Eight Democrats in the U.S. House introduced an omnibus gun control bill last week aimed at “ghost guns,” “concealable assault rifles,” bump stocks, and background checks.
The bill has been touted in the media as a way to “close existing loopholes” and “prevent mass shootings,” but much of the bill appears to codify into law President Joe Biden’s recent executive orders on gun control.
“I’m sick of inaction while easily-fixed loopholes cause death and tragedy in our communities. I call on Congress to immediately advance and pass these common-sense reforms to stop mass shooters, slow the flow of untraceable weapons into our communities, and protect law enforcement officers,” said Rep. Val Demings, a Florida Democrat, in a press release announcing the legislation. Demings was considered as Biden’s running mate in the 2020 presidential election, and she’s planning to run for the U.S. Senate next year.
“Despite the lies and screeches from the scandal-ridden NRA, the truth is that the vast majority of American agree that criminals shouldn’t be able to buy a gun or download one, that weapons which fire through police officers’ ballistic vests should be tightly and rightly controlled, and that weapon modifications that allow shooters to fire hundreds of rounds a minute simply have no place on our streets. I’m proud to join with my colleagues on this commonsense legislation. Let’s get this done and save lives,” she continued.
The text of the bill has not been released, but Demings’ press release outlines four areas the bill will target.
- Regulates “ghost guns” by requiring gun kits to include a serial number and a background check to complete a sale;
- Regulates concealable assault rifles which fire armor-piercing ammunition and were specifically designed by gun manufacturers to circumvent the National Firearms Act;
- Help states enforce existing laws by requiring federal authorities to alert state and local law enforcement within 24 hours when an ineligible individual lies on a background check and tries to purchase a firearm; and
- Codifies the last Administration’s ‘bump stock’ final rule to regulate bump stocks, which allow modification of a weapon to enable rapid firing.
The ATF has already released a new rule on “ghost guns,” which is currently in the public comment period. Demings bill would likely codify that rule into law, making it much more difficult to change under a Republican administration.
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It’s unclear how the legislation will define “concealable assault rifles which fire armor-piercing ammunition.” All semi-automatic rifles can theoretically fire armor-piercing ammunition, and rifles with barrels under 16 inches are already heavily regulated by the federal government. It’s possible the bill will target stabilizing arm braces, which manufacturers often attach to AR-style pistols. Biden called on the ATF to clarify its stance on whether a brace turns an AR-pistol into a rifle, and Demings appears to be working to codify into law Biden’s preferred anti-gun interpretation.
The bill is being co-sponsored by seven other legislators: Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Mike Quigley (IL-5), Mike Thompson (CA-5), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Joe Neguse (CO-2), Ted Deutch (FL-22), and Peter DeFazio (OR-04).