WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) this week introduced a pair of bills to protect communities from assault weapons. The Assault Weapons Ban would ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and other high-capacity ammunition feeding devices. This includes the gun used by a shooter on January 22 to kill 11 people and injure 9 more at a Lunar New Year’s celebration in Monterey Park, Calif. The Age 21 Act would raise the minimum age to purchase assault weapons from 18 to 21, the same requirement that currently exists in law for handguns.

“It’s no coincidence that almost all of America’s deadliest shootings – including this weekend’s tragedy in Monterey Park – involve a military-style assault weapon. These are firearms designed with the sole purpose of killing as many people as possible and should not be sold to the public. Period,” said Murphy. “The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act proved there is growing consensus that we should require greater scrutiny for buyers under 21. If we don’t have the votes to ban assault weapons altogether, we should start by making sure that no one under the age of 21 is able to get their hands on these killing machines.”

“As used by the Lunar New Year’s shooter only days ago in Monterey Park, assault weapons have only one practical purpose – to kill or injure human beings,” said Blumenthal. “These military-style combat weapons – built for the battlefield and designed to maximize death and destruction – have brought bloodshed and carnage to our streets and continue to be the weapon of choice in countless mass shootings. Guns don’t respect state boundaries, which is why we need a national solution to restricting the ownership and use of assault weapons. Now is the time to honor gun violence victims and survivors with this common sense action.”

“We were tragically reminded this weekend of the deadly nature of assault weapons when a shooter used one to kill 11 people and injure 9 more at a Lunar New Year celebration in California,” said Feinstein. “The constant stream of mass shootings have one common thread: they almost all involve assault weapons. It’s because these weapons were designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible. They have no business in our communities or schools. It’s time we stand up to the gun lobby and remove these weapons of war from our streets, or at the very least keep them out of the hands of young people.”

The Assault Weapons Ban:

  1. Bans the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons by name. Owners may keep existing weapons.
  2. Bans any assault weapon with the capacity to utilize a magazine that is not a fixed 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 may keep existing weapons.
  3. 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 may keep existing magazines.
  4. Requires a background check on any future sale, trade or gifting of an assault weapon covered by the bill.
  5. Requires that grandfathered assault weapons are stored using a secure gun storage or safety device like a trigger lock.
  6. Prohibits the transfer of high-capacity ammunition magazines.
  7. Bans bump-fire stocks and other devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at fully automatic rates.


  1. The bill exempts by name more than 2,200 guns for hunting, household defense or recreational purposes.
  2. The bill includes a grandfather clause that exempts all weapons lawfully possessed at the date of enactment.

The Age 21 Act:

  1. Under current federal law, an individual is required to be at least 21 years old to legally purchase a handgun but only 18 years of age to legally purchase an assault rifle such as an AR-15.
  2. The legislation would create parity in federal firearms law by prohibiting the sale of assault weapons to individuals under 21.

U.S. Representative David Cicilline (D-R.I) will introduce a companion version of the Assault Weapons Ban in the House of Representatives.

“Once again, on Sunday morning, Americans woke up to the tragic news of another massacre perpetrated with an assault weapon. It is far past time to reenact an assault weapons ban and get these weapons of war out of our communities,” said Cicilline. “We passed the assault weapons ban in the House last year with bipartisan support, which was then blocked by Senate Republicans. We need to come together to enact this commonsense, effective, and proven policy to reduce gun violence and save lives. I thank Senator Feinstein for her partnership in this fight and look forward to introducing the House companion bill in the coming weeks.”