Shootings revive push for an assault weapons ban.

The 1994 ban blocked the sale of 19 specific weapons that have the features of guns used by the military. It expired in 2004 and any new proposals are unlikely to pass a divided Senate.

Dr. Roy Guerrero, a physician from Uvalde, Texas, gathered in Washington in December to call on Congress to pass an assault weapon ban.
Credit...Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

As Californians were dealing with a mass shooting in Monterey Park, the White House on Monday said it was renewing a push for sweeping gun control measures in the Senate that would renew the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.

“Communities across America have been struck by tragedy after tragedy, including mass shootings from Colorado Springs to Monterey Park,” President Biden said in a statement.

Just moments later, a gunman killed seven people in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

The 1994 ban, which passed as part of a broader crime bill championed by Mr. Biden, then a senator, blocked the sale of 19 specific weapons that have the features of guns used by the military, including semiautomatic rifles and certain types of shotguns and handguns. It also outlawed magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. People who already had such weapons were allowed to keep them.

Mass-shooting fatalities were dramatically less likely to occur in the United States during the decade the ban was in effect, a 2019 study by researchers at New York University Grossman School of Medicine showed.

But the assault weapons ban was contentious. The N.R.A. and Republicans have vigorously opposed it, arguing that it is ineffective and that it infringes on the Second Amendment.

In 2004, Congress allowed it to expire amid lobbying by the N.R.A. and gun-rights activists. After almost every mass shooting since, there has been an effort in Congress to bring back the ban. But all have failed in the face of Republican opposition.

The White House statement came after the House, then controlled by the Democrats, passed legislation in July that aimed to renew a ban on assault weapons. But it stood no chance of passing in the divided Senate. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California has now introduced legislation that would ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and raise the purchasing age to 21, the White House statement said.

“I urge both chambers of Congress to act quickly and deliver this Assault Weapons Ban to my desk,” Mr. Biden said.