WHAT IT IS
- An assault weapon is an automatic or semiautomatic firearm. [Merriam-Webster] These guns can be referred to as a military-style weapon.
At least 5 states have banned the sale and/or ownership of assault weapons. [Giffords Law Center] Some states have passed restrictions on ownership, others have banned the sale and/or ownership of high capacity magazines. See a state by state breakdown here.
- Due to the use of these weapons in mass killings in the United States, lawmakers have been urged to make the sale of assault weapons illegal.
A 2018 Gallup poll shows a majority of Americans support an assault weapons ban.
Nov 2019: Supreme Court "cleared the way" in allowing family members of gun violence victims to sue the manufacturers of assault-style weapons. [The New York Times]
President Trump is unclear on an assault weapons ban.
Why is it unclear
While in office, President Trump has placed no federal restrictions on assault weapons.
In 2018, President Trump suggested considering an assault weapons ban. [The New York Times]
In 2000, President Trump wrote in publically supported an assault weapons ban.
- "I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons" [The America We Deserve, Donald Trump]
What he's said
2019: There's "no political appetite" for an assault weapons ban. [Politico]
What he's done:
The Trump administration has placed no federal restrictions on assault weapons.
Former Vice President Biden supports an assault weapons ban.
What he's said
- 2020: "Biden knows that gun violence is a public health epidemic..." [Joe Biden Campaign
- 2020: Biden pledges to pass additional legislation that patches the loopholes in the 1994 act and strengths a federal ban on assault weapons. [Joe Biden Campaign]
What he's done
- In 1994, Biden co-sponsored a federal assault weapons ban that was passed by Congress.
- The law lasted 10 years. There was a 70% reduction in people killed by assault weapons during that 10-year period. [The Washington Post]
Biden also supports a voluntary buyback program, where owners of assault weapons can either register their assault weapons or have the government buyback their gun.