DHS secretary says he would support an assault weapons ban, then fails to deliver a definition of ‘assault weapon’

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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana that he agrees with President Joe Biden’s position that assault weapons should be banned in the U.S. — but when pressed to define the term “assault weapon,” Mayorkas failed to deliver.

During a Tuesday Senate Judiciary Committee hearing when Kennedy asked Mayorkas what an assault weapon is, Mayorkas responded by providing the example of an AK-47.

Kennedy asked Mayorkas if he could provide a definition aside from “pointing to a specific weapon,” and he asked if there would be other firearms in addition to AK-47s that Mayorkas would ban.

Mayorkas indicated he would support banning other weapons as well and said that when he served as a federal prosecutor, most law enforcement leaders he worked with supported the assault weapons ban.

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Kennedy interrupted and asked Mayorkas if he knew “why we get so frustrated with you? Because you won’t give straight answers.”

“I think I just did,” Mayorkas chimed in.

“No you didn’t,” Kennedy said before again pressing Mayorkas for a definition of an assault weapon.

Mayorkas said he is “confident there is a technical definition” that was used in connection with a previous assault weapons ban.

The U.S. previously had an assault weapons ban, which is no longer in place, and some politicians want to impose another ban. Last year, the House passed the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2022,” which Biden supported, but the measure never reached his desk.

Kennedy has served in the U.S. Senate since 2017.

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