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R42957 - Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Legal Issues

R42957 - Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Legal Issues

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Published by Noone001
In the 113th Congress, there has been renewed congressional interest in gun control legislation.
On January 16, 2013, President Obama announced his support for legislation on gun control,
including a ban on certain semiautomatic assault firearms and large capacity ammunition feeding
devices. Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced S. 150, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, which
would prohibit, subject to certain exceptions, the sale, transfer, possession, manufacturing, and
importation of specifically named firearms and other firearms that have certain features, as well
as the transfer and possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices. Representative
Carolyn McCarthy introduced a companion measure, H.R. 437, in the House of Representatives.
S. 150 is similar to the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 (P.L. 103-322) that was in effect through
September 13, 2004.
The Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 was challenged in the courts for violating, among other things,
the Equal Protection Clause and the Commerce Clause. This report reviews the disposition of
these challenges. It also discusses Second Amendment jurisprudence in light of the Supreme
Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller and how lower courts have evaluated state and
local assault weapons bans post-Heller.
In the 113th Congress, there has been renewed congressional interest in gun control legislation.
On January 16, 2013, President Obama announced his support for legislation on gun control,
including a ban on certain semiautomatic assault firearms and large capacity ammunition feeding
devices. Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced S. 150, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, which
would prohibit, subject to certain exceptions, the sale, transfer, possession, manufacturing, and
importation of specifically named firearms and other firearms that have certain features, as well
as the transfer and possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices. Representative
Carolyn McCarthy introduced a companion measure, H.R. 437, in the House of Representatives.
S. 150 is similar to the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 (P.L. 103-322) that was in effect through
September 13, 2004.
The Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 was challenged in the courts for violating, among other things,
the Equal Protection Clause and the Commerce Clause. This report reviews the disposition of
these challenges. It also discusses Second Amendment jurisprudence in light of the Supreme
Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller and how lower courts have evaluated state and
local assault weapons bans post-Heller.

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Published by: Noone001 on Feb 23, 2013
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CRS Report for Congress
 Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Legal Issues
Vivian S. Chu
Legislative AttorneyFebruary 14, 2013
Congressional Research Service
7-5700www.crs.govR42957
 
 Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Legal IssuesCongressional Research Service
Summary
In the 113
th
Congress, there has been renewed congressional interest in gun control legislation.On January 16, 2013, President Obama announced his support for legislation on gun control,including a ban on certain semiautomatic assault firearms and large capacity ammunition feedingdevices. Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced S. 150, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, whichwould prohibit, subject to certain exceptions, the sale, transfer, possession, manufacturing, andimportation of specifically named firearms and other firearms that have certain features, as wellas the transfer and possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices. RepresentativeCarolyn McCarthy introduced a companion measure, H.R. 437, in the House of Representatives.S. 150 is similar to the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 (P.L. 103-322) that was in effect throughSeptember 13, 2004.The Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 was challenged in the courts for violating, among other things,the Equal Protection Clause and the Commerce Clause. This report reviews the disposition of these challenges. It also discusses Second Amendment jurisprudence in light of the SupremeCourt’s decision in
 District of Columbia v. Heller 
and how lower courts have evaluated state andlocal assault weapons bans post-
 Heller 
.
 
 Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Legal IssuesCongressional Research Service
Contents
Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 1
 
Gun Control Act of 1968 ................................................................................................................. 1
 
Restrictions on Sales .................................................................................................................. 2
 
Restrictions on Interstate Transfers ........................................................................................... 2
 
The 1994 Assault Weapons Ban ...................................................................................................... 3
 
Banned Weapons and Exemptions ............................................................................................. 4
 
Importation of Assault Weapons Under 18 U.S.C. §925(d)(3) .................................................. 5
 
S. 150 and H.R. 437 Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 ........................................................... 6
 
Legal Challenges to the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban ....................................................................... 7
 
Commerce Clause ...................................................................................................................... 7
 
Equal Protection Clause ............................................................................................................ 9
 
Second Amendment Consideration ................................................................................................ 11
 
Contacts
Author Contact Information........................................................................................................... 14
 
Acknowledgments ......................................................................................................................... 14
 

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