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Biden Vows ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban – Here’s What Would Trigger It

President Joe Biden made a midterm campaign promise that should horrify American gun owners on Thursday night. Biden promised a ban of so-called assault weapons, stating his intention to do so if Democrats bolstered their Senate majority with two more seats and kept control of the House of Representatives. Biden made the pledge in combination with several other progressive policy proposals during a political rally in Rockville, Maryland on Thursday. “Folks, look, we’ll codify Roe v. Wade. We’ll ban assault weapons. We’ll protect social security and Medicare. We’ll pass universal pre-K. We’ll restore the Child Care Tax Credit. We’ll protect voting rights. We’ll pass election reform and make sure no one — no one — ever has the opportunity to steal an election again,” Biden said. In spite of Biden’s promise, a real ban on weapons, such as the AR-15, is probably going to require much more than 52 Democratic senators. Legislation requires 60 votes to bypass the Senate’s filibuster, and overcoming such a threshold would require a betrayal of gun rights on the part of at least eight Republicans. In spite of some support for new gun control laws in the Senate GOP caucus, there’s no reason to believe that even the most liberal of Republicans would join Biden to ban some of the most commonly owned guns in the country. A June gun control law that received the votes of 15 Republican senators included provisions such as including juvenile records in gun background checks for buyers under 21 and funding state red flag laws. The legislation proved unpopular with Second Amendment supporters, and there’s little indication that its Republican supporters intend to go so far as to ban firearms such as the AR-15. The House thinly rammed through an assault weapons ban bill in July, only for the legislation to go nowhere in the Senate. Biden was instrumental in the 1994 assault weapons ban, legislation that banned the manufacturing and sale of new weapons, such as AR-15 and AK-style rifles. The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimated in July that more than 24 million “modern sporting rifles” were in civilian circulation in the United States. Biden’s plans for an assault weapons ban would presumably leave these guns in the hands of their owners, although some extremists insist the legal guns should be confiscated by the state. (The term “assault weapon” has a politically charged definition, unlike the phrase “assault rifle,” which describes military firearms capable of automatic fire.) In spite of their political controversy, gun violence with these weapons is much rarer than you might think. According to Pew Research, citing FBI data from 2020, “[r]ifles — the category that includes guns sometimes referred to as ‘assault weapons’ — were involved in 3 percent of firearm murders.” The FBI didn’t state a weapon of choice in 36 percent of the deaths, but handguns were involved 59 percent of the time. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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