Nearly Two Dozen Senators Introduce Assault Weapons Ban After Texas Shooting

| NOV 8, 2017 | 5:38 PM

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Just days after the mass shooting in Texas that left 26 people dead, a group of 23 Democratic senators introduced another attempt to ban assault weapons but acknowledged that doing so wouldn't “stop every mass shooting”:

The bill, titled the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017, would allow owners of assault rifles to keep their current weapons but would ban the sale, manufacture, transfer, and importation of more than 200 assault weapons.

“This bill won't stop every mass shooting, but it will begin removing these weapons of war from our streets,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

Leading Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) joined Feinstein in pushing the legislation on Tuesday.

Feinstein, who led a failed effort to ban assault weapons in 2013, blamed the National Rifle Association for stymieing a 2004 reauthorization of the first assault weapons ban.

“Yes, it will be a long process to reduce the massive supply of these assault weapons in our country, but we've got to start somewhere,” Feinstein added.

The new ban would require a background check for any transfer of assault weapons listed under the bill, and would attempt to limit the amount of ammunition used by gunmen.

Feinstein's renewed effort came amid widespread calls for gun control following two major mass shootings in the United States.

Last month, more than 50 people died and hundreds were injured after a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas, Nevada. The gunman, Stephen Paddock, reportedly used a device, known as a bump stock, to increase the rate of fire on his semi-automatic weapon.

Feinstein's legislation would ban that device and others that make semi-automatic weapons fire at the rate of those that are fully automatic.

It's unclear whether the ban will pass in a Republican-dominated Congress, especially after President Donald Trump argued stricter gun control not only wouldn't have stopped Sunday's shooting, but might have made it worse.

While two prominent GOP senators announced legislation aimed at preventing shootings like Sunday's, neither of their bills prohibited firearm sales. Instead, their legislation focused on identifying criminal behavior and blocking firearm sales to people like Devin Kelley, who assaulted his ex-wife and stepson years before his massacre.