Proposed ‘Assault Weapons Ban’ Includes Grandfather Clause, Contrary to Social Media Posts – FactCheck.org


Quick Take 

The House passed a bill on July 29 that would make it a crime to knowingly “import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon.” Social media posts falsely claim “millions of people will become felons overnight” because of the bill. Under the bill, current owners of such firearms would be allowed to keep them. 


Full Story 

On July 29, the House passed H.R.1808, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022, which would make it a crime to knowingly “import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon (SAW) or large capacity ammunition feeding device (LCAFD)” — with some exemptions. 

The bill was introduced in March, but didn’t come up for a vote until after high-profile mass shootings this year that involved the use of AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles, including the May 24 massacre of 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school. The bill is not expected to advance in the Senate. 

The House bill includes a grandfather clause, so current owners of such firearms would be allowed to keep them. The grandfather clause is similar to the 10-year ban that was included in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. That ban expired in 2004.

But posts on social media post falsely claim the bill will create millions of “overnight felons.”

With this ban, millions of people will become felons overnight, and they will not go quietly,” reads one Facebook post. 

A user on Twitter says, “I’ve been getting replies saying this is the same ban from the 90s and I’m pretty sure this one is more aggressive. Millions of people including myself would be overnight felons under this legislation and millions of people including myself will also not be turning any guns in.”

But the bill would allow current owners to keep grandfathered semi-automatic assault weapons, or SAW, and large capacity ammunition feeding devices, or LCAFD. A summary of the bill states:

  • “The bill permits continued possession, sale, or transfer of a grandfathered SAW, which must be securely stored. A licensed gun dealer must conduct a background check prior to the sale or transfer of a grandfathered SAW between private parties.”
  • “The bill permits continued possession of, but prohibits sale or transfer of, a grandfathered LCAFD.”

So, those who already own the firearms would not become felons and would be allowed to keep the guns they currently own. The bill would prevent them from buying new ones. 

Congress passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act earlier this year to provide incentives to states to enact their own gun control measures. The legislation — which was sponsored by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and signed into law by President Joe Biden on June 24 — did not include any weapon bans.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content. 

Sources

H.R.1808 – Assault Weapons Ban of 2022. Congress.gov. As passed by the House on 29 Jul 2022. 

H.R.3355 – Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Congress.gov. As passed on 13 Sep 1994.

Kapur, Sahil. “House passes assault weapons ban that’s doomed in the Senate.” NBC. 29 Jul 2022.

Kiely, Eugene. “Democratic Congressman Exaggerates Number of Gun ‘Massacres’.” FactCheck.org. 15 Jun 2022.

Narea, Nicole. “Congress passes a landmark gun control package.” Vox. 24 Jun 2022.

S.2938 – Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.  Congress.gov. As passed on 25 Jun 2022.



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