WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and a number of their colleagues today introduced the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017, a bill to ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons. The legislation also contains a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines. Last month, Senators Menendez and Booker also introduced a standalone bill that would ban such magazines.

“There is no sensible reason any American needs to buy an assault weapon,” said Senator Menendez. “Weapons of war are unnecessary for hunting. Unnecessary for personal protection. Unnecessary for sport. There is only one reason anyone would need assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, and that’s mass murder. This legislation is common sense, and after two of the largest mass shootings in American history occurred less than six weeks apart, I hope my Republican colleagues put the safety of America’s men, women and children ahead of the donations and influence of the NRA.”

“There is absolutely no reason military-style weapons intended for the battlefield should be allowed in our communities — and there are many reasons they must not be,” said Senator Cory Booker. “Our bill will help prevent these types of firearms from being used to inflict ever more harm. Mass shootings are becoming more and more commonplace in America, and anyone who tells you that there’s nothing we can do is disregarding common sense solutions upon which we all should agree."

“We’re introducing an updated Assault Weapons Ban for one reason: so that after every mass shooting with a military-style assault weapon, the American people will know that a tool to reduce these massacres is sitting in the Senate, ready for debate and a vote,” said Senator Feinstein. “This bill won’t stop every mass shooting, but it will begin removing these weapons of war from our streets. The first Assault Weapons Ban was just beginning to show an effect when the NRA stymied its reauthorization in 2004. Yes, it will be a long process to reduce the massive supply of these assault weapons in our country, but we’ve got to start somewhere.”

Key provisions

  • Bans the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons by name. Owners can keep existing weapons.
  • Bans any assault weapon that accepts a detachable ammunition magazine and has one or more military characteristics, including a pistol grip, a forward grip, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel or a folding or telescoping stock. Owners can keep existing weapons.
  • Bans magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, which allow shooters to quickly fire many rounds without needing to reload. Owners can keep existing magazines.

Exemptions to bill

  • The bill exempts by name more than 2,200 guns for hunting, household defense or recreational purposes. This list will be updated to include additional weapons.
  • The bill includes a grandfather clause that exempts all weapons lawfully possessed at the date of enactment.

Other provisions:

  • Requires a background check on any future sale, trade or gifting of an assault weapon covered by the bill.
  • Requires that grandfathered assault weapons are stored using a secure gun storage or safety device like a trigger lock.
  • Prohibits the transfer of high-capacity ammunition magazines.
  • Bans bump-fire stocks and other devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at fully automatic rates.

Joining Senators Menendez and Feinstein on the bill are Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).