How Many of Your Firearms Would Be Illegal Under Gun Ban Bill’s New Definition for ‘Assault Weapon’?

Democrats in Michigan are pushing a new gun control bill that would ban the sale and manufacture of what they term “assault weapons,” but the definition of an “assault weapon” seems to be very vague and loose. On December 1, Michigan House Democrats announced that state Rep. Jeffery Pepper had introduced HB 6544, which would completely ban the sale and manufacture of “assault weapons” beginning in 2024. Pepper and the House Democrats claim that this bill is necessary in order to curb the epidemic of gun violence that is sweeping the nation. “If the federal government won’t reinstate the automatic weapons ban that drastically reduced gun violence in the ’90s,” Pepper said, “then it’s time we take it into our own hands.” The question, of course, is what exactly do the Michigan House Democrats mean by the term “assault weapon”? After all, all weapons are meant to assault, so the term itself seems remarkably redundant. What weapons would be banned under the proposed bill and what weapons would citizens be allowed to possess? Unfortunately, as it is currently written HB 6544 is incredibly vague and loose with its definition of an “assault weapon.” According to the bill, an “assault weapon” is defined as “a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has 1 or more of the following characteristics.” In a nutshell, these characteristics include any grip or shroud that allows the shooter to hold the weapon with the non-trigger hand, or a folding or telescopic stock. These characteristics are not very clearly defined and sound as if the House Democrats are merely regurgitating talking points from CNN or MSNBC about certain features that make guns scary. This is an incredibly dangerous bill, therefore, as it potentially leaves the door open for the Democrats to ban more guns than it initially appears are covered by the bill. One could potentially argue that any gun that could possibly be held with two hands is illegal under the definition of “assault weapon” found in the bill. Just as disconcertingly, a rifle that can have a detachable magazine and ability to add an attachment would include any number of legally obtained guns in America. That is hardly a restrictive set of prerequisites. With a definition this loose, who knows how many guns the Democrats could argue fall under the prohibitions laid out in this bill? But aside from the unconstitutional and authoritarian nature of this proposal, there is the simple fact that history has shown time and again that these gun control measures simply do not work at reducing gun violence. In last month’s elections, voters in Oregon voted in favor of Measure 114, which outlaw magazines that hold more than ten rounds and directs police departments to collect biometric databases of firearms permits and divert resources towards firearms training. This law was immediately decried by several sheriffs in the state, who argued that it did not address the actual reasons that gun violence takes place, and diverted valuable police resources from fighting crime to policing the actions of law-abiding citizens. Meanwhile, some states such as Illinois and New York, which have some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, saw mass shootings in the past year after criminals were able to cleverly get around the states’ laws. The fact of the matter is simply making the types of guns illegal will not stop mass shootings. Criminals will not be deterred by the fact that these guns are illegal and will find ways to get around them. If we really want to solve the issue of gun violence in our nation, we need to address the deep societal problems that encourage people to engage in gun violence. Punishing law-abiding citizens by restricting their Second Amendment rights only distracts from these issues and does nothing to solve the problem. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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