U.S. states with assault-weapons bans

The states that have assault-weapons bans define assault weapons by both specific make and model as well as certain technical, complicated characteristics, Colorado Sun report.

California, for instance, bans a semiautomatic centerfire rifle with a detachable ammunition magazine if it has a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, a thumbhole stock or a folding or telescoping stock. Connecticut’s definition of an assault weapon includes a semiautomatic shotgun that can accept a detachable magazine.

All of the states with assault-weapons bans and the District of Columbia, however, allow people to keep guns that they purchased before the ban took place and may now be classified as an assault weapon. Some require those legacy weapons to be registered and some prohibit their transfer.

Facts About 'Ban On Assault Weapons' in the US: 7 states and next Colorado?
U.S. states with assault-weapons bans. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Another argument against assault-weapons bans on the state level is that they are easy to skirt. People who want to violate the ban only have to drive to another state to purchase a banned gun.

What is the current federal law regarding assault weapons?

There are currently no restrictions in federal law on the manufacture, sale, and possession of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. In 1994, a federal ban was enacted on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, but it was allowed to expire in 2004.

Facts About 'Ban On Assault Weapons' in the US: 7 States and next Colorado?
A map of states with gun-purchasing waiting periods. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

What is an assault weapon?

Assault weapons are semi-automatic firearms—meaning that they fire a round every time the trigger is pulled—that are capable of accepting a detachable magazine and have another military-style feature such as a pistol grip, a folding stock, or a threaded barrel.

Firearm manufacturers, in response to declining sales of handguns, began selling assault rifles in the civilian market in the 1980s as part of a broader effort to create a new market for military-style guns among civilian gun owners

Colorado could be the next state to consider a ban on "assault-style" weapons

Ten people were killed in Monday's mass shooting at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder and state lawmakers are grappling with what else could be done to prevent these types of shootings from happening. In Colorado, Democrats control the legislative and executive branches of the state government.

Authorities have charged 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa with 10 counts of murder in connection with the shooting at a Boulder grocery store on Monday. He is due to appear in court on Thursday.

Investigators have not disclosed any motive for the shootings.

"I'm devastated," says Democratic Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg. He was born and raised in Boulder and represents the state Senate district where the shooting occurred.

Fenberg and other Democratic state leaders say they are eager for a federal assault weapons ban. Even though President Biden called for that on Tuesday, Fenberg isn't optimistic Congress will act. The U.S. Senate is currently considering two less sweeping measures.

Accoding to VOA, Colorado has already passed several gun laws within the last decade: a high-capacity magazine ban, universal background checks and a so-called "red flag" gun law. Opponents of stricter laws say those measures infringe on Second Amendment rights, placing burdens on law-abiding gun owners, while failing to prevent mass shootings.

Historically, opponents of bans on specific types of weapons have criticized them as unenforceable and often out of touch with the nuances of firearm styles.

U.S. President Joe Biden on called for a nationwide ban on assault weapons, in the wake of a shooting in Boulder, Colorado, that left 10 people dead, including a police officer, VOA report.

He urged members of the House and Senate to act.

“We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” Biden said, noting that he worked on similar legislation when he was a senator and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. That law was passed in 1994 but was allowed to expire 10 years later.

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