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Lawmakers propose ban on semiautomatic assault weapons

Two Democratic representatives introduced a bill that would ban assault weapons last Monday. The bill was introduced in response to the Feb. 14, 2018, mass shooting incident in Parkland, Florida, which resulted in 17 deaths at an area high school. The tragedy, the attacker fatally shot the victims with an AR-15 assault rifle. This rifle – among many other firearms classified as assault weapons – would be illegal under the proposed legislation.

Gun control supporters commonly classify the AR-15 to be an assault weapon. However, gun ownership supporters disagree, saying that the AR-15 isn't fully automatic.

Language in the proposed legislation states that it will be "unlawful for a person to import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, a semiautomatic assault weapon." However, if a semiautomatic weapon is lawfully possessed at the time the measure becomes law, it will remain exempt. The legislation would also create establish a public record that lists the semiautomatic assault weapons used to carry out crimes.

As far as consensus among lawmakers, there is strict disagreement over the proposed gun control measure as Democrats largely support it, but Republicans largely oppose it.

Regardless which side of the gun debate you happen to be on, if you're a gun owner or a gun enthusiast, it's important to keep track of all new laws that apply to gun ownership and gun purchases in the United States. Understanding these laws will help prevent individuals from inadvertently committing a crime. If, on the other hand, federal authorities accuse a gun owner of breaking federal law, the accused individual will have the right to a criminal defense in federal court.

Source: The Hill, "Dems introduce bill banning assault weapons," Jaqueline Thomsen, Feb. 26, 2018

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