Hoping to capitalize on tragedy, ignorance, and hysteria, 174 opportunistic anti-gun Democrats – led by Rep. David N. Cicillinie (RI) – introduced legislation last week proposing perhaps the most sweeping gun ban in U.S. history. The bill, H.R. 5087, is dubbed the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2018.” Yet its scope is so vast, and its drafting so poorly executed, that that the only semiautomatic firearms it clearly doesn’t reach are those listed in an appendix of what the authors consider permissible guns (many of which will be unknown or unavailable to the average consumer, if they’re available at all).
The bill would ban firearms by name, “type,” and generic formulae. Rifles and pistols would be included if they are semiautomatic, can accept a detachable magazine, and have – or perhaps merely can accept – any of various listed features. Semiautomatic shotguns would need only one listed feature to be banned.
The disqualifying features include threaded barrels. All pistol grips and folding, telescoping, and detachable stocks would be prohibited without limitation. This may mean, although it’s not clear, that only straight stocks would be permissible on semiautomatic long guns.
Any firearm magazine that has a capacity of more than 10 rounds, or that can be “changed” to accept more than 10 rounds, would also be banned.
How some models or features made the cut and others didn’t is a mystery to anyone with the most elementary knowledge of firearms technology. Clearly, however, two of America’s most popular defensive firearms – the AR-15 and the Glock 17 – would be prohibited under the Act. The former is banned by name (“[a]ll AR types”) and the latter as a “semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm” (i.e., the Glock 18). That alone puts the bill at odds with existing Supreme Court precedent, which makes clear the Second Amendment protects the sorts of firearms in common use for lawful purposes.
So what wouldn’t be banned? Well, the Cabanas Phaser Rifle would still theoretically be available, as would the Russian made TOZ Model H–170. Yet it’s cold comfort to one who loses his horse to be told he can have a unicorn. Other exempted firearms are more common, but the emphasis – again clearly contrary to Supreme Court precedent – is on models used for hunting, competition, or recreation, rather than for personal defense.
People who have the banned firearms could keep them, but they could only be transferred or loaned to others through an FFL. Firearms borrowed at a range would have to be “kept within the premises of the … facility” at “all times,” perhaps suggesting that the only guns that could be used by multiple people at a range would have to belong to the facility itself and be kept on site.
Bans of this sort are among the gun control lobby’s most ambitious efforts, but even staunch gun control advocates admit they are the least likely to materially contribute to public safety.
The logic of gun control, however, demands that the innocent must be punished for crimes they didn’t commit. And you can be sure that as expansive as H.R. 5087 is, its proponents see it only as a “good step in the right direction” on a road that inexorably leads to the end of your right to armed self-defense.
That’s why your U.S. Senators and Congressional Representative need to hear from you TODAY. Please tell them you, as a law-abiding gun owner, do not accept the blame for the criminal acts of a deranged individual. Please tell them your fundamental rights are non-negotiable. Most of all, please tell them not to trade real Second Amendment rights for the false promises of gun control. And finally, please tell them that you, and millions of fellow NRA members like you, will hold them accountable for their decisions at the ballot box. To identify and contact your legislators in Washington, D.C., you can use our "Write Your Reps" feature or you can reach your member of Congress by phone at 202-224-3121.