What Biden and Harris are proposing:
Few issues unite Democratic voters like gun policy. And so while Biden has tacked to the center of his party on health care and climate policy, when it comes to gun regulations, his proposals are as assertive as any of his erstwhile primary challengers.
Topping that list is his plan to ban both “assault weapons” and magazines that hold more than a certain number of rounds — though he has not specified what that limit should be.
Lawmakers have long struggled to define “assault weapons.” Biden calls for legislation that would “prevent manufacturers from circumventing the law by making minor changes that don’t limit the weapon’s lethality.”
What California is doing:
California banned assault weapons in 1989 and has been building on that ban ever since. But there is no technical definition for the term. For gun restriction advocates, assault weapons fall into that nebulous “you know it when you see it” category of vices. California’s ban nonetheless cobbles together its own definition of banned guns based on a loose assemblage of characteristics: a “semi-automatic, centerfire rifle” with a detachable magazine and at least one of a handful of other suspect features.
In 2016, California voters also approved a ban on magazines that hold 10 rounds or more.
How’s it going here?
Banning a wide category of firearms in the United States is easier said than done.
California’s feature-specific definition of an illegal assault weapon has triggered a cottage industry of firearm add-ons and design tweaks that skirt around the letter of the law, while enthusiastically violating its spirit. It’s a never-ending game of legal and regulatory whack-a-mole as Sacramento bans a particular workaround, only for a new one to pop up.
The state’s high-capacity magazine ban has had an ever tougher go of it. First a district court and then Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal judges have ruled that the state’s ban is unconstitutional.