Kaine co-sponsors assault weapons ban

tim kaineU.S. Senator Tim Kaine has co-sponsored the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017, a bill to ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. As Mayor of Richmond, Governor of Virginia, and U.S. Senator, Kaine has supported commonsense solutions to help prevent gun violence.

“In the wake of Parkland and countless other tragedies, it’s all too clear that we need to take action to protect our communities from gun violence. Students and parents across the country are courageously speaking up to shake Congress out of its complacency. We owe it to them to act. This bill is a critical step we can take to help keep weapons of war off our streets and out of our schools,” Kaine said.

This bill has three main provisions:

  • Bans the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons by name. Owners may keep existing weapons.
  • Bans any assault weapon that accepts a detachable ammunition magazine and has one or more military characteristics including a pistol grip, a forward grip, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel or a folding or telescoping stock. Owners may keep existing weapons.
  • Bans magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, which allow shooters to quickly fire many rounds without needing to reload. Owners may keep existing magazines.

The bill makes exemptions for more than 2,200 guns for hunting, household defense or recreational purposes and includes a grandfather clause that exempts all weapons lawfully possessed at the date of enactment.

Other key provisions:

  • Requires a background check on any future sale, trade or gifting of an assault weapon covered by the bill.
  • Requires that grandfathered assault weapons are stored using a secure gun storage or safety device like a trigger lock.
  • Prohibits the transfer of high-capacity ammunition magazines.
  • Bans bump-fire stocks and other devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at fully automatic rates.

Kaine has long supported commonsense steps to reduce gun violence, including universal background record checks prior to gun purchases, responsible limits on combat-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, a ban on bump stocks, changes to hold gun manufacturers responsible, and expanded mental health services. Senator Kaine voted for the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 – an earlier version of the legislation he co-sponsored today – in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. He has also co-sponsored legislation to close loopholes that allow domestic abusers to legally obtain weapons and incentivize states to strengthen protections for victims of domestic violence and abuse. As Mayor of Richmond, Kaine helped bring down the city’s high homicide rate. As Governor of Virginia, Kaine worked with the General Assembly to fix a flaw in the background record check system in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting.

The bill is sponsored by Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and in addition to Kaine, the bill is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tom Carper (D-DE), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bob Casey (D-PA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Tina Smith (D-MN).