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DeGette among Democrats who propose bill to ban high-capacity gun magazines nationwide


DeGette among Democrats who propose bill to ban high-capacity gun magazines nationwide

Jan 31, 2023 | 3:03 pm ET
By Lindsey Toomer
DeGette among Democrats who propose bill to ban high-capacity gun magazines nationwide
Community members created a memorial at the site of the March 22, 2021, mass shooting at a Boulder King Soopers store, seen on April 24, 2021. (Quentin Young/Colorado Newsline)

In light of a rising number of mass shootings the country has seen in recent weeks, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, a Denver Democrat, and two Democratic colleagues put forward another push to ban the sale of high-capacity gun magazines nationwide.

The Keep Americans Safe Act would prohibit the sale of high-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds to anyone other than law enforcement, according to a news release from DeGette’s office. Co-sponsored by Reps. Dina Titus of Nevada and Brad Schneider of Illinois, the bill comes after occurrence of more than 40 mass shootings in January, the most the country has ever seen in the first month of the year, according to DeGette.

DeGette said in a news release that nobody in the U.S. needs a magazine that holds 60 or 100 rounds. She said that while the legislation alone wouldn’t prevent all future mass shootings, it will help make them less deadly, as high-capacity magazines enable a shooter to kill more people in less time.

“These magazines aren’t for hunting, they were designed for war,” DeGette said in a statement. “They allow a shooter to cause maximum harm in the shortest amount of time; and we need to get them off our streets now. One of the most effective things we can do to help protect our communities is banning these magazines immediately.”

The gunman who killed 12 and injured 58 people in an Aurora movie theater in 2012 was armed with a 100-round drum magazine. The Colorado Legislature then banned large-capacity magazines carrying more than 15 rounds in the state in 2013. 

Bill sponsors agree the ban would make it harder for gunmen to obtain these magazines, citing studies that show mass shootings were 70% less likely to occur during a 1994-2004 ban Congress implemented on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Anyone who currently owns a high-capacity magazine would not be required to turn it in should the bill pass, but they would not be allowed to sell or transfer it to anyone. The bill would also authorize the implementation of high-capacity magazine buyback programs, and law enforcement agencies to seize and destroy unlawfully possessed high-capacity magazines.

The bill is likely to face opposition from Republicans, who control the U.S. House of Representatives.

DeGette will hold a press conference Wednesday, Feb. 1 alongside fellow Democratic Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, to discuss their introduction of another bill called the Assault Weapons Ban Act intending to ban the sale, import, manufacture or transfer of certain semi-automatic weapons.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 4 p.m., Jan. 31, 2023, to include information about the Feb. 1 press conference.