WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI), along with 123 co-sponsors, today introduced the Assault Weapons Ban of 2015 to prohibit the sale, transfer, production, and importation of new military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines that have become the firearm of choice for many mass shooters in the United States. Cicilline’s legislation also includes new safeguards on the sale or transfer of assault weapons already in circulation.
“Since 2011, the frequency of mass shootings has increased by a factor of three. And according to one study, more than half of all mass shooters used an assault weapon, a gun with a military-style feature, or a high-capacity magazine. The sole purpose of these types of weapons is to kill as many people as quickly as possible,” said Cicilline. “It is unconscionable that we continue to allow military-style weapons to be bought and sold while mass shootings are growing more common. This bill is an important first step that will restore some sanity to the way we treat guns in the United States.”
“Congressman Cicilline’s leadership on the issue of gun violence prevention in our communities has been relentless,” said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “As we push to expand and strengthen background checks and close the loophole that allows suspected terrorists to buy guns, it is essential that we keep assault weapons out of the hands of those who should not have them.”
“There is no place for dangerous, military-style assault weapons on the streets of America,” said House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. “Since the federal assault weapons ban lapsed in 2004, tens of thousands of people have been killed by high-powered, high-capacity firearms in communities across our country. We must take action, and I commend Rep. Cicilline for leading on this critical issue of public safety.”
The Assault Weapons Ban of 2015 will prohibit the sale, transfer, production, and importation of:
- Semi-automatic rifles and handguns with a military-style feature that can accept a detachable magazine;
- Semi-automatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds;
- Semi-automatic shotguns with a military-style feature;
- Any ammunition feeding device that can hold more than 10 rounds;
- And 157 specifically-named and listed firearms.
“Our number one priority is to keep Americans safe, yet every single day we hear about mass shootings devastating our cities and towns. Congress can no longer just offer up thoughts and prayers while it sits on its hands and watches the almost daily reports of gun violence on the evening news – it’s time to act,” said Rep. Steve Israel. “I’m joining Congressman Cicilline in introducing legislation to ban military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines because we need to protect our children and families from more tragic incidences of gun violence.”
“Congress must enact commonsense gun violence prevention efforts that can save lives and stop American communities from being ripped apart,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. “Three years after the tragedy in Newtown, Congress still has not reinstituted the assault weapons ban, allowing more high-capacity guns and magazines to flood our streets. We cannot continue to sit silently while these tragedies take place in American communities.”
The Assault Weapons Ban of 2015 also sets new standards to close the “Charleston Loophole” – the standard that allows firearms dealers to complete a sale if a buyer’s background check is not completed within three days. Between 2010 and 2014, more than 15,000 gun sales were completed to prohibited individuals because their background check was not completed on time. Individuals prohibited from purchasing a gun include felons, domestic abusers, drug users, and those who have been adjudicated mentally ill.
Under the Assault Weapons Ban of 2015, the background check period is extended to 14 days for the sale or transfer of an existing assault weapon. If it is determined that a gun was sold to a prohibited individual, the FBI will be required to notify federal, state, and local law enforcement so the weapon can be retrieved as quickly as possible and the buyer can be held accountable for violating federal law.
Assault weapons were used in attacks last month in San Bernardino and Colorado Springs. Shooters also used them to commit mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, and a community college in Roseburg, Oregon.
“I would like to commend my friend, Congressman David Cicilline, for leading this effort and introducing this life-saving legislation,” said Congresswoman Janice Hahn. “The guns we are talking about today are not for hunting nor for target practice—they are weapons of war. These assault weapons are designed to inflict the maximum amount of death and injury and have no place on our streets. Frankly, we should be ashamed that Congress allowed the original Assault Weapons Ban to expire in the first place.”
“It is critical that we act now to end this epidemic of mass gun violence driven primarily by individuals armed with assault weapons that are designed for combat zones and that have become the tool of choice for domestic terrorists,” added Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, a co-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Taskforce to End Gun Violence.
When an assault weapon or a high-capacity magazine is used in a shooting, the number of victims who are killed increases by 63%. There have been almost 50,000 incidents of gun violence in our country this year. More than 12,000 Americans have lost their lives. More than 3,000 children have been killed or injured.