Firearms Policy Coalition has learned of two new federal gun control bills that could do lasting damage to the Second Amendment. Both bills were sponsored by Republicans.
Age 21 Act
S 2470 would bar those under 21 from purchasing handguns, semi-automatic “assault weapons,” “large-capacity” magazines, and certain types of ammunition. Under the bill’s vague language, the types of ammo subject to restriction would include “ammunition that is suitable for use only in a handgun or semiautomatic assault weapon.”
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona). It quickly earned co-sponsorship from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida). It was recently referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee and is pending further action.
Mass Violence Prevention Reform Act
HR 5286 is a bill that would impose a 60-day moratorium on the transfer or receipt of an assault rifle. The bill, like S 2470, was also sponsored by a Republican: Rep. Brian Mast (R-Florida). HR 5286 has earned co-sponsorship from another Republican as well: Rep. Peter King (R-NY).
There are, however, several very troubling hidden components of this bill. First is that the legislation requires a report to be submitted to Congress following passage of HR 5286. The report would require a legal definition of “assault weapon,” including “classifying firearms based on lethality.”
This means the federal government is seeking to place a moratorium on the transfer or receipt of “assault weapons” before they even have a legal definition of the term. What’s more, by classifying firearms based on “deadliness,” the government is signaling its intention to eventually clamp down on other types of firearms.
Additionally, the bill’s text gives the president authority to extend the moratorium, either before 30 days have passed following the bill’s passage, or before October 1, 2020, whichever comes first. Regardless of this timeline, handling the executive branch this kind of legislative authority is deeply troubling.
HR 5286 was recently referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as the House Judiciary Committee and House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. It is pending further action.
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