WASHINGTON – A group of House Democrats announced their support for a bill that would outlaw magazines that hold “more than 10 rounds of ammunition” as a way to prevent mass shootings.
“There are so many communities across this country where the failure of Congress to act is literally costing lives and that’s what motives us, I know, every day because every day is the right day to start to take action,” said Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), the lead sponsor of the Keep Americans Safe Act, at a news conference on Thursday.
“Today and tomorrow, and sadly there will be shootings each and every one of those days, so the time to act is now and the people who need to act is this U.S. Congress,” she added.
The proposed legislation would renew the prohibition of “the transfer, importation, or possession of magazines able to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.” The original ban lapsed in 2004.
Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-Nev.), a co-sponsor of the bill, said it was “incomprehensible” that Congress did not make changes to the nation’s gun laws after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook, which is in Esty’s district.
Kihuen also said the Las Vegas shooting could probably have been prevented if the suspect was not able to “obtain thousands and thousands of rounds of ammunition.”
“It’s a matter of time before this happens in another congressional district or another city,” he said. “It is not a good feeling to wake up to a mass shooting in your own backyard and in your own city – that could have been my brother. It could have been my mother who worked on the Strip. Thankfully it wasn’t them, but I know that 58 other families did not get good news that night.”
Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), a co-sponsor of the bill whose district is close to the location of the Las Vegas shooting, said the legislation is a “reasonable step” for Congress to take as a way to limit the destruction of mass shootings.
“High-capacity magazines have no practical purpose for hunting or self-defense,” she said. “Gun violence has become a public health crisis.”
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) said the bill banning high-capacity magazines would benefit U.S. national security as well as the country’s public health, adding that Congress has refused to act on gun-violence prevention for too long.
“High-capacity magazines are not needed for hunting. They are not needed for self-defense. They aren’t designed to be a useful tool for the millions of smart and safe and responsible gun owners in America,” he said. “Their only use and the way they have been used time and time again is to kill on a mass scale – dozens of people on one go.”
Deutch, a co-sponsor of the bill, disagreed with people who argue that no one should politicize crimes like the Las Vegas attack. Deutch said the U.S. has suffered from too many mass shootings.
“Our answer to that criticism is very simple, that the time to act is today and tomorrow and every day until Congress takes action and passes meaningful gun legislation,” he said.
Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), a co-sponsor of the bill, said a third of the crimes involving firearms use large-capacity magazines.
“If we really are serious about protecting our communities and if we are serious about keeping our law enforcement and our first responders safe when they are out in the line of duty, Congress needs to act,” she said.