On September 19, Congressman Chris Jacobs (D-New York) introduced legislation that would require a license to own some of the most popular semi-automatic rifles, such as the AR-15 and AK-47, that many politicians have labeled “assault weapons.” The Federal Assault Weapons Licensing Act comes on the heels of the House of Representatives’ passage of HR 1808, or the Assault Weapons Ban, which is likely to fail the Senate chamber’s 60-vote threshold.

The Federal Assault Weapons Licensing Act

After the Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, mass shootings, gun-control advocates have looked for legislative solutions to end so-called “gun violence” plaguing the United States. This, however, inadvertently takes popular sporting and self-defense rifles out of the hands of law-abiding citizens, not criminals. With the likelihood of the Assault Weapons Ban failing in the Senate, Congressman Chris Jacobs has introduced HR 8882 in the House of Representatives stating, “my bill will better ensure these guns do not fall into the wrong hands, while still protecting Americans’ ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights.” Semi-automatic rifles acquired before the possible passage of this bill will be “grandfathered in.”

This bill will create a new licensing system for any American wanting to purchase a semi-automatic rifle with a high-capacity magazine. The licensing process, similar to the concealed carry permit process, would include:

  • A mandatory safety course
  • Passage of an FBI background check
  • Submission of fingerprints
  • Proof of identity
  • A $130 fee to the Department of Justice
  • Renewal of the permit every 5 years

The bill does include some exemptions, such as individuals already in possession of these weapons, law enforcement officers and active-duty military. If an individual does not have a license, he or she is permitted to use these weapons at a shooting range or for hunting purposes if they are supervised by a license holder.

What Is Considered an ‘Assault Weapon?’

For the purposes of this bill, an “assault weapon” is defined as a semi-automatic rifle that has a magazine that is not a fixed magazine and any of the following:

  • A pistol grip
  • A forward grip
  • A folding, telescoping or detachable stock, or is otherwise foldable or adjustable in a manner that operates to reduce the length, size or any other dimension, or otherwise enhances the concealability of the weapon.
  • A grenade launcher
  • A barrel shroud
  • A semi-automatic rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 15 rounds, except for an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition
  • Any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic firearm but not convert the semi-automatic firearm into a machinegun

The bill has an entire list of firearms that would be included in the licensing program.

How You Can Impact Gun Laws

The fundamental, natural-born right to defend yourself and your family should not be subject to what the federal government deems “acceptable” for private-civilian use. The arbitrary label “assault weapon” was created and perpetuated by anti-gun politicians and media. Guns are inanimate objects and do not possess the ability to hurt people on their own. New gun laws and restrictions do not make people safer — firearms training and passing legislation like National Concealed Carry reciprocity make people safer. We continue to urge Congress to protect, not penalize, law-abiding gun owners. Call or email your representatives and let them know what you think of this bill.