What's Inside the Senate's Latest 'Assault Weapons' Bill? Nothing But Bad News for Gun Owners

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

One of the biggest problems with have with our system of government is that laws are generally crafted by people who often don’t know what they’re actually talking about. Most members of Congress are lawyers, which means they were trained in how to practice law, but they don’t necessarily have expertise outside of that.


Yet, because they create laws on things like “assault weapons” without really understanding much of anything about them, we get some bizarre ideas.

For example, Sen. Angus King is introducing a bill that seeks to restrict these kinds of weapons.

About one month after Maine’s deadliest mass shooting, Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, is proposing a limit on the number of bullets a gun can hold as part of new legislation to regulate how firearms are manufactured and sold in the United States.

The bill being introduced Thursday, called the GOSAFE Act, is different than what’s commonly known as an assault weapons ban because it regulates how guns are made rather than banning specific models. Rifles and shotguns would be barred from having magazines that carry more than 10 rounds, while handguns could carry up to 15 rounds. Some high-capacity magazines used in mass shootings have carried 25 to 50 rounds or more.

According to a summary of the bill provided by King’s office, magazines must be “permanently fixed, meaning the firearm cannot accept a detachable, high-capacity magazine that would increase the number of rounds that can be fired before reloading and make reloading easier.”

Bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at a faster rate, also would be banned.

While guns that don’t meet the regulations could no longer be sold, resold or manufactured under the bill, those who already own such guns could keep them or pass them on to family members. There also would be a federal gun buyback program so that people could turn in guns that don’t meet the regulations, and get money back for doing so. The buyback is intended to “prevent stockpiling of these lethal firearms and large capacity magazines,” according to the bill’s summary.


Yet nothing about this would actually make these weapons less lethal than they already are. Further, there are already workarounds in place to reload a fixed-magazine AR-style rifle. There will likely be still more ways to work around these restrictions developed should the bill somehow pass.

And that’s not remotely likely.

For one thing, this is the Senate. While Democrats control the Senate, they don’t have enough pull to prevent a filibuster, which means this bill is basically dead on arrival already. Even if it did somehow make it through the Senate, though, that would land it in the House, which is GOP-controlled and not really interested in alienating its pro-gun base.

Sure, they may have been willing to work on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, but that bill wasn’t nearly the assault on the right to keep and bear arms this assault weapon abomination is.

And why take this approach? Because people like King have no idea how literally any of this works.

As I’ve noted, there are already ways to quickly reload a fixed magazine. Those exist and will remain in existence. This bill doesn’t seem to address those in any way, shape, or form.

Because they exist, there’s literally nothing that will change regarding things like mass shootings, which is the motivator given here.

Most mass shootings involve a handgun as opposed to a so-called assault weapon, for one thing. For another, the Parkland killer used 10-round magazines. It doesn’t matter how you mandate someone has to reload, if they’re the only one with a gun, they’ll have time to reload anything they don’t have to thumb a single round at a time in.


The bill will accomplish nothing.

However, a gun control activist quoted in the above article thinks that because this isn’t technically an assault weapon ban, there’s a chance for bipartisanship to see this happen.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear here. Anyone who claims to be pro-gun in any way that supports this abomination is someone I will dedicate a large chunk of my life removing from office. We aren’t interested in clever semantics that try to pretend we’re not actually banned from having something–never mind that we couldn’t buy the guns we want or sell the ones we have to others who might want them, thus making it a ban–we believe our right to keep and bear arms naturally extends to include companies that want to make and sell us those arms.

This won’t go anywhere and even if it did, it won’t do anything except restrict what you and I can buy. It won’t stop the criminals from doing what they’ve been doing for decades, especially since they’re not exactly the biggest buyers of AR-15s and similar rifles in the first place, contrary to media scare stories.


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