A so-called assault weapons ban narrowly passed by the House of Representatives with help from two GOP members now heads to the Senate where it is all but certain to fail because of the filibuster.
Even if Democrats manage to peel off one or two moderate Republicans, they will not get enough defectors to overcome the filibuster, which requires 60 votes.
The ban would make it illegal to “import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess” any “semiautomatic assault weapon (SAW) or large capacity ammunition feeding device (LCAFD).”
AR-15s would be banned under the legislation; Business Insider estimates that nearly 20 million of the rifles are in circulation in the U.S.
That number has more than doubled from 8.5 million in 2004 when the Bill Clinton-passed assault weapons ban expired.
If legislation like this ever does pass in the U.S., it would be difficult if not impossible to confiscate this number of weapons from citizens, many of which are strong supporters of the Second Amendment.
Supporters of the bill think it will help prevent mass shootings, but there is very little evidence that is the case.
ABC News reported in February that only 2% of people in prison own an “assault rifle” as opposed to 18% that own a handgun.
In addition, ABC reported that more mass shootings are committed with handguns than long guns.
Pew Research pointed out that deaths from mass shootings are a tiny fraction of total gun deaths. Even under the most liberal definition of a mass shooting, 513 people were killed in mass shootings out of a total of 45,222.
More than half of gun deaths (54%) are due to suicide, and a small percentage (3%) are accidental.
Of course, lawmakers are oversimplifying the issue, and most of them just want to be seen as doing “something” about the mass shootings that, although they are rare, are given a hugely disproportionate amount of media attention.
This particular legislation was passed after two high-profile mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas.