The arguably unconstitutional ban on so-called “assault weapons” recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives is a lot worse than most people are aware. That’s because the measure is nearly 14,000 words long, and most of it is based on sheer ignorance, so digging through the entire document to see what is hidden inside is actually disheartening.
Here’s a brief look at five things in H.R. 1808 that you might not have been aware were included in the legislation.
The criteria used for banning rifles are ignorant and nonsensical. The measure purports to ban “military-style” weapons, although all of the guns banned by the bill fire only one round with a single pull of the trigger like all semi-automatics. Our military, as well as most militaries of the rest of the world, equip their soldiers with rifles capable of fully-automatic fire. And the alleged “military” features that can cause your gun to be banned include the capacity to accept a detachable magazine, along with one of the following: a pistol grip (certainly not uniquely military), a forward grip (doesn’t make it any more “deadly”), an adjustable stock (why is it bad to be able to make your gun fit you correctly?), a grenade launcher (which is actually an NFA item, subject to strict controls, as are any explosive grenades one may want to use with the launcher), a barrel shroud or a threaded barrel (so much for hearing protection).
The measure also bans many firearms by name, not just criteria. It bans all AK-type rifles and lists 28 specific models by name. It also covers “AR types,” and went on to list dozens of different rifles by name or manufacturer that would be banned. When you consider several entries that include all of a company’s semi-automatic rifles, like “Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Rifles” and “Stag Arms AR Rifles,” the list grows to literally hundreds. Also banned by the measure are a long list of semi-automatic rifles that are not ARs, including the Beretta CX4 Storm, Ruger Mini-14 and more than 60 other models. Lastly, it bans all AK and AR pistols.
The legislation bans many pistols and shotguns, too. It bans “any semiautomatic pistol that has an ammunition feeding device that is not a fixed ammunition feeding device” and has one of the following: A threaded barrel, a second pistol grip, a barrel shroud, the capacity to accept a detachable ammunition feeding device at some location outside of the pistol grip, a semi-automatic version of an automatic firearm, a manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when unloaded, or a buffer tube, stabilizing brace or similar component that protrudes horizontally behind the pistol grip, and is designed or redesigned to allow or facilitate a firearm to be fired from the shoulder. It also bans any semi-automatic shotgun that “has the capacity to accept a detachable ammunition feeding device or a fixed ammunition feeding device that has the capacity to accept more than 5 rounds,” along with any one of the following: a folding, telescoping or detachable stock, a pistol grip or bird's head grip, a forward grip or a grenade launcher. It even bans any shotgun with a revolving cylinder; a type of shotgun that is fairly rare, and even more rarely, if ever, used to commit violent crime.
The legislation also bans common, standard-capacity magazines. It specifically bans what it calls “large capacity ammunition feeding devices,” and defines the term as “a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device, including any such device joined or coupled with another in any manner, that has an overall capacity of, or that can be readily restored, changed, or converted to accept, more than 15 rounds of ammunition.” This important portion of the measure has been largely unreported by those in the so-called “mainstream” media.
The authors of the bill knew that much of it is unconstitutional—especially since more than 24 million AR-15-type rifles are owned by American citizens—but pushed the measure through anyway. Proof of that prior knowledge can be found in one section toward the end of the bill that features this clumsy disclaimer: “If any provision of this Act, an amendment made by this Act, or the application of such provision or amendment to any person or circumstance is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of the Act, the amendments made by this Act, and the application of such provision or amendment to any person or circumstance shall not be affected thereby.”
Of course, the measure also contains a lot of other egregious provisions that would likely shock most law-abiding gun owners. You can read it for yourself here.