September 12, 2019

Duckworth & Durbin Call on Majority Leader McConnell to Act after House Judiciary Passes Gun Safety Bill to Limit High-Capacity Magazines

The Keep Americans Safe Act would prohibit the transfer, importation, or possession of magazines able to hold more than ten rounds of ammunition


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and two dozen of their colleagues in calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to act on the Keep Americans Safe Act (S.447), which would prohibit the transfer, importation, or possession of magazines able to hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. Companion legislation passed the House Judiciary Committee last night. Both senators are original cosponsors of the legislation.

Passing public safety measures to save lives isn’t tyranny, it’s common sense,” said Duckworth. “This is a sensible piece of legislation to limit high-capacity magazines and Senator McConnell should take it up immediately. Enough is enough; Republicans need to let us vote on bills to help prevent mass shootings from continuing to devastate our communities.”

High-capacity ammunition magazines aren’t necessary for hunting or self-defense, and all too often they are used to commit mass murder,” said Durbin. “Enough is enough. It’s time for Republicans in the Senate to pass this common sense bill to place reasonable limits on magazine capacity.”  

There have been 289 mass shootings so far this year according to the Gun Violence Archive, not counting the thousands of other acts of gun violence that have devastated communities across the country. A common thread found in many of the nation’s most high-profile mass shootings in recent years has been the use of high-capacity magazines that hold more than ten rounds and enable a shooter to fire dozens of rounds without having to stop and reload.

In Dayton, Ohio, the mass shooter used a high-capacity rifle equipped with a 100-round drum magazine, which enabled him to fire 41 rounds in 30 seconds. In El Paso, Texas, and Gilroy, California, both shooters are believed to have used an AK-47 style assault rifle, another high-capacity rifle, which generally holds at least 30 rounds.

Experts have recently expressed that restrictions on the capacity of bullet magazines could make the attacks less deadly, giving potential targets precious seconds to escape while the shooter reloads a gun.

Duckworth and Durbin were joined in cosponsoring Senator Menendez’s Keep Americans Safe Act by Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jack Reed (D-RI), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jacky Rosen (D-NV.), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Angus King (I-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

Earlier this week, Senate and House Democrats called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to end his harmful legislative graveyard and bring the House-passed Bipartisan Background Checks Act, H.R.8, to the Senate floor for a vote as soon as possible.

In addition to prohibiting large-capacity ammunition magazines, the Keep Americans Safe 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 programs 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.

The legislation is supported by Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence; March for Our Lives; Team ENOUGH; Change The Ref; Coalition to Stop Gun Violence; Center for American Progress; Violence Policy Center and Everytown.

Full text of the bill can be downloaded here.