In-Depth: Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) introduced this bill to ban firearm magazines that are able to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition two days ahead of the first anniversary of the mass shooting and murder in Parkland, Florida:
“House Democrats were sent to Congress to address the epidemic of gun violence in our country, and this legislation is another significant measure toward keeping this promise to the American people. Whether you're using a firearm for sport or self-defense, there is no need for a magazine that can hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. Large capacity magazines are used almost universally in mass shootings because of their ability to maximize casualties. This proposal is a way to respect law-abiding gun owners while reducing the magnitude of death and injury caused in mass shootings. With the memory of those killed in Columbine, Newtown, Las Vegas, and Parkland in our hearts, we introduce this bill to make communities safer.”
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) introduced this bill’s Senate companion and added:
“The Keep Americans Safe Act would finally limit the sale of large capacity magazines that are not designed for hunting or self-defense but instead for killing as many people as possible without having to stop and reload. Inaction on gun violence is not an option and anyone who refuses to address a real emergency like this one is complicit in the carnage. Together we must continue fighting for the day when we can truly say ‘never again’.”
Jennifer Baker, a National Rifle Association spokeswoman, expressed the gun rights organization’s opposition to this bill:
“This legislation would effectively ban the most commonly owned firearms for self-defense. It is an arbitrary limit pulled out of thin air with no evidence that the limits would improve public safety. In fact the after report from the deadliest school shooting in American history states that magazine limits would have had no impact. This is just more nonsense from anti-gun zealots who are looking to score political points by proposing legislation that would make criminals out of law-abiding citizens exercising their constitutional right to self-defense while doing nothing to deter criminals from committing crimes.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that his chamber will only take up gun control legislation that President Donald Trump is prepared to sign into law. The White House says that it’s currently in the process of drafting a gun violence prevention package.
This legislation passed the House Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote of 23-16 and has the support of 158 cosponsors in the House, all of whom are Democrats. Gun control groups such as Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords, and Sandy Hook Promise have also expressed support for this bill.
Of Note: Ammunition magazines with a capacity of 10 rounds or more are commonly included with many of the semi-automatic handguns and rifles kept by Americans for self-defense. For example, most pistols have magazines holding between 10 and 17 rounds. Those magazines were banned at the federal level from 1994-2004, when it expired.
As of April 2019, nine states and Washington, D.C. have adopted bans or restrictions on high-capacity magazines with varying definitions, as have several cities & counties. California instituted its high-capacity magazine ban in 2000, which was found unconstitutional and unenforceable by a federal district court in March 2019 under the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Heller. It’s currently under appeal in the Ninth Circuit.
Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / Jonathan Novack)