Legislation introduced in Congress this month would require any semi-automatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine to be registered under the National Firearms Act.

The bill, H.R.4953, was filed last Friday in the House by U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Florida Democrat who is outspoken in his support of gun control measures. 

"Congress passed the National Firearms Act after the 1929 Valentine's Day massacre to tightly regulate certain machine guns & shotguns," said Deutch on social media Friday, going on to say, "It's time to update this law & regulate the weapon of choice in mass shootings: semiautomatic rifles."

Lacking from the Congressman's talking points is the fact that FBI crime statistics for 2019, the most recent year available, list rifles of all kinds as the type of weapon used in 364 of 13,927 tracked homicides across the country, or in about 2 percent of cases. By comparison, knives were used in 1,476 cases, or more than four times more often, while bodily weapons such as hands and feet were used in some 600 cases. Non-firearm/cutting weapons such as rocks and blunt objects were used in 1,593 cases. 

Semi-auto rifles are extremely popular on the American firearms market at all levels. First seen in domestic production with the Winchester Model 1905 – which used a circa 1901 patent – such guns have been available for well over a century. The follow-on Winchester Model 1907 was marketed with detachable 5-, 10-, and 20-round box magazines at about the time Theodore Roosevelt was president. Estimates are that the AR-15 and similar semi-automatics dubbed Modern Sporting Rifles by the NSSF, account for an estimated 19.8 million rifles in circulation, lending concrete numbers to the argument that such guns are in common use. 

H.R. 4953 has been referred to the Democrat-controlled House Ways and Means Committee and has eight co-sponsors.  

Banner image: Pre-ban FN FAL Semi-Automatic 50.64 "Paratrooper" Rifle in the Guns.com Vault. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)