Last updated on: 11/15/2023 | Author:

Should the U.S. Ban Assault Weapons?

A 1994 federal law that banned assault weapons expired in 2004 and has not been renewed by Congress so no federal assault weapons ban currently exists. 10 states and D.C., have a version of an assault weapon ban, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Washington. For more on gun control, explore the ProCon debate.

Source: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, “Assault Weapons,” (accessed Nov. 9, 2023)

PRO (yes)


Joe Biden:

“We have to do more to stop gun violence. It’s ripping our communities apart, ripping the soul of this nation — ripping at the very soul of the nation. And we — we have to do more to protect our schools so they aren’t turned into prisons. You know, the shooter in this situation [the Mar. 27, 2023 mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee] reportedly had two assault weapons and a pistol — two AK-47. So I call on Congress, again, to pass my assault weapons ban. It’s about time that we begin to make some more progress.”


White House, “Remarks by President Biden at the SBA Women’s Business Summit,”, Mar. 27, 2023


Robert F. Kennedy, Jr:

“If we can get a consensus on it, if Republicans and Democrats agree to it and it passes Congress, I would sign it [an assault weapons ban].”


Hanna Trudo, “RFK Jr. Argues Gun Control Cannot ‘Meaningfully’ Reduce Gun Violence,”, June 28, 2023

CON (no)


Doug Burgum:

Editors’ Note: On Apr. 26, 2021, Burgum issued a proclamation making North Dakota a “Second Amendment Sanctuary State.” He also signed HB 1383, which prevents state and local police agencies from enforcing federal gun control laws if the federal laws are more restrictive than state laws. North Dakota does not have a state assault weapons ban.


Source for Editors’s Note: Jeremy Turley, “Gov. Doug Burgum Labels North Dakota a ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary’ As State Leaders Double Down on Pro-Gun Laws,”, Apr. 26, 2021


Chris Christie:

“Well listen, in 1995, Sean [Hannity], I was 32 years old and I’ve changed my mind. And the biggest reason that I changed my mind was my seven years as a federal prosecutor. What I learned in those seven years was that we were spending much too much time talking about gun laws against law-abiding citizens and not nearly enough time talking about enforcing the gun laws strongly against criminals. I learned the difference, and I learned what the limitations are of these laws that people are talking about and how they much, much more greatly infringe on law-abiding citizens than they do anything to prevent crime. Having learned that, my position’s changed.”

Editors’ Note: Above Christie is responding to a question from Sean Hannity about his support of assault weapons bans in 1995. In 1993, Christie stated that keeping the assault weapons ban is the “issue which has energized me to get into this [New Jersey governor’s] race.” He called opponents of the bans, “dangerous,” “crazy” and “radical” in 1995.


Nolan D. McCaskill, “Christie Says He ‘Changed His Mind’ on Guns,”, Jan. 7, 2016


Vivek Ramaswamy:

Andrew Cuomo: “Everyone has a gun? Everyone has an assault weapon? A former felon? No background check? Concealed carry?”

Vivek Ramaswamy: “Has the right to. And I do think concealed carry is important, constitutional carry is important.”


Sally Goldenberg, “Ramaswamy: Former Felons Should Be Allowed To Carry Guns,”, Sep. 7, 2023


Donald Trump:

“I certainly stand by my opposition to Gun Control when it comes to taking guns from law-abiding citizens. You mention that the media describes the AR-15 as an ‘assault rifle,’ which is one example of the many distortions they use to sell their agenda. However, the AR-15 does not fall under this category. Gun-banners are unfortunately preoccupied with the AR-15, magazine capacity, grips, and other aesthetics, precisely because of its popularity.

To the Left every gun is an assault weapon.

Gun control does not reduce crime. It has consistently failed to stop violence. Americans are entitled to protect their families, their property and themselves.”

Editors’ Note: In his 2005 book, The America We Deserve, Trump expressed support for assault weapons bans: “I generally oppose gun control but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.”


Fredy Riehl, “Donald Trump Talks: Gun Control, Assault Weapons, Gun Free Zones & Self Defense,”, July 7, 2015

Not Clear or Not Found

Ron DeSantis:

No position as of Nov. 7, 2023.

Nikki Haley:

“I don’t deal with hypotheticals. I’m not going to deal with hypotheticals. We’re not going to go down that route. What I will tell you is we’re going to deal with mental health once and for all.”

Editors’ Note: Haley offered the above response when asked if she would sign an assault weapons ban.


Paul Steinhauser, “Nikki Haley Says Treating Shootings As Only a ‘Gun Issue Is the Lazy Way Out’ After Nashville School Tragedy,”, Mar. 29, 2023