US House passes bill banning semiautomatic assault weapons News
© WikiMedia (Michael McConville)
US House passes bill banning semiautomatic assault weapons

The US House of Representatives has passed by a 217-213 vote H.R. 1808, a bill that, if enacted, would ban assault-style rifles. Sponsor Rep. David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, introduced the bill in the House in March 2021.

The bill will amend 18 U.S.C. § 921 to add definitions of “semiautomatic pistol,” “semiautomatic shotgun” and “semiautomatic assault weapon.” The bill will also amend 18 U.S.C. § 922 to add provisions making it unlawful to “import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce,” a semiautomatic assault weapon (SAW) or a large capacity ammunition feeding device (LCAFD). However, this will not be an outright ban on all SAWs and LCAFDs.

Those already lawfully owning SAWs on the date of enactment of the ban will be “grandfathered” in, meaning that they will not be breaking the law by possessing, selling or transferring these. Background checks will still be required for transfers of these weapons. Just as with SAWs, H.R. 1808 will permit continued possession of grandfathered LCAFDs but prohibit their sale or transfer.

The bill will mandate grandfathered SAWs to be stored securely where unauthorized individuals cannot have access. Additionally, any LCAFD or SAW manufactured after the date of enactment will need to be marked with a serial number and the date of manufacture.

In response to the House passing H.R. 1808 on Friday, US President Joe Biden stated:

The majority of the American people agree with this common sense action. The Senate should move quickly to get this bill to my desk, and I will not stop fighting until it does. There can be no greater responsibility than to do all we can to ensure the safety of our families, our children, our homes, our communities, and our nation.

H.R. 1808’s passage is the latest advancement in gun legislation in response to recent mass shootings across the US. In June, Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, limiting who can purchase firearms, into law.