On July 29, the House passed a bill that would criminalize the “import, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession” of a semiautomatic assault weapon. It has been falsely claimed on social media that “millions of people will become felons overnight” as a result of the bill. Current owners of such firearms would be allowed to keep them if the bill passes.
The House passed H.R.1808 on July 29; it’s officially called the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022 and it makes it illegal to “import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon (SAW) or large capacity ammunition feeding device” (LCAFD) with few exceptions.
After several high-profile mass shootings this year involving AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles, including the May 24 massacre of 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school, the bill was finally put to a vote. There is little hope that the Senate will vote favorably on the bill.
Existing owners of such firearms would be allowed to keep them under a grandfather clause in the House bill. Similar to the 10-year ban in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the grandfather clause applies to crimes committed before the law went into effect. That restriction lapsed in 2004.
The bill will not produce millions of “overnight felons,” as some social media posts have falsely claimed.
According to one Facebook post, “with this ban, millions of people will become felons overnight, and they will not go quietly.”
On Twitter, one person writes, “I’ve been getting replies saying this is the same ban from the ’90s and I’m pretty sure this one is more aggressive.” Under this law, millions of people, including myself, would become overnight felons, and similarly large numbers of people, including myself, will not be turning in their firearms.
Semiautomatic assault weapons (SAW) and large capacity ammunition feeding devices (LCAFD) owned by law-abiding citizens would be exempt from the bill’s ban. According to the bill’s executive summary, grandfathered SAWs can be kept, sold, or transferred so long as they are stored safely. Before a grandfathered SAW can be sold or transferred between private parties, a background check must be conducted by a licensed gun dealer.
The bill states, “Previous owners of grandfathered LCAFDs may retain ownership of their property but may not sell or otherwise dispose of their holdings.”
Those who have guns already would not be considered criminals for possessing them, and they could keep their weapons. New purchases would be out of the question due to the legislation.
To encourage individual states to take action on gun control, Congress passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act earlier this year. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the bill’s primary sponsor, and Vice President Joe Biden signed it into law on June 24 without including any restrictions on the use or possession of firearms.
Note from the editors: Facebook has partnered with several fact-checking groups, including FactCheck.org. You can read our back issues here. Our editorial content is independent of Facebook.
This is Ko Lyn Cheang. The AR-15 style rifle used in the Greenwood shooting is associated with the deadliest mass shootings. The Star of Indianapolis. 22 Jul 2022.
The Assault Weapons Ban of 2022, H.R.1808. Congress.gov. House Resolution 29 July 2022.
The Law Enforcement and Violent Crime Prevention Act of 1994 (H.R.3355). Congress.gov. With the 13th of September, 1994, as it was officially passed.
Sahil Kapur. The Senate will never approve the assault weapons ban that just passed the House. Network Television on the 29th of July, 2022.
It’s Eugene Kiely’s name on the page. “Democratic Congressman Inflates Death Toll from Guns.” FactCheck.org. 15 Jun 2022.
It’s Nicole Narea. Legislation restricting the availability of firearms has just been approved by Congress, marking a significant milestone in this field. Vox, June 24th, 2022.
Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (S.2938). Congress.gov. The resolution became law on June 25, 2022.
Contrary to social media posts, the proposed “assault weapons ban” does include a grandfather provision.
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