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Rep. Phillips Signs on as Original Sponsor of Bill to Reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban

Phillips joins gun violence prevention experts and a majority of Americans in call for commonsense reform on anniversary of Parkland tragedy

Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03) today announced that he is an original sponsor of a bill to reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban (H.R. 1296). Phillips, a gun owner himself, has been a strong advocate for commonsense measures that would help save lives.

“Thoughts and tweets don’t save lives,” said Phillips. “Courage and action saves lives. The facts are staggering, and the need is clear; thousands of Americans, including children, are being massacred at an alarming rate by weapons that were designed for the battlefield. Data shows that an Assault Weapons Ban saves lives. I believe the science, and that’s why I’m taking action to prevent weapons meant for military combat from appearing on our streets and in our schools.”

This week marks the first anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which claimed seventeen lives, injured seventeen more, and refocused attention on the nation’s gun violence crisis. The shooter legally purchased his military-style assault weapon.

Easy-to-obtain assault weapons were once banned under U.S. law. The Washington Post reported that, compared with the 10-year period before the ban, the number of gun massacres during the ban period fell by 37 percent, and the number of people dying from gun massacres fell by 43 percent during the years assault weapons were banned in the U.S. But after the ban lapsed in 2004, the numbers shot up again - an astonishing 183 percent increase in massacres and a 239 percent increase in massacre deaths.

A 2017 Pew Research Center poll found that 68 percent of adults - including half of all gun owners - favor returning a ban on assault weapons.

Rep. Phillips has worked closely with Rep. Ted Deutch, who represents Parkland, FL, on this and several other gun violence prevention and education initiatives. Rep. Phillips sponsored H.R. 8 requiring universal background checks on all gun sales during his first week in Washington and is a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force for the 116th Congress.