January 30, 2023

Van Hollen, Cardin Join in Introducing Bills to Protect Communities, Schools from Assault Weapons

Assault Weapons Ban prohibits gun used in recent Monterey Park shooting

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) joined Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) in introducing a pair of bills to protect communities from assault weapons.

The Assault Weapons Ban would ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and other high-capacity ammunition feeding devices. This includes the gun used by a shooter on January 22 to kill 11 people and injure 9 more at a Lunar New Year’s celebration in Monterey Park, California.

The Age 21 Act would raise the minimum age to purchase assault weapons from 18 to 21, the same requirement that currently exists in law for handguns.

“Gun violence has traumatized our country for far too long – including 50 mass shootings just since the start of this year and the ongoing toll of daily killings in our neighborhoods. Inaction is not an option. That’s why I joined my colleagues to once again introduce a ban on assault weapons – and why I’ll be fighting to get it passed. This necessary legislation will help keep weapons of war off our streets and put a stop to this senseless violence,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“The anguish of families who have lost children to daily gun violence and mass shootings is indescribable. As a nation, as individuals, we cannot become numb to this pain. We must finally take meaningful action,” said Senator Cardin. “The assault weapons ban worked. It saved lives, and it never should have been allowed to expire. Congress needs to act with one voice to reinstate the assault weapons ban, and say we have had enough of the needless death.”

Full bill text of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2023 can be found here.

Full bill text of the Age 21 Act can be found here.

Congressman David Cicilline (D-R.I.) will introduce a companion version of the Assault Weapons Ban in the House of Representatives.

Assault Weapons Ban

  • Bans the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons by name. Owners may keep existing weapons.
  • Bans any assault weapon with the capacity to utilize a magazine that is not a fixed ammunition magazine and has one or more military characteristics including a pistol grip, a forward grip, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel or a folding or telescoping stock. Owners may keep existing weapons.
  • Bans magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, which allow shooters to quickly fire many rounds without needing to reload. Owners may keep existing magazines.
  • Requires a background check on any future sale, trade or gifting of an assault weapon covered by the bill.
  • Requires that grandfathered assault weapons are stored using a secure gun storage or safety device like a trigger lock.
  • Prohibits the transfer of high-capacity ammunition magazines.
  • Bans bump-fire stocks and other devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at fully automatic rates.


  • The bill exempts by name more than 2,200 guns for hunting, household defense or recreational purposes.
  • The bill includes a grandfather clause that exempts all weapons lawfully possessed at the date of enactment.

Age 21 Act 

  • Under current federal law, an individual is required to be at least 21 years old to legally purchase a handgun but only 18 years of age to legally purchase an assault rifle such as an AR-15.
  • The legislation would create parity in federal firearms law by prohibiting the sale of assault weapons to individuals under 21.