November 07, 2017

Duckworth Helps Introduce Legislation to Ban Assault Weapons


[WASHINGTON] - U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and 21 colleagues today to introduce the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017, a bill to ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons like the one used over the weekend in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Last month, Duckworth also co-sponsored legislation to close the "bump stock" loophole exploited by the Las Vegas shooter that allows firearms to be fired at the rate of fully-automatic weapons, which have been illegal for more than 30 years.

"As mass shootings become more frequent and more deadly, Congress cannot simply hold another moment of silence without action - and we cannot continue to stand by while our siblings, parents and children get mowed down in their churches, at their schools and when they are just going about their daily lives," Senator Duckworth said. "I don't want my daughter to have to grow up in a country that won't protect her from firearm violence - and I refuse to accept that there's nothing we can do. People are dying and Congress has not only the power, but also the duty to act by passing common-sense solutions like this one. We owe it to the countless and growing number of firearm violence victims to take action, not just deliver thoughts and prayers."

Other cosponsors include Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tom Carper (D-DE), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Al Franken (D-MN), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Bob Casey (D-PA).

Last year, Duckworth participated in the historic 25-hour sit-in on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives demanding a vote on legislation to prevent gun violence. She and Durbin also introduced legislation last year to secure so-called "soft" targets that make easy marks for would-be terrorists and mass shooters. That legislation would have directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide help local governments and non-governmental soft targets develop active shooter and mass casualty energy action and response plans. Additionally, she and Durbin have introduced legislation to institute universal background checks, strengthen the background check system, close the gun show loophole, crack down on gun trafficking and straw purchasers, ban assault weapons that are more suited for war than for civilian use, limit the sale of high-capacity magazines that increase the number of people an active shooter can kill or injure, and ensure that individuals on the terrorist watch-list are not able to purchase weapons legally.

Key provisions of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017

· Bans the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons by name. Owners may keep existing weapons.

· Bans any assault weapon that accepts a detachable ammunition magazine and has one or more military characteristics including a pistol grip, a forward grip, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel or a folding or telescoping stock. Owners may keep existing weapons.

· Bans magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, which allow shooters to quickly fire many rounds without needing to reload. Owners may keep existing magazines.

Exemptions to bill

· The bill exempts by name more than 2,200 guns for hunting, household defense or recreational purposes.

· The bill includes a grandfather clause that exempts all weapons lawfully possessed at the date of enactment.

Other provisions

· Requires a background check on any future sale, trade or gifting of an assault weapon covered by the bill.

· Requires that grandfathered assault weapons are stored using a secure gun storage or safety device like a trigger lock.

· Prohibits the transfer of high-capacity ammunition magazines.

· Bans bump-fire stocks and other devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at fully automatic rates.