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Assault weapons ban gaining momentum in House; GOP leaders resistant

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — House lawmakers seem poised to take action to make assault-style weapons illegal. A bill authored by Congressman David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, is gaining momentum after the deadly mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

The “Assault Weapons Ban of 2019” would make it a crime to possess, import, sell, manufacture, and transfer such weapons.

Cicilline’s bill has more than 200 co-sponsors but only one is Republican – Peter King of New York. The House may pass the measure after its summer recess but President Donald Trump and Republican leaders in the Senate say they’re dead set against it.

Jonathan Lowy, the Brady Campaign‘s chief counsel and vice president of its legal team, says assault-style weapons like AR-15s have no business being in the hands of everyday Americans.

“We need to take weapons of war off the streets,” he said. “Mass killers who want to kill as many people as possible arm themselves to the teeth with assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”

The country has experienced a huge spike in mass shootings since the last assault weapons ban expired in 2004, according to Lowy.

“The more recent mass shootings have been the most deadly in American history,” he added.

“Weapons of war belong on the battlefield, not in our homes, our schools, our office buildings, or anywhere else in our communities,” Cicilline said.

Amy Swearer with the Heritage Foundation argues those weapons are used all the time by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes like hunting and self-defense.

“When we’re characterizing something as weapons of war, it implies that there’s no legitimate civilian function,” she said.

Swearer believes the proposed ban is unconstitutional and misses the mark.

“The Second Amendment protects not just an individual right but the right to keep and bear those arms that are commonly used by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes,” she explained.

Trump seems to agree. He and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have voiced their opposition to the measure.