On the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on NYRPSA v. Bruen, the House of Representatives passed a bill attempting another Assault Weapons Ban.
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What brought about this renewed passion for banning so-called “assault weapons?”
The 2022 AWB appeared as the result of a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in 2022. It made its way to the floor of the House of Representatives and passed 217-213, almost completely along party lines.
Is this a big deal? Sort of. But don’t go grabbing that pitchfork just yet.
We’ve looked at the bill and will go over exactly what it covers, how we got here, and just how worked up you should be over this.
So, keep reading to learn more…
Disclaimer: While the information provided here is legal in nature, it is not to be construed as legal advice and is for educational and entertainment purposes only.
Table of Contents
What is the Assault Weapons Ban?
The Assault Weapons Ban is a 2022 version of a similar assault weapons ban signed into law in 1994.
Like the 1994 AWB, the new bill will make it illegal to import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess a “semi-automatic assault weapon” or “large capacity ammunition feeding device.”
But how are “assault weapons” defined? Well, I hope you’re sitting down because it’s quite a list…
As defined in the bill, an “assault weapon” includes:
- A semi-automatic rifle that has a detachable magazine and one of a:
- Pistol grip
- Forward grip
- Folding/telescoping/detachable stock
- Grenade launcher
- Barrel shroud; or
- Threaded barrel
- A semi-automatic rifle with a fixed ammunition feeding device that can accept more than 15 rounds
Rifles with attached tubular devices that can only accept and use .22 rimfire ammo are not included in this definition.
A semi-automatic pistol that has a detachable magazine and one of the following:
- Threaded barrel
- Second pistol grip
- Barrel shroud
- Detachable magazine outside the pistol grip
- Buffer tube, stabilizing brace, or similar device that protrudes horizontally behind the pistol grip
- Semi-automatic version of an automatic firearm; or
- Manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when unloaded
- A semi-automatic pistol with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 15 rounds.
Any belt-fed semi-automatic firearms include the FN M2495.
Any combination of parts from the firearms described above and the frame or receiver of a rifle or shotgun or the previously described firearms.
Makes & Models Outlawed Under the Assault Weapons Ban
The bill also lists literal pages of rifles, pistols, and shotguns banning all “copies, duplicates, variants, or altered facsimiles with the capability of the listed firearms.”
Anyone interested in the entire list, feel free to check out the bill’s actual text for yourself.
For those of you with better things to do, we’ve included a couple of the more common types here just to give you a sense of what is banned under the bill:
- AK types, including
- AK-47, AK-74, AKM
- AR-type firearms, including
- Daniel Defense M4A1 series
- DPMS tactical rifles
- Mossberg MMR tactical rifles
- POF USA P415
- Sig Sauer SIG516 rifles and MCX rifles
- Smith and Wesson M&P15 rifles
- Stag Arms AR rifles
- FN FAL
- Kel-Tec Sub-2000, SU-16, and RFB
- Steyr AUG
- All Thompson rifles
- UZI Mini Carbine
- AK types, including
- CZ Scorpion pistol
- Mini Draco AK-47 pistol
- AR types, including
- Daniel Defense MK18 pistol
- DPMS AR-15 pistol
- POF USA AR pistol
- Kel-Tec PLR 16 pistol
- All MAC types, including MAC-10 and MAC-11
- Sig Sauer P556 pistol
- All Thompson types
- All UZI types
- Al Izhmash Saiga 12 types
- Striker 12
Large Capacity Magazines
The AWB didn’t forget about the magazine size restrictions either.
It also bans any magazine, belt, drum, or strip that can accept or be converted to accept more than 15 rounds of ammo.
Just like before, “tubular devices operating only with .22 caliber rimfire ammunition” are exempted.
Are There Loopholes?
Fortunately, some exemptions under this bill do not have to do with .22 caliber ammo.
Firearms that don’t fall under the “assault weapon” definition include:
- Any firearms that are manually operated by bolt, pump, lever, or slide action (except for shotguns)
- Firearms only capable of firing rimfire ammo; and
- Antique firearms.
There’s also a section on “grandfathered” firearms and “ammunition feeding devices.”
That isn’t actually a loophole but more or less a nod to the Constitution which prohibits ex post facto laws — that is, no laws can retroactively make something illegal that was legal before the law was passed.
In this case, if the AWB bill were to be signed into law, any firearms and magazines you already legally owned before the signing would continue to be legally owned. These guns could not retroactively be made illegal.
But it would be illegal to buy and own additional “assault weapons” and “large capacity” mags.
1994 Assault Weapons Ban vs. 2022 Assault Weapons Ban
This latest bill from the House is almost identical to the AWB signed into law in 1994 by President Clinton.
There are a couple of changes this time around, though, and unfortunately, none of it is for the better.
The 1994 AWB also provided definitions very similar to the current bill, but instead of a semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine and one “evil” feature like the current bill requires, the law required two of the scary features to be present on the rifle for it to be considered illegal.
The same change was made to pistols and shotguns as well.
This means that under this bill, even having one of the listed “evil” features would qualify a firearm as an “assault weapon.”
What’s more, this current bill requires identification markings on all “assault weapons” and “large capacity ammunition feeding devices” that are manufactured after the date the bill would go into effect.
This requirement wasn’t in the 1994 AWB, so it was sometimes difficult to determine if someone already owned the banned items or somehow managed to get their hands on them after the law went into effect.
Most importantly, the 1994 AWB had a sunset provision that caused the law to automatically expire after 10 years.
That’s probably why you felt a wave of calm pass over you sometime in 2004, as the law expired on its own.
This current bill doesn’t have a sunset provision and, if passed into law, would never expire!
What Does the Assault Weapons Ban Mean for Gun Owners
Fortunately, it’s not quite time to bust out those pitchforks just yet.
In case you’re a little rusty on your Schoolhouse Rock, don’t forget that this is still just a bill sitting on Capitol Hill.
Although the bill passed in the House, it (or a similar version) will still need to be passed in the Senate.
In the House, the bill squeaked by with a razor-thin majority, but the Senate requires at least 60 votes to pass rather than a simple majority.
Even if the bill were to somehow pass in the Senate and be signed into law, any “assault weapons” and “large capacity ammunition feeding devices” that were legally owned now would continue to be legal to own.
However, things may not be as dire as they seem because of two important differences this time around.
First — as mentioned by our friends at the National Shooting Sports Foundation in their statement against the bill — after 10 years of the AWB, the CDC conducted a study that found the assault weapons ban didn’t actually reduce crime.
Secondly, and more importantly, back when the AWB passed in 1994, we did not have the NYSRPA v Bruen decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Under the Bruen ruling, even if the bill were to be signed into law, there would be a very strong case of it being unconstitutional. Semi-automatic firearms are commonly used firearms for all sorts of perfectly legal purposes and have been for decades.
Because of Bruen, there would need to be historical evidence of banning the purchase and possession of these commonly used firearms and magazines to support the firearms ban of this bill.
So, what’s next? Well, right now…nothing. The way it stands, the bill likely won’t garner enough votes to pass the Senate.
Even if it’s not likely to make its way through the Senate, the fact the bill passed in the House did raise some eyebrows. With the recent “gun safety” law, legislators might be encouraged to continue to try and pass more anti-gun legislation.
So, what can you do to help? Help out with local 2A groups or even national groups that regularly challenge gun laws – such as the Gun Owners of America, Second Amendment Foundation, and Firearms Policy Coalition.
And yes, it never hurts to buy another gun. Just sayin’…
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What do you think of the assault weapons ban? Let us know in the comments below. Want to stock up? We have the deets on the best pistols, AR-15s, and home defense shotguns.