Time and time again the United States has seen some form of assault weapon used in our most devastating mass shootings. These weapons are often semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15. These weapons deliver, “a devastatingly lethal, high-velocity bullet to the victim.”  They are designed to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Their lethality is often compounded by the use of devices like bump stocks, and by large capacity magazines.
Assault weapons are lightweight, customizable semi automatic rifles that mimic or are a version of military weapons like the M16. Firearms like these have been used in the mass shootings that have taken place in Sandy Hook (28 killed, 2 injured), Orlando (50 killed, 53 injured),  Las Vegas (58 killed, 527 injured), Aurora (12, killed 58 injured), Parkland (17 dead, 14 injured) and San Bernardino (14 dead, 21 injured).
“A typical AR-15 bullet leaves the barrel traveling almost three times faster than-and imparting more than three times the energy of- a typical 9mm bullet from a handgun.” 
Everytown for Gun Safety found that between 2009-2015, shootings where assault weapons and/or large capacity ammunition magazines were used resulted in 155% more people shot and 47% more people killed compared to other incidents. 
Within PA, half of the law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty over the past decade were killed with a long gun. Eight officers were killed with a semi automatic rifle. 
Banning assault weapons is a common sense solution to prevent gun violence. A June 2018 poll conducted by Franklin and Marshall showed that 61% of Pennsylvanians support a ban on assault weapons. 
States can — and should — pass laws to protect their communities and limit the types of guns sold without infringing on the rights of gun owners. California, Connecticut, and New Jersey currently have bans on assault weapons.
The United States passed a nationwide assault weapons ban in 1994. The bi-partisian legislation was signed into law in September of ‘94 and was in effect for 10 years until the legislation sunsetted in 2004. At that time Congress failed to renew the legislation ushering in a new era of assault weapons to flood the marketplace.
What can you do?
Urge your state representatives to support a ban on assault weapons as well as high capacity magazines and urge your U.S. Congressperson and Senators to do the same on the federal level.