By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Two proposals aimed at curbing the spread of assault rifles were submitted today by Democratic senators Dianne Feinstein of California, and Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy of Connecticut.
The Assault Weapons Ban seeks to prohibit the commercialization, distribution, production, and importation of assault rifles and other firearms designed for use in military operations, as well as high-capacity magazines and similar devices.
On January 22, a gunman opened fire on a crowd celebrating the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, California, killing 11 and wounding 9. There was also a shooting of 7 farm workers in Half Moon Bay, California, near San Francisco.
The Democrats’ proposed Age 21 Act would make it illegal to sell or buy an assault weapon to anybody under 21, bringing it in line with the legal age for purchasing handguns.
Some Congress members, including Judy Chu, who represents the California district that includes Monterey Park, have called for universal background checks and closing loophole for gun shows and guns ordered on the Internet.
President Joe Biden has publicly stated his support for the legislation. Biden said that the number of mass shootings declined during the decade that the Assault Weapons Ban was in effect. “In the 10 years that the Assault Weapons Ban was on the books, mass shootings went down,” Biden remarked. “After Republicans let the law expire in 2004 and those weapons were allowed to be sold again, mass shootings tripled,” he declared.
Both houses of Congress were urged to take quick action by the president. According to Biden, “the majority of American people agree with this rational measure.”
“There can be no greater responsibility than to do all we can to ensure the safety of our children, our communities and our nation,” he insisted.
In the House of Representatives, Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline said he plans to introduce a companion bill to the Senate’s Assault Weapons Ban. Feinstein said assault rifles “seem to be the unifying denominator in the seemingly endless number of horrific shootings.” “Because these firearms were created for maximum efficiency in mass murder,” the senator noted.
“They have no place in our society or educational institutions. It’s time to take a stand against the gun lobby and do something about getting these lethal weapons off the streets, or at the absolute least, out of the hands of our youth.”
Blumenthal added, as the gunman at the Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park demonstrated just days ago, assault weapons are designed for one and one purpose only: to murder or hurt human beings.
“These military-style combat weapons – built for the battlefield and designed to maximize death and destruction – have brought bloodshed and carnage to our streets and continue to be the weapon of choice in countless mass shootings,” Blumenthal said.
“Guns don’t respect state boundaries, which is why we need a national solution to restricting the ownership and use of assault weapons. Now is the time to honor gun violence victims and survivors with this commonsense action.”
Rep. Ciciline argued that it is long past due to reinstate an assault weapon ban and remove these “weapons of war” from civilian areas. The assault weapons prohibition “passed the House last year with bipartisan backing, but was blocked by Senate Republicans,” Ciciline noted. “We need to come together to enact this commonsense, effective, and proven policy to reduce gun violence and save lives. I thank Senator Feinstein for her partnership in this fight and look forward to introducing the House companion bill in the coming weeks.”