May 01, 2020

Feinstein Praises Canada for Banning Assault Weapons

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after Canada imposed a ban on military-style assault weapons:

“Canada made the right decision to ban military-style assault weapons in the wake of last month’s deadly rampage. These weapons of war have but one purpose: to kill as many as possible as quickly as possible. They have no place on our streets.

“The United States should follow Canada’s lead and restore our own ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004. The U.S. ban, which was in place from 1994 to 2004, led to a 37 percent decline in gun massacres compared to the decade prior. In the decade after it expired, gun massacres increased by 183 percent. We know from experience that if you get these weapons off the street, you save lives.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee has had the assault weapons ban we introduced ready for debate for 16 months. It would ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and import of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Companion legislation is currently moving in the House, but Republicans and the National Rifle Association continue to block our bill from advancing in the Senate.

“Canada took bold action after a deadly tragedy. Australia and New Zealand previously banned assault weapons after their own massacres. Yet here in the United States, we refuse to act despite 85 mass shootings since the ban expired. That’s a sad state of affairs, and it’s time we took action to change it.”

Key provisions of Senator Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Ban of 2019:

  • 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.

Updates to Assault Weapons Ban of 2017:

  • Bans stocks that are “otherwise foldable or adjustable in a manner that operates to reduce the length, size, or any other dimension, or otherwise enhances the concealability of a firearm.”
  • Bans assault pistols that weigh 50 or more ounces when unloaded, a policy included in the original 1994 ban.
  • Bans assault pistol stabilizing braces that transform assault pistols into assault rifles by allowing the shooter to shoulder the weapon and fire more accurately.
  • Bans Thordsen-type grips and stocks that are designed to evade a ban on assault weapons.
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