There are two sides to the Assault Weapons Ban. There are those who are in support to pass the bill and those who are against the banning of the weapons. An assault weapon is known as a ‘military-style firearms designed to fire rapidly’ (Elving, 2019). Many will argue that this statement is false and that semi automatics only fire once after the trigger is pulled. Those in support for the banning of assault weapons believe that these weapons should only be used for military purposes not for civilian use. Mass shootings also leads to why individuals are for this bill. In order to reduce crimes in America, given that crimes are committed using guns, many want to limit the access to certain types of guns. Others believe that it is their protected right to own guns and that gun laws are not only ineffective but also unconstitutional. As the debate for both sides continues, there is strong evidence and research done by those against and for the ban.
Democratic Bill Clinton was President of the United States at the time the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 was passed. This bill lasted for ten years ending in 2004. It restricted and made it illegal for civilians and manufacturers use set of automatic, semi automatic weapons, and large capacity magazines. Not only did individuals and lawmakers have to make a difficult choice to proceed with the ban of 1994, but they also had to consider the danger it would put them and their families through. With the vote came consequences. Thus, there has been difficulty passing and advancing gun safety legislation, making it harder for Congress. After four decades of control of the house, Democrats lost due to the assault weapons ban. Fred Upton, Representative and Republican of Michigan, voted for the assault weapons ban. After Upton voted, he had to have protection from the police for six months. He stated that, ‘It was really nasty’ (Hulse, 2019). The issue of mass shootings are not only a problem today, but were a problem in the late 1900s. In 1989 in Stockton, California a man was armed with a rifle wounding thirty people and killing five elementary students. (Hulse, 2019) This attack began the introduction of assault weapons ban. It however, was only circulating in Congress, but was never put to act. Although it was not enacted, in 1993 Congress adopted a bill called the Brady Bill. It was to initiate background checks on individuals who bought from dealers or manufacturers.
The Twenty-Nineteen Assault Weapons Ban was introduced in the Senate on January 9, 2019. The bill has made it a crime to import, manufacture, sell, or possess semiautomatic assault weapons or large capacity ammunition feeding devices. (Feinstein, 2019) It also stated that licensed gun dealers are to conduct background checks before selling or transferring an automatic assault weapon. The restriction of this bill does not apply to firearms that are either manually operated by bolt, pump, lever, or slide action, antique, permanently not operable, rifle or shotgun identified by the model. In addition, the capacity of the ammunition device must also display a serial number for identification and the assault weapons and ammunition device must display date of manufacturer. Compensating and using the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program funds to individuals who surrender large capacity ammunition feeding devices and semiautomatic assault weapons is allowed to local or state governments by this bill. (Feinstein, 2019)
Robert Francis O’Rourke, an American politician, was born in El Paso, Texas. As a former United States Representative, O’Rourke represented Texas’s 16th congressional district from 2013 – 2019. He is known to run for the 2020 presidential elections seeking nominations from the Democratic party. The Democrats goal was to push for the assault weapons ban. The votes for the Assault Weapons Ban stopped short seven votes. The House of Democrats had 211 votes, but needed 218 votes to pass a ban on the floor. The Speaker is the one who makes the decision to bring the bill to the floor. Polls clearly show that the majority of the nation is in support of the ban on semiautomatic assault weapons. This does however conflict with those who support and push for background checks. Although many support the ban of assault weapons, Americans are more in favor of background checks rather than the ban. Polls taken by the Washington Post-ABC News found that 89 percent of Americans favored universal background checks, whereas 56 percent were for an assault weapons ban. (Stolberg, 2019) Democrats continue to view this as a winning issue. The bill remains short to ban because of the hesitation of a few Democrats who voted for president Donald Trump in the 2016 elections. According to CNN analysis, they have distinguished why Democrats hesitated to support the gun ban. Democrats are split; in total 25 Democrats have not signed the bill assault weapon ban. This is due to the 2016 presidential elections where most of them are in the districts where Trump won, they represent districts with fewer college graduates, or represent districts with smaller economies. (Brownstein, 2019) As a supporter of the Assault Weapon Ban, O’Rourke proposed a mandatory buyback of fifteen million assault-style weapons. Following that, advocates for gun control are trying to push the voting until 2021. If the Democrat House win the elections next year in the White House, they would only have to vote once for a ban on assault weapons. However the ban this year of 2019, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, has blocked a vote on House’s universal background check bill. (Brownstein, 2019) In addition, although the bill to ban assault weapons was not brought to the floor, Cicilline, a member of the Democratic Party, supports and continues ‘to build toward that 218’ (Brownstein, 2019). He has attracted supporters from the Democrats unifying them even more today.
David Cicilline, United States Representative for Rhode Island, brought forward his Disarm Hate Act. This act was passed by the Judiciary Committee. It prohibited individuals to legally own or purchase any guns if they were convicted of hate crimes. In addition, Cicilline supported the banning of high capacity magazines, Keep Americans Safe Act, and establishing federal red flag law, Extreme Risk Protection Order Act. These two acts were also advanced by the Judiciary Committee. Cicilline believes that gun violence and bigotry are connected. He also strongly agrees that individuals with hate crimes are in a sense ‘danger to our society’ (Cicilline, 2019). Cicilline also believes that Democrats are the ones taking action, exhibiting and desire a change in the nation. They are the ones going against gun violence however, Republicans are holding them back by blocking bills. Democrats will continue to press for action to reduce gun violence in this nation.
Many dismissed this hard topic or either dodged it completely to avoid conflict with other people’s opinions and views. Others however are open and want their voices heard. The subject gun control has been avoided for years until mass shootings have been more recent. Weapons such as Ak – 47’s and AR – 15’s are known as an assault style weapons that have been used repeatedly in mass shootings. In the book Rampage nation: securing America from mass shootings it answers pressing questions that society faces. (Klarevas, 2016) This book is written by Louis Klarevas who hits on mass shooting and individual acts of violence. It finds that individuals with a possession of a gun that goes of shooting sprees are usually mentally unstable. The attacks often and largely happen in places where guns are not prohibited or have strict laws. In Rampage nation, it is seen that laws that restrict guns like the federal assault weapons ban has reduced violence when it was in effect.
Many individuals are in support of the assault weapons ban because of the continued shootings happening in this nation. Some of these shootings have included attacks based on peoples races. The El Paso shooting that left 22 dead this year is known as a severe tragedy.
Studies have shown that mass shootings were reduced during the federal assault weapons ban of 1994. The data concludes that 70 percent of the mass shootings in the United States were less likely to occur during the federal assault weapons ban. (DiMaggio, 2019) Evidence shows that the ban does have some impact. Without the banning of assault weapons, many believe that mass shootings will continue.