U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and David Cicilline (D-RI) introduced legislation on Feb. 1 to reinstate a nationwide ban on certain semi-automatic assault weapons and high-capacity gun magazines.
The legislation – known as the Assault Weapons Ban– will ban the sale of certain semi-automatic weapons, including the AR-15 rifle that’s been used in some of the nation’s most high-profile mass shootings, and high-capacity gun magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds of ammunition.
“There is no legitimate reason why any civilian in this country needs a gun that holds 30, 60 or even 100 rounds,” DeGette said at a press conference Wednesday to announce the legislation. “These devices aren’t designed for hunting; these devices are designed for war. And if we are going to get serious about protecting our communities, we have to get them off our streets now.”
While no two mass shootings are the same, a common thread that unites some of the nation’s deadliest mass shooting events has been the use of high-capacity gun magazines.
Research shows that shootings involving a high-capacity magazine – which allow a shooter to fire dozens of rounds without having to stop and reload – led to five times as many people being shot. And because they allow a shooter to kill more people in less time, the use of high-capacity magazines has become a commonality among some of the nation’s deadliest events.
“As a society, we cannot continue to live this way,” DeGette said. “We have to take it upon ourselves to stand up to the special interest and protect our communities from this constant source of violence.”
DeGette, who has led a congressional effort to ban the sale or transfer of high-capacity magazines nationwide for many years, reintroduced legislation Monday that would ban the sale or transfer of gun magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds. That legislation – known as the Keep Americans Safe Act – has now been included in the broader legislation DeGette and Cicilline introduced Wednesday to ban both high-capacity gun magazines and certain semi-automatic assault weapons.
“Just a couple of miles down the road from my home in Denver, Colorado, a gunman equipped with a 100-round magazine drum opened fire in a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and injuring 58 more,” DeGette said. “Using a high-capacity magazine, he shot 70 people in less than 2 minutes. Those who survived the shooting said they were pinned down, unable to move or flee, because of the constant barrage of bullets coming at them from the 100-round magazine.”
If approved, the Assault Weapons Ban would ban the sale, transfer, manufacturing or importation of the following:
- All semi-automatic rifles that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one of the following military features: (1) pistol grip; (2) forward grip; (3) folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; (4) grenade launcher; (5) barrel shroud; or (6) threaded barrel.
- All semi-automatic rifles that have a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 15 rounds.
- Bump fire stocks and any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment, or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle but not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machine gun.
- All semi-automatic pistols that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one of the following military features: (1) threaded barrel; (2) second pistol grip; (3) barrel shroud; (4) capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip; or (5) semi-automatic version of an automatic firearm.
- All semi-automatic shotguns that have at least one of the following (1) a folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; (2) pistol grip; (3) fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 5 rounds; (4) ability to accept a detachable magazine; (5) forward grip; (6) grenade launcher; or (7) shotgun with a revolving cylinder.
- High-capacity magazines capable of accepting more than 15 rounds.
The legislation would not prohibit the continued possession of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines lawfully possessed before the bill is enacted. And it would not apply to antique firearms, manually-operated firearms and several specific models of hunting and sporting firearms specifically listed in the bill.
Text of the legislation is available here. More details on DeGette’s Keep Americans Safe Act is available here. Video of DeGette’s remarks at today’s press conference announcing the broader bill is available here.
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