A Rock River Arms AR-15 rifle (Photo illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
This week Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) introduced an assault weapons ban in the U.S. House. The bill boasts a mass of co-sponsors: 167 so far, not counting Cicilline himself.
Cicilline’s bill joins a similar piece of legislation introduced in the Senate by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) last year. Feinstein’s bill has 26 co-sponsors (Congress.gov counts 27, but one of those is former Minnesota Democratic senator Al Franken, who resigned earlier this year), including three Democrats who have signed on since the school shooting this month in Parkland, Fla.
Both measures would ban sales of semiautomatic rifles with certain military-style features, such as pistol grips and flash suppressors. The measures would also outlaw the sale of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Neither bill would require current gun owners to give up any of their weapons.
All told, the two assault weapons bans before Congress are sponsored or co-sponsored by 195 lawmakers. But none of those lawmakers is Republican. Despite a recent shift in the national conversation around mass shootings, and tentative signals of support for an assault weapons ban from several Republican lawmakers, no GOP lawmakers have yet offered a full-throated endorsement of a specific piece of legislation on assault weapons.
Many Democrats have only just recently embraced these proposals. The Cicilline bill introduced this week has the highest number of co-sponsors of any assault weapons ban legislation introduced since Congress let the previous ban lapse in 2004. The 167 co-sponsors are more than double the number of House Democrats who signed on to a similar measure in 2013, after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which led to the deaths of 20 children and six educators.
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