House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) admitted Wednesday that the purpose of a renewed congressional effort to pass a federal assault weapons ban is to outlaw rifles that are in “common use.” Though his admission may seem obvious, a committee Republican quickly pointed out that Nadler’s statement shows how the bill flagrantly violates Supreme Court precedent on the Second Amendment.
The judiciary committee held a markup hearing on Wednesday for H.R. 1808, the Assault Weapons Ban Act of 2021. The legislation would ban AR-15 rifles and other so-called “assault weapons,” as well as high-capacity magazines. It comes after a spate of high profile mass shootings in recent weeks, including at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York; an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas’ and a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois.
Prompted by these shootings, Congress passed bipartisan legislation that incentivizes states to enact “red flag” laws to take guns away from dangerous people, strengthens background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21, and funds mental health resources. But President Joe Biden and other Democrats believe these measures did not go far enough and have pushed to renew the 1994 federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.
“As we have learned all too well in recent years, assault weapons—especially when combined with high-capacity magazines—are the weapon of choice for mass shootings,” Nadler said in his opening remarks Wednesday. “These military-style weapons are designed to kill the most people in the shortest amount of time.”