinstein is very hopeful that the Senate will get in the game and finally pass “commonsense gun reforms.” H.R. 8 is expected to be debated soon in the Senate. Even though H.R. 8 passed in the House with the support of eight (8) Republicans, we will see if it really has bipartisan support in the Senate. It remains to be seen whether the Republicans in the Senate filibuster not only H.R. 8, but the “Assault Weapons Ban Act of 2021” as well.