A group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week called on the White House to shut the door on imports of semiautomatic rifles and their magazines into the United States from abroad.

A letter signed by 60 House Dems, citing research from Bloomberg's Everytown anti-gun group, calls on President Biden to end the import of such guns, saying it would help address "public health and safety crises." The effort is led by U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo, who was backed for office last year by both the Bloomberg group and Giffords

"It is long past time to reinstate an assault weapons ban," said Neguse this week on social media. "While we make that a reality, there is another step [Biden] can take to help save lives — by banning the importation of these weapons."

According to figures compiled by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, of the approximately 3.3 million firearms imported into the United States in 2019, some 301,000 were rifles, of which about half were considered modern sporting rifles.

While imports of most firearms from China were ended by actions during the administrations of Presidents Bush and Clinton – and most popular models from Russia under President Obama – those decisions were largely billed as retaliatory measures for controversial policies by those countries – for example, the sanctions on Kalashnikov over Russia's involvement in Ukraine. Trimming imports from often key overseas allies such as Austria (home to Steyr), Bulgaria (Arsenal), the Czech Republic (CZ), Germany (HK/Schmeisser), Israel (IWI), Italy (Beretta), Romania (Cugir), and Serbia (Zastava) over progressive agendas in the U.S. would be a relatively new thing. 

Although many of those companies have established mature subsidiaries in America to better serve the U.S. market, making them semi-independent domestic producers in some cases, supply lines could be crippled when it comes to the import of vital components hailing from parent facilities overseas. Going further, such a move to bar "assault weapon" imports could see the supply of always-popular surplus military parts kits and magazines dry up as well. 

While relatively few AR-pattern rifles are made outside of the U.S., and fewer still are imported to the already crowded American firearms market, Vice President Kamala Harris promised in 2019 while on the campaign trail for Biden's job that she would institute an import ban on AR-15s should she reach the Oval Office.