U.S. House committee to consider ban on some semi-automatic weapons

In the wake of recent mass shootings, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee will consider legislation Wednesday that would ban certain semi-automatic weapons.

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The committee will meet to mark up the bill, which “would ban the sale, import, manufacture or transfer of certain semi-automatic weapons,” it said in a statement.

“Our country has witnessed senseless killing after senseless killing, and each time one fact has remained remarkably consistent — the weapon of choice for mass slaughter is a high-powered assault weapon,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, said in a statement.

Many House Democrats and some Republicans have expressed support for such a bill following the mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas.

Reps. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, and Chris Jacobs, R-New York, have both indicated they support some sort of ban on weapons, The Hill reported.

“I have opposed a ban fairly recently. I think I’m open to a ban now,” Kinzinger said in early June.

“It’s going to depend on what it looks like because there’s a lot of nuances on what constitutes certain things, but I’m getting to the point where I have to wonder,” Kinzinger said. “Maybe somebody to own one, maybe you need an extra license. Maybe you need extra training.”

“If an assault weapons ban bill came to the floor that would ban something like an AR-15, I would vote for it,” Jacobs said in a press conference following the mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store.

Should the bill be voted out of the committee, passed by the House and then by the Senate before being signed into law by President Joe Biden, it would allow the sale of weapons that are already lawfully possessed, but would prohibit the sale, transfer, import and manufacture of hundreds of models of weapons.

The law would not apply to antique, manually-operated or certain hunting and sporting firearms, according to the panel.

Those who opposed a ban on semi-automatic weapons point to the small number of violent crimes where such a weapon is used. A National Institutes of Health study showed that “most estimates suggest less than 7%” of the guns used for “crime in general” were “assault weapons.”

The term “assault weapon” is not a formal category of guns. Instead, the term generally refers to semi-automatic firearms with a detachable magazine.

The National Institutes of Health said in a study that “most estimates suggest less than 7%” of the guns used for “crime in general” were “assault weapons.”

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence supports a ban on such weapons, saying they have been used in the seven deadliest mass shootings in the last decade.

Seven states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws banning assault weapons. The seven states are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

Biden signed into law last month a bipartisan gun bill that aims to prevent dangerous people from accessing firearms and increase investments in the nation’s mental health system.

It was the first significant gun legislation signed into law in nearly three decades. The Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 expired in 2004.

Should the measure be voted out of committee and pass the House, it would take 60 votes to pass out of the 50-50 Senate.