5 Gun-Control Bills You Haven't Heard of Yet

“Since the massacre in Newtown, there has been greater attention on the need to reduce violence in our neighborhoods,” said Payne. “Although no one piece of legislation will eliminate all gun violence, this bill is unlike any other in that it targets the most widely used guns in violent crimes.  Many of these guns are old, they’re sold for little to nothing on the streets to young kids, and so they are very easy for criminals to get their hands on. Because these guns are sold at a higher value than market price, gun owners have an even greater incentive to trade in their old guns.”

“This bill truly is a win-win for states and municipalities because it will get guns off the streets, stimulate local economies, and provide an environmentally friendly use for the recycled materials,” he said.

H.R.965: To prohibit the possession or transfer of junk guns, also known as Saturday Night Specials

"It shall be unlawful for any person to possess or transfer a junk gun which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce," states this bill. What does Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) mean by a "junk" gun? "A handgun that is not a sporting handgun," the brief text of the legislation says. Sporting handgun would mean "a type generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes."

Gutierrez announced the bill last month before holding a community meeting with Chicago clergy, community leaders and others to discuss gun-violence prevention strategies, where he distributed a fact sheet on guns most often recovered in crimes by the Chicago Police Department.

"We have had for many years a set of basic design and safety standards to regulate handguns that are imported to the United States. What has been absent are similar standards for domestically manufactured handguns, essentially allowing an unregulated market to flourish for these weapons," Gutierrez said. "That is why my bill would ban junk guns and require that these handguns manufactured in the U.S. meet the same standards of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as the handguns we import."

"When we regulate standards for cars and cribs and a whole host of products to ensure they are safe for public consumption – how does it make sense that we do not have basic safety standards for dangerous handguns made right here in America?"

H.R.538: Protect Law Enforcement Armor (PLEA) Act

Rep. Eliot Engel's (D-N.Y.) bill is seemingly weapon-specific, vowing "to protect the Nation's law enforcement officers by banning the Five-seveN Pistol and 5.7 x 28mm SS190, SS192, SS195LF, SS196, and SS197 cartridges."

But it also prohibits "any other handgun that uses ammunition found to be capable of penetrating body armor." Body armor would mean anything that "meets minimum standards for the protection of law enforcement officers."

Within a year after the legislation would take effect, the attorney general would release standards for what qualifies as body-armor penetrating ammunition, which "shall take into account, among other factors, variations in performance that are related to the type of handgun used, the length of the barrel of the handgun, the amount and kind of powder used to propel the projectile, and the design of the projectile."

"Law enforcement has been often outgunned from the deadly weapons and ammunition which is easily obtained over the internet and due to oft-abused loopholes. One such mass shooting took place at Fort Hood – targeting armed service members," Engel said. "The madman who attacked them did so with a Five-seveN handgun, and he murdered 13 people and wounded 30 others."

The accused Fort Hood shooter, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, was active-duty at the time, though, and Engel's bill excludes military, law enforcement and intelligence agency use.

“I proudly wear the ‘F’ grade I receive from the NRA whose craven opposition to every measure to stop the violence is maddening and offensive," Engel said. "No one involved in this discussion has called for any measures to take weapons away from the vast majority of gun owners. We want to take them away from those most likely to murder children and teachers in class, movie goers in a theater, shoppers in a shopping mall and people in their place of worship."