Congressman Chris Jacobs introduced the Federal Assault Weapons Licensing Act, legislation designed to put in place additional protections on accessing high-powered weapons.
“We saw firsthand in Buffalo, Uvalde and countless other communities around our nation that high-powered semi-automatic weapons have the capacity to cause an extreme amount of destruction in a very short amount of time. While the overwhelming majority of Americans who own these weapons are law-abiding, responsible gun owners – the increasing trend of mass shootings with these weapons shows additional safeguards must be placed upon obtaining them. My bill will better ensure these guns do not fall into the wrong hands, while still protecting Americans’ ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” Jacobs said.
The Federal Assault Weapons Licensing Act would create a new licensing system for any American seeking to purchase a new assault weapon – anyone who already owns an assault weapon at the time of enactment would be grandfathered in. The licensing process would require an individual to take a mandatory safety course, pass an FBI background check, submit fingerprints and provide proof of identity. This license would need to be renewed every five years if an individual wants to purchase or obtain additional assault weapons.
If an individual fails to pass a background check at the time of purchase, disqualifying information becomes available or DOJ finds an individual poses a threat to themselves or others, their license can be withdrawn. Importantly, this bill will also increase the availability of information on criminals that the FBI draws from when conducting a background check. The bill also contains protections for the privacy and constitutional rights of license holders.
The bill also incorporates reasonable exemptions. Like individuals who already own an assault weapon, active-duty military and law enforcement officers would not need a license. Additionally, the legislation allows an individual without a license to use an assault weapon at a shooting range, or for the purposes of hunting, if a license holder supervises. It also allows a non-license holder to assume a weapon if it is necessary to prevent imminent death or serious harm to another person.
“My legislation is common sense and provides a straightforward licensing process to ensure those who are purchasing and taking ownership of assault weapons are responsible, law-abiding Americans,” Jacobs said. “We can honor and protect our Second Amendment, while also ensuring that dangerous weapons do not fall into the wrong hands. We must do more to ensure the safety of our schools and communities, and I urge my colleagues to join me in sponsoring this legislation.”
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