Duckworth, Durbin, Colleagues Renew Push to Ban High-Capacity Gun Magazines
[WASHINGTON, DC]—U.S Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to reintroduce 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 deadliest mass shootings in America.
The bill was reintroduced as the country observed 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.
“How many lives must be taken before we finally say, ‘enough is enough?’” Duckworth said. “I don’t want my daughters to have to grow up in a country that won’t protect them from firearm violence. It’s time Congress passes common sense public safety measures to help prevent mass shootings from continuing to devastate our communities, and I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Keep Americans Safe Act.”
“In the United States, mass shootings are almost a daily occurrence. Americans worry that they and their loved ones may be targets when they are going to school, sitting in movie theaters, attending concerts, shopping in grocery stores, or just walking in their neighborhoods. It is long past time to take common sense steps to reduce the toll of gun violence in America, including limiting the civilian use of high-capacity magazines that can inflict mass violence in a short time,” said Durbin. “I am proudly cosponsoring the Keep Americans Safe Act to help address our nation’s gun violence epidemic.”
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.
Joining Duckworth, Durbin, and Menendez as cosponsors of the Keep Americans Safe Act are Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI.), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jackie Rosen (D-NV), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Angus King (I-ME), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). In the House, Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO-01) and Dina Titus (D-NV-01) joined Rep. Deutch (D-FL-22) as original cosponsors of this legislation.
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.
Full text of the bill can be downloaded HERE.
In 2019, more than 39,700 Americans died from gun violence, which represents over 3,300 gun deaths each month, over 763 gun deaths a week, and nearly 109 people are killed with guns every day. High-capacity magazines have been used in some of the country’s deadliest mass shootings:
- In Boulder, Colo., on March 22, 2021, a shooter armed with a Ruger AR-556 Pistol, which holds 30 rounds, and killed ten people at a King Scoopers supermarket.
- In Dayton, Ohio, on Aug. 4, 2019, a gunman shot and killed nine people and injured 17 others near the entrance of the Ned Peppers Bar in the Oregon District of Dayton.
- In El Paso, Texas, on Aug. 3, 2019, a shooter walked into a Walmart store and killed 23 people and injured 23 others, in what has been described as the deadliest attack on Latinos in modern American history.
- In Pittsburgh, Penn., on Oct. 27, 2018, a shooter killed eleven worshipers at the Tree of Life Congregation during Shabbat morning services--the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the United States--using an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle for his attack.
- In Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 students and staff members and injuring 17 others. Witnesses identified nineteen-year-old former student.
- In Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Nov. 5, 2017, a shooter killed 26 and injured 20 other worshipers who were attending regular Sunday church services. The attack, with an AR-15, was the deadliest mass shooting in Texas and the fifth-deadliest mass shooting in the United States.
- In Las Vegas, Nev., on Oct. 1, 2017, a shooter opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, firing more than 1,100 rounds from his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, killing 58 people and leaving 851 injured – over 400 of them by gunfire and hundreds more in the ensuing panic. This is the deadliest mass shooting in the United States history.
- In Orlando, Fla., on June 12, 2016, a shooter fired bullets from a 30-round assault rifle and a 17-round semi-automatic pistol into a crowded Pulse Nightclub, killing 49 and injuring more than 50 others in what was then the worst mass shooting in American history.
- In San Bernardino, Calif., on Dec. 2, 2015, armed with assault rifles and other weapons, two shooters stormed a social services center where one had worked, fatally shooting 14 people and injuring at least 17 others.
- In Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012, a shooter used 30-round magazines to take the lives of 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. When the shooter reloaded his gun, eleven students managed to escape.
- In Aurora, Colo., on July 20, 2012, a shooter used a 100-round drum magazine and a 40-round magazine to kill 12 people and wound another 58. His 100-round magazine jammed during the shooting, preventing even more casualties.
- In Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 8, 2011, a shooter used two, 31-round magazines and two, 15-round magazines in the shooting that killed six people and wounded 13 more. The gunman was tackled to the ground while changing magazines and is one of many shootings – including the 1993 Long Island Railroad shooting and the 1998 Thurston High School shooting – that ended when the shooter attempted to reload his gun.
- In Fort Hood, Texas, on Nov. 5, 2009, a shooter used 30- and 20-round magazines in the shooting that killed 13 people and wounded 34 more. The gun-shop owner who sold the extended magazines quotes the would-be shooter as saying he didn’t like spending time loading magazines.
- In Blacksburg, Virginia, on Apr. 16, 2007, an undergraduate student at Virginia Tech shot 49 people on campus with two semi-automatic pistols, killing 32 and wounding 17. Several other victims were injured jumping from windows to escape the gunfire.
- In Columbine, Colo., on Apr. 20, 1999, a pair of students murdered 12 classmates and one teacher. Ten students were murdered in the library, where the shooters subsequently committed suicide. At the time, it was the deadliest shooting at a high school in United States history.
- In Killeen, Texas, on Oct. 16, 1991, a gunman drove his pickup truck through the front window of the Luby's Cafeteria and then proceeded to shoot and kill 23 people, wounding 27 others.
- In San Diego, Calif., on July 18, 1984, a shooter killed 21 people and injured 19 others in and around a McDonald's restaurant in the San Ysidro neighborhood of San Diego before being fatally shot by a SWAT team.
(Sources: Center for American Progress, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
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