Controversial ‘Assault Weapon’ Bans on the Move
Two states have lawmakers that are gathering behind bans on guns they deem “assault weapons” but are actually just common semi-autos. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
Democrats in Arizona and Virginia are pushing legislation that would outlaw many common semi-auto firearms and their magazines.
In the Grand Canyon State, Arizona Senate Bill SB1625 was introduced last week and aims to not only ban the sale of most popular semi-auto firearms and magazines but would also require registration of those already in circulation. Violators could be charged with as high as a Class 4 felony, which is punishable up to 3.75 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
The measure’s primary sponsor is state Sen. Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix, who is among a dozen Dems backing the proposal. It makes an exception for guns used by police, government employees and the military.
State gun rights groups, such as the Arizona Citizens Defense League, have derided the measure as a threat to the Second Amendment.
“The bill is designed to be an egregious threat to our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and is similar to bills introduced across the nation,” said the group Tuesday in a statement. “The language of the bill is so broad that nearly all semi-automatic firearms ever produced would be covered, as well as any ammunition feeding device ‘with the capacity to accept more than ten rounds’, which, again, means pretty much all of them.”
The Arizona State Legislature is dominated by Republicans, but that control is narrow with the GOP holding a two-seat lead in the state House and a four-seat lead in the state Senate.
Meeting a deadline for crossover to the state Senate, the Democrat-controlled Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday voted 51-48 to pass House Bill 961. While all 45 Republicans in the body, as well as three Dems who crossed the aisle, voted against the bill, it still squeaked through despite stout opposition.
The bill, which bans the sale of many semi-autos and magazines capable of holding more than 12 cartridges as well as future commercial sales of suppressors, now heads to the legislature’s upper chamber and consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Dems control the Senate 21-19 and have already green-lighted five anti-gun bills so far this session.
While the ban measure had been watered down by a House committee last week, it still has more teeth than what Second Amendment groups prefer, which is none.
“Though the committee amended the bill to allow citizens to keep currently owned firearms and suppressors, confiscation is undoubtedly still the end goal,” warned the NRA in a statement.
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