It's inevitable. Every Congress a Democrat introduces an Assault Weapons Ban, with the hopes of turning the most popular rifle in America – the AR 15 (which stands for Armalite Rifle Model 15) – into a firearm that can no longer be possessed. Usually these types of bills fall very heavily on party lines, with Democrats supporting it and Republicans wanting nothing to do with the legislation.
That has now changed.
Rep. Pete King (R-NY) has signed onto the Assault Weapons Ban Act of 2019, which was first introduced in February by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI). He is the first Republican to sign onto this legislation, New York Daily News reported.
“They are weapons of mass slaughter,” King said. “I don’t see any need for them in everyday society."
The shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio pushed King to support an Assault Weapons Ban, although he has been a proponent of gun control in the past.
"The tragic shootings in El Paso and Dayton demonstrate again the need to address gun violence. Sensible gun regulation is essential as is psychological study of who resorts to gun violence and why and what early indicators there might be," King said in a statement following the shootings. "Our prayers must be with those killed and wounded and their families."
"I think the assault weapons ban is timely now, especially in view of the shooting in El Paso and Dayton," he said.
But it's not surprising that King came to the decision he did.
"It’s unfortunate that Representative King’s assessment of modern sporting rifles come straight from the talking points of gun control groups," the National Shooting Sports Foundation's Director of Public Affairs, Mark Oliva, told Townhall. "His note that no one 'needs' a modern sporting rifle tells us where he is being informed on firearms policy. Our Second Amendment is included in the Bill if Rights, not a Bill of Needs."
King has been a supporter of gun control in the past. He's previously supported bills, like the Toomey-Manchin Bill, which expands background checks for firearms purchases.
While most gun control supporting Democrats want an Assault Weapons Ban, the party has focused heavily on making universal background checks a reality. The reason? They believe there's more support for universal background checks than an Assault Weapons Ban.
While Democrats are quick to spew the same talking points about background checks and an Assault Weapons Ban, they fail to miss a few key points.
The term "assault weapon" is arbitrary and typically refers to AR-15s, because Democrats believe AR stands for assault rifle (but it doesn't). ARs are big, black and scary so they must be banned. The silliest thing is their requirements for what constitutes an "assault weapon" are based on cosmetic features, like a collapsable stock or detachable magazine, not the firearm's functionality. It's like they think that a collapsable stock will suddenly turn a semi-automatic firearm (where one bullet is fired with one pull of the trigger), suddenly becomes an automatic firearm (where rounds are continually fired as long as the trigger is pressed and there is ammunition in the magazine).
Democrats want to expand background checks but the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) isn't wholesome. As of now, only 38 states provide 80 percent of their criminal convictions to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which is in charge of NICS. If all convictions aren't being reported, background checks are a toss up. It's the reason Fix NICS was such a big deal when it passed. Slowly, but surely, NICS is being updated. Not only that, but in recent mass shootings, the gunmen had no criminal history or backgrounds that would have prevented them from obtaining firearms.