The nation’s largest gun-control group accused the government Thursday of violating the federal law that bans assault weapons by allowing manufacturers to rebuild existing, legally owned assault weapons, USA Today reports.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, along with the Million Mom March, made its allegation in a lawsuit against the Justice Department that probably will fuel the congressional debate over efforts to renew the assault-weapons ban, which expires in September.
The 1994 assault-weapons ban made the manufacture, transfer or possession of a semiautomatic assault weapon illegal.
But assault weapons owned before the law took effect were “grandfathered” into the law and are legal.
The Brady group’s lawsuit alleges that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has allowed gun manufacturers to make new housings, called “receivers,” for those assault weapons. A receiver is the metal housing for the firing mechanism of the gun and is defined in federal law as the gun itself.
The receivers are given new serial numbers, which the Brady Campaign says strengthens its argument that the receivers essentially are new guns.