The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), acknowledged this week, that the goal of a renewed congressional push to enact a federal assault weapons ban is to prohibit rifles that are in “widely accepted use.” Despite this fact, a committee Republican responded that Nadler’s statement demonstrates how the legislation blatantly disregards Supreme Court precedent on the 2A.
This week, the judiciary committee had a markup session on H.R. 1808, which is the Assault Weapon Ban Act. The bill would prohibit AR-15 rifles and any other “assault weapons” and high-capacity mags. It follows a series of high-profile killings that have happened in recent weeks, which includes an elementary school, a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and a parade on the Fourth of July in Highland Park, Illinois.
Following the mass shootings, Congress enacted bipartisan legislation that encourages states to pass “red flag” laws to take weapons away from dangerous individuals, improves background checks for gun purchasers under the age of 21, and finances mental health care. But President Biden and other Dems believe these measures were not aggressive enough, and they have lobbied to reinstate the federal assault rifle ban that lapsed in 2004.
“As we have seen all too clearly in recent years, assault weapons—particularly when they are combined with the high-capacity mags—are the gun of choice for mass shootings because these military-style guns are made to kill the most people in the quickest time possible.”
During the hearing, Judiciary Committee Republicans stood in front of signs that said, “Shall Not Be Infringed,” strongly opposing the legislation. They argue that banning AR-15 rifles would break the Second Amendment by making it unlawful to possess one of the most popular guns in America. According to an estimate from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, more than 4.5 million AR- and AK-style weapons have been legally bought by American civilians since 2020.
Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) confronted Democrats on whether their bill would prohibit firearms that are “widely used” in the United States.
“Would anyone on the opposing side dispute that this bill would prohibit weapons that are currently in common usage in the United States?” Bishop asked, willing to yield to any Democratic representative who could answer his question.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) pointed out, “That’s the objective of the bill.”
“To be more precise, Mr. Chairman, you’re stating that the purpose of the bill is to prohibit weapons that are currently in widespread usage in the United States?” Bishop inquired.
Yes, the issue is that they are widely used.