Menendez, Deutch Renew Push to Ban High-Capacity Gun Magazines
The Boulder gunman used a Ruger AR-556 Pistol which holds 30 rounds
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Congressman Ted Deutch (D-Fla.-22) today reintroduced the Keep Americans Safe Act, renewing a concerted effort to ban the importation, sale, manufacturing, transfer, or possession of gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. These high-capacity magazines are designed for shooting and killing en masse and have been the accessory of choice in some of the bloodiest mass shootings in America.
The introduction of this bill comes days before the 14th anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting and the 22nd anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, two of the deadliest mass shootings in American history perpetrated by mass shooters equipped with high-capacity magazines.
“We stand today with families and countless communities across America that have felt the despair of losing a loved one, friend, or neighbor in a mass shooting executed with guns equipped with a high-capacity magazine. High-capacity magazines are good for one thing and one thing only—high-capacity killing,” said Sen. Menendez. “The Keep Americans Safe Act is a common sense piece of legislation that will save lives and will finally limit the sale of large capacity magazines that are designed for killing as many people as possible without having to stop and reload. We can no longer afford to do nothing as the scourge of gun violence continues to ravage communities across the country, and must address this as the real emergency that it is.”
“I commend President Biden’s executive actions on gun violence which will protect our communities and save lives. But they cannot take the place of Congressional action,” Rep. Deutch said. “As President Biden told the country, there is absolutely no need for high-capacity magazines that can hold 100 rounds, 50 rounds, or 30 rounds: not for sport, not for self-defense, not for law-abiding gun owners. These are the magazines of choice in mass shootings because they maximize human casualties. This bill helps to significantly reduce the number of casualties in horrific mass shootings that have returned to the headlines in recent weeks. Congress must not turn away from these tragedies; we must take action to save lives.”
The Keep Americans Safe Act is cosponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jackie Rosen (D-Nev.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Angus King (I-Maine), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). In the House, Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.-01) and Dina Titus (D-Nev.-01) joined Rep. Deutch as original cosponsors of this legislation.
In addition to prohibiting large-capacity ammunition magazines, this bill includes the following provisions:
- Provides limited exceptions for devices possessed before enactment, for certain current and former law enforcement personnel, for certain Atomic Energy personnel and purpose, for tubular devices that can only accept .22 rimfire ammunition, and for certain authorized testing or experimentation;
- Modifies the high-capacity definition to prevent coupled or joined magazines;
- Authorizes a buyback program for high capacity magazines using Byrne JAG grants;
- Requires devices manufactured after enactment to have conspicuous serial numbers and date of manufacture to help law enforcement identify restricted magazines;
- Harmonizes forfeiture provisions for magazines with current law; currently FBI and ATF can seize and destroy certain firearms but not high capacity magazines.
Full text of the bill can be downloaded HERE.
The legislation is supported by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence; Everytown; March for Our Lives; Change The Ref; Coalition to Stop Gun Violence; Center for American Progress and Violence Policy Center; Orange Ribbons for Gun Safety.
“High capacity magazines are the common denominator in the deadliest mass shootings in modern American history,” said Brady President Kris Brown. “Whether coupled with a handgun or an assault rifle, high capacity magazines increase the lethality of every shooting and it is long past time that we limit how many times a trigger can be pulled before a shooter needs to reload. . The Keep America Safe Act will keep these instruments of war off our streets and help to eliminate this threat to public safety and law enforcement. Brady thanks Rep. Deutch for introducing this common-sense and important bill.”
“To effectively work to address our nation’s gun violence epidemic, we must discuss the types of weapons widely available on America’s streets,” said Adzi Vokhiwa, Federal Affairs Director at Giffords. “In too many mass shootings, large-capacity magazines are used to transform a firearm from a dangerous weapon to one capable of mass murder. We are proud to support Congressman Deutch and Senator Menendez in their effort to address the dangerous threat large capacity magazines pose to our communities. We look forward to continuing to work with them to ensure that these lethal accessories are no longer accessible to those who seek to cause harm.”
“High capacity magazines amplify the damage of shootings in our country and contribute to the ongoing gun violence in America,” said Zeenat Yahya, Deputy Policy Director at March for Our Lives. “The Keep Americans Safe Act is critical legislation that would drastically limit these dangerous and violent accessories designed for shooting en masse. We thank Representative Deutch, Sen. Menendez, and all of the co-sponsors for their leadership on this issue and urge Congress to act on this.”
“My son, Joaquin Oliver, was murdered with a legally purchased AR-15 killing machine. Our elected officials allow our society to arm ourselves and kill each other by holding a political narrative that promotes the sales of weapons and ignores the more than 40K victims of gun violence per year. For these reasons, we must support the Keep Americans Safe Act,” said Manuel Oliver, co-founder Change The Ref.
“My name is Fred Guttenberg. I am a father to Jesse and Jaime Guttenberg. Both of my children were in the Parkland school shooting. My son Jesse was not injured, but my daughter Jaime was murdered that day. Jesse will forever live with the sound of those bullets killing his sister. Why? Why would we not do everything possible to save lives in America? Why is this even a debate? As a country, we need to do everything possible to lower the gun violence death rate, the instances of gun violence, and the severity of gun violence injuries when they happen. A ban on high capacity magazines will do that. WE MUST PASS THE KEEP AMERICANS SAFE ACT,” said Fred Guttenberg, Orange Ribbons For Gun Safety.
“I am in full support of the Keep Americans Safe Act because it will reduce the number of rounds in a firearm magazine to 10 or less. Both my husband, Chris Hixon, and my son, Thomas Hixon, are military veterans and I understand the need for these high-capacity magazines in the military but as a surviving spouse of someone killed in the Parkland shooting, I know these magazines are not needed on the streets of America,” said Debbi Hixon, whose husband, Chris, was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. “I am glad to see the limited exceptions included in the bill because it shows a good faith effort to reach across the aisle and create a bill that all parties can embrace and support.”