news u s senators reintroduce legislation aiming to protect communities from assault weapons
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Senators reintroduce bill aiming to protect communities from assault weapons

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A group of U.S. senators have reintroduced legislation to regulate assault weapons.

The Assault Weapons Ban of 2023 would ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and import of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and other high-capacity ammunition feeding devices.

This includes the gun used by a shooter on Sunday to kill 11 people and injure nine more at a Lunar New Year’s celebration in Monterey Park, Calif.

“Communities throughout our country and the Commonwealth of Virginia have experienced the pain brought on by gun violence time and time again,” the senators said. “While this legislation will not prevent every senseless act of gun violence, it is a reasonable step that will take high-capacity weapons off the street.”

 Specifically the Assault Weapons Ban of 2023 would:

  • Ban the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons by name. Owners may keep existing weapons.
  • Ban any assault weapon with the capacity to utilize a magazine that is not a fixed 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.
  • Ban 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.
  • Require a background check on any future sale, trade or gifting of an assault weapon permitted by the bill.
  • Prohibit the transfer of high-capacity ammunition magazines.
  • Ban bump-fire stocks and other devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at fully automatic rates.

Exemptions would include:

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

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) joined Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and 32 Democratic colleagues in reintroducing the legislation.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.