The House Judiciary Committee approved legislation on September 10, introduced by U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) to reinstate a nationwide ban on high-capacity gun magazines.
The move comes as calls for Congress to change the nation’s gun laws continue to grow in the wake of the recent mass shootings that took place in El Paso, Texas; Gilroy, California and Dayton, Ohio.
The legislation, which was approved by a vote of 23 – 16, would ban the manufacture, sale, transfer or possession of high-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition – and would make federal funds available to buy back any high-capacity magazines already legally owned. The ban, however, would not apply to law enforcement who use high-capacity magazines in their official capacity.
“There is no legitimate reason why anyone, other than law enforcement, needs a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds,” DeGette said. “One of the most important things we can do, right now, to protect our communities is get these high-capacity magazines off our streets once and for all.”
More than half of all recent mass shootings, including the three mass shootings this summer, involved the use of high-capacity magazines.
“There is no legitimate reason why anyone, other than law enforcement, needs a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds. One of the most important things we can do, right now, to protect our communities is get these high-capacity magazines off our streets once and for all.”
Rep. Diana DeGette, Colorado
A gunman in Dayton, Ohio last month used a high-capacity magazine capable of holding up to 100 rounds of ammunition to fire 41 rounds – and kill nine people – in just 32 seconds. The shooters responsible for the recent attacks in El Paso, Texas and Gilroy, California also were found to be carrying high-capacity magazines.
The federal government had previously banned high-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds from 1994 to 2004. And there’s now a growing amount of evidence that suggests reinstating that ban would be one of the most effective ways to help protect communities across the country from the threat of gun violence.
Specifically, DeGette’s legislation – known as the Keep Americans Safe Act (H.R. 1186) – would:
- Make it a crime to sell or transfer a gun magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition to anyone other than law enforcement
- Make it a crime to import or manufacture a gun magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition for anyone other than law enforcement
- Require any high-capacity magazine manufactured (for law-enforcement purposes) after the ban takes effect to display a unique serial number and the date it was manufactured
- Make it a crime for anyone, other than law enforcement, to possess a high-capacity magazine that was manufactured after the ban takes effect.
- Make federal funds available to compensate individuals who surrender a high-capacity magazine under a buy-back program
The legislation now heads to the full House for consideration.
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