House Dems push assault weapons ban

Assault weapons would be banned under new legislation from House Democrats.

Following a string of recent mass shootings, Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) is looking to renew the assault weapons ban that was originally signed by former President Bill ClintonBill ClintonEmphasis on diversity in Democratic convention lineup Bill's role: To be determined Walker jabs at Kasich for snubbing GOP convention MORE but expired more than a decade ago.

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The Assault Weapons Ban of 2015, which Cicilline will introduce Wednesday afternoon, would ensure that no such guns are manufactured while placing new restrictions on the sale of already existing assault weapons.

The bill has about 90 Democratic co-sponsors, including House Minority WHIP Steny Hoyer (Md.) and Rep. Steve Israel (N.Y.). 

It has no hope of passing through Congress, however, given opposition from Republicans. 

“Assault weapons are designed for the sole purpose of killing as many people as quickly as possible,” Cicilline said in a statement to The Hill. "We need to do everything we can to reduce the toll of gun violence by keeping these weapons out of our communities.”

Under the legislation, gun owners who already have assault weapons would be allowed to keep them, but they could face challenges reselling them.

The bill would intensify background checks for people looking to buy any of the estimated 8 million to 9 million assault weapons that are already in circulation. 

The law would also close what gun control groups refer to as the "Charleston loophole” that allows a gun dealer to sell a gun after three days if the FBI does not complete a background check in that timeframe.

Dylann Roof, the man accused of killing nine people during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church earlier this year, purchased a gun under those circumstances.

Cicilline’s bill would close this loophole for resales of assault weapons that are already on the market, but not for other gun sales.