Democrats in recent weeks have ramped up calls for an Assault Weapons ban after the latest mass shootings. Presidential hopefuls, such as Beto O’Rourke, have stated that they want to make it illegal to own assault-style weapons, and force gun owners to sell them to the government.
Earlier in the year, Senator Dianne Feinstein also introduced legislation to ban assault weapons, formally the bill is known as; S.66 – Assault Weapons Ban of 2019. Further, the proposed bill would make it a crime to knowingly import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon (SAW) or large capacity ammunition feeding device (LCAFD)
On Wednesday, September 25th, 2019 the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing regarding banning assault weapons. The Mayor of Dayton, Ohio Nan Whaley spoke before the committee and requested that Congress do more to stop mass shootings.
“And the thing I remember most clearly, is the smell of bleach. A street sweeper was being used to try to clean the roads, and men in hazmat suits were scrubbing the sidewalks,” said Whaley. “The shooting occurred nearly two months ago, but our sidewalks are still stained.”
Whaley, like O’Rourke and many others in Congress, want to see assault weapons banned under the pretense that it will thwart mass shootings. “It would make a great difference, so there won’t be cities like Dayton that have experienced this kind of trauma,” said Whaley.
However, a retired Tulsa police officer Dianna Muller, who also spoke before the committee, focused on the practicality of banning assault weapons. Muller claimed that there are mainly cosmetic differences between weapons such as an AR-15 and a standard semiautomatic hunting rifle. This issue was also raised by Heritage Foundation senior legal policy analyst Amy Swearer when Rep.Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., went down the line of witnesses asking if they believed hunting rifles should be banned if they are semiautomatic.
Dianna Muller, when speaking about an assault weapons ban, stated that should the legislation pass, Congress would run the risk of making 150 million people criminals. Further, Muller noted that should Congress ban Assault Weapons; she will not comply.
For the millions of persons who own assault weapons, a ban, or making them illegal, would force law-abiding citizens to either become felons or defenseless. Further, assault weapons are much easier to handle, which is why many people use them for home or self-defense. Andy Biggs of Arizona, read during the hearing many a time when an assault weapon was used to save a citizen’s own life or the lives of those around them.