Today, the United States House of Representatives voted on a gun-control bill, HR 1808, advancing it to the Senate where it is unlikely to pass the 60-vote threshold in the evenly divided chamber. HR 1808 is a more aggressive, but similar bill that was passed nearly two decades ago in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, also led by then-Senator Joe Biden, banning most semi-automatic rifles with high-capacity magazines. That bill had a sunset clause that lifted the ban in 2004, making it legal to purchase these firearms once again.

Semi-Automatic “Assault Weapons” Ban

HR 1808 was introduced in the House by Rep. David N. Cicilline (D – Rhode Island) and co-sponsored by 211 other members of the House back in March of 2021. The bill sat for over a year with no advancements, until gun-control rhetoric came to the forefront of congressional discussions after the Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, mass shootings. HR 1808 passed the House Judiciary Committee by a 25-18 party-line vote, moving it to the House floor for the full vote.

HR 1808 effectively bans some of the most popular and commonly used firearms in today’s households, such as the AR-15 and AK-47. Components of the bill would make it unlawful for a person to import, sell, manufacture or transfer the following:

  • All semi-automatic rifles that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one of the following military features: pistol grip; forward grip; folding, telescoping or detachable stock; grenade launcher; barrel shroud; or threaded barrel
  • All semi-automatic rifles that have a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds
  • Bump-fire stocks and 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 rifle but not convert the semi-automatic rifle into a machinegun.
  • All semi-automatic pistols that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one of the following military features: threaded barrel; second pistol grip; barrel shroud; capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip; or semi-automatic version of an automatic firearm
  • All semi-automatic shotguns that have at least one of the following: a folding, telescoping or detachable stock; pistol grip; fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than five rounds; ability to accept a detachable magazine; forward grip; grenade launcher; or shotgun with a revolving cylinder
  • High-capacity feeding devices (magazines, strips and drums) capable of accepting more than 10 rounds

The bill would permit the continued possession, sale or transfer of a grandfathered semi-automatic weapon — a firearm of this description that was purchased or possessed before the passage of this bill. A licensed gun dealer would have to conduct a background check prior to the sale or transfer of a grandfathered semi-automatic weapon between private parties.

How You Can Make a Difference

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 Senate representatives and let them know what you think of these bills.