October 11, 2017

Whitehouse, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Curb Sales of High-Capacity Gun Magazines

‘Keep Americans Safe Act’ introduced after mass shooting in Las Vegas

Washington, D.C. – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) has joined Democratic Senate colleagues in introducing the Keep Americans Safe Act, commonsense public safety legislation banning the importation, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition and are designed for shooting en masse.  In what is now the deadliest mass shooting in American history, 59 people were killed and 527 injured after a gunman opened fire on Las Vegas concert-goers.  According to investigators, the alleged shooter was in possession of more than 23 firearms, including several high-powered assault rifles, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

“No good can come from a private citizen owning a military-style magazine that allows a weapon to quickly spray dozens of rounds of ammunition,” said Whitehouse.  “Taking large-capacity magazines off the shelves would be a reasonable step toward preventing the heartbreaking mass shootings of innocent people that this country has seen far too many of.”

In addition to prohibiting large-capacity ammunition magazines, the 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 bill is sponsored by Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).  Whitehouse cosponsored a similar measure, the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act, in 2015.  Whitehouse also cosponsored legislation last week to close loopholes that allow semi-automatic weapons to be easily modified to fire at the rate of automatic weapons and allow gun sales to proceed if a background check is not completed after 72 hours.  High-capacity magazines and so-called “bump stocks” are so dangerous that many gun clubs do not allow them on their ranges.


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