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Nadler Floor Statement for the Assault Weapons Ban Act

Washington, D.C. - House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler today delivered the following remarks, as prepared, on the House floor in support of the Assault Weapons Ban Act of 2021 (H.R. 1808):
“Today, we take another step to advance historic gun violence prevention legislation.  H.R. 1808, the “Assault Weapons Ban Act of 2022,” restores and updates the prior assault weapons ban that kept weapons of war out of our communities for a decade before Republicans opposed its renewal. 

“As we have learned all too well in recent years, assault weapons—especially when combined with high-capacity magazines—are the weapon of choice for mass shootings.  These military-style weapons are designed to kill the most people in the shortest amount of time.

“Quite simply, there is no place for them on our streets.

“In 1994, we banned these killing machines—and countless lives were saved—but that ban was allowed to lapse ten years later.  And since then, we have seen the predictable results: mass shootings have increased exponentially and our public spaces—schools, movie theaters, supermarkets, houses of worship, parades, you name it—have all become vulnerable to attack.

“The Assault Weapons Ban Act would prohibit the sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices.  At the same time, it grandfathers existing semiautomatic assault weapons and contains numerous protections for law enforcement and responsible gun owners, including hunters, gun collectors, farmers, sport shooters, and those who use firearms for self-defense. 

“It is important to consider today’s debate in the context of our other efforts to address the violence plaguing our communities.

“Time and again, Democrats have advanced responsible gun safety legislation only to face Republican opposition.

“We have advanced legislation to conduct background checks for all gun sales, to close the Charleston loophole, to close the boyfriend loophole, and to keep guns away from those who are a danger to themselves or others.

“We advanced my bill, the Protecting Our Kids Act, and we sent the President the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was signed into law and will save lives.  These proposals were opposed by all but a few of our Republican colleagues.

“Today, they have another chance to take the action needed to make our communities safer.  Will they stand with us?  Or will they stand with an industry that—right now—is promoting a weapon to civilians as powerful enough to shoot through bulletproof vests?

“Will our Republican colleagues choose to defend the weapons of choice for mass murderers and those who seek to target law enforcement? 

“Or will they choose to defend Americans who simply want to go to school, to go shopping, to march in a parade, or go to a movie theater, without the fear of having a target on their back?

“It is an easy choice for me.

“I want to thank Congressman Cicilline for his leadership on this important legislation, I urge all of my colleagues to join me in supporting it, and I reserve the balance of my time.”

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