Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced legislation on Tuesday designed to ban the sale of high-capacity magazines capable of carrying more than 10 rounds.
"The latest tragedy in Newtown was a wake up call for our nation, and now we must now turn our grief into action to reduce further tragedies," he said in a statement. "It is clearer than ever that there is no place in our communities for military-style supersized magazines like those used inside Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Aurora, and in Tucson, and I will keep working to reinstate the ban on them."
Lautenberg has been a longtime champion of efforts to restrict the size of ammunition-loading devices. In December, he told The Huffington Post that he planned to make another push in the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., in which 26 -- including 20 young elementary school students -- were killed.
As HuffPost's Sam Stein reported at the time:
The legislation would simply reintroduce the prohibition of high-capacity magazines that existed under the federal Assault Weapons Ban from 1994 to 2004. In Tucson, the shooter Jared Loughner was able to fire 30-plus shots without having to reload. During the shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., the alleged shooter reportedly had a 100-round magazine drum. At Sandy Hook Elementary School, the alleged shooter also had high-capacity magazines.
Lautenberg's bill would be a pared-down iteration of gun control legislation for lawmakers to consider. A more ambitious proposal is set to be introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who has pledged to reintroduce the assault weapons ban the first day of the new Congress.
President Barack Obama announced a set of proposals last week meant to combat gun violence. They included 23 executive actions, as well as a call for Congress to pass legislation that, like Lautenberg's, would target high-capacity magazines. Obama has also called for lawmakers to pass a renewed assault weapons ban and a measure that would require universal background checks for all gun purchases.
Reps. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) introduced a House companion bill to Lautenberg's, which also calls for banning the sale of magazines that carry more than 10 rounds.
Below, Lautenberg's entire press release:
WASHINGTON, DC—On the first day for bills to be introduced in the 113th Congress, U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today introduced his bill to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds. The proposal—which Lautenberg first introduced in January 2011—is a major component of the gun safety plan President Obama announced last week.
“The latest tragedy in Newtown was a wake up call for our nation, and now we must now turn our grief into action to reduce further tragedies. It is clearer than ever that there is no place in our communities for military-style supersized magazines like those used inside Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Aurora, and in Tucson, and I will keep working to reinstate the ban on them,” said Senator Lautenberg. “President Obama's bold plan to address gun violence included my common-sense proposal to ban high-capacity magazines holding more than 10 rounds, and we will get to work in Congress to pass this bill and other reasonable reforms that protect children and families. This is the kind of sensible reform that has the support of Democrats and Republicans, hunters and responsible gun owners, and it is time for Congress to listen to the American people and put this ban back in place.”
A companion bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy and has the support of 48 cosponsors.
“Senator Lautenberg and I have reintroduced the bill to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines because they're the common thread in every major mass shooting in recent history and taking them off the market can have a major impact on saving lives in America. The horrific murders in Newtown have shown how our nation's lax attitude towards gun violence has gone too far and we must take action to save lives,” said Rep. McCarthy
Senator Lautenberg's “Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act” would prohibit the manufacture and sale of ammunition magazines that have a capacity of, or could be readily converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition. From 1994 to 2004, these high-capacity ammunition magazines were illegal as part of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in 2004. Since that time, high-capacity clips (holding more than 10 rounds at a time) have been legal to manufacture and sell under federal law.
Senator Lautenberg first introduced his bill after a high-capacity ammunition magazine was used to carry out the shooting spree in Tucson, allowing the shooter to fire off 31 bullets in just 15 seconds. The shooter was subdued when he stopped to reload. In addition to the Tucson tragedy, high-capacity magazines were used in mass shootings at Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Aurora, Oak Creek, and Newtown.
The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tom Carper (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Al Franken (D-MN), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney have expressed support for reinstating the ban on high-capacity magazines in the past, and polls show that 65 percent of Americans support such a ban.
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