WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced a package of three common-sense gun safety bills last week that would ban high-capacity gun magazines and keep deadly weapons out of the hands of criminals and terrorists. As one of Congress’ leading voices for gun safety, Senator Lautenberg has worked throughout his career to draft legislation that prevents criminals and terrorists from obtaining guns and assault weapons.
“This package of common-sense gun safety bills would sail through Congress if it wasn’t for the special interest gun lobby. It’s time to put aside business as usual in Washington, and start considering the safety of our families over special interests,” Lautenberg said. “In our country, terrorists can buy weapons at gun stores, convicted felons can buy Glocks at gun shows, and just about anyone can get their hands on a 30-round magazine designed to shoot and kill quickly. Congress has a responsibility to enact common-sense reforms that will keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and terrorists, and prevent another massacre like the one we saw in Tucson.”
“Just like Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the 1,200-plus members of the US Conference of Mayors in their announcements yesterday, Senator Lautenberg understands that we need a comprehensive approach to reducing gun violence in America,” said Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), who introduced the high-capacity magazine ban in the U.S. House. “Having written the law authorizing more spending for our national background check system, working to close the gun show loophole and introducing the bill to ban high-capacity magazines, I’m proud to stand with Senator Lautenberg and these leaders in our efforts to make this country safer.”
A January 2011 national survey conducted by the Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that an overwhelming majority of Americans support Senator Lautenberg’s gun safety proposals. The bipartisan study revealed that 88 percent of Americans favor prohibiting people on the terrorist watch lists from purchasing guns, 89 percent favor eliminating the gun show loophole, and 58 percent support banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines.
The following bills were introduced today by Senator Lautenberg to address the gaping holes in U.S. gun safety laws:
Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act
The legislation 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 – 2004, high capacity ammunition magazines were illegal as part of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. When the ban expired in 2004, Republican leaders in Congress pledged to not resurrect it. Since that time, high capacity clips (more than 10 rounds at a time) have been legal to manufacture and sell. A high-capacity ammunition magazine was used to carry out the recent shooting spree in Tucson, allowing the suspect to fire off 31 bullets in just 15 seconds.
The "Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act" is co-sponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D_NY, John Kerry (D-MA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Charles Schumer (D-NY).
Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Criminals Act
The legislation would close a dangerous loophole known as the “Terror Gap” that prevents law enforcement from stopping a person on the terrorist watch list from obtaining firearms or explosives. It would provide the Attorney General with authority to deny the transfer of a firearm or issuance of a firearm or explosives license when a background check reveals that the purchaser is a known or suspected terrorist and the Attorney General reasonably believes that the person may use a firearm or explosives in connection with terrorism. An investigation by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that between February 2004 and February 2010, there were 1,119 cases in which individuals on the Terror Watch List were cleared to purchase a gun or explosive.
The "Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Criminals Act" is co-sponsored by Senators Boxer, Durbin, Feinstein, Gillibrand, Levin, Menendez, Reed, Schumer and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
Gun Show Background Check Act
The legislation would close the gun show loophole that allows guns to be sold, even to criminals and terrorists, without background checks at gun shows. It would require that sellers at gun shows perform the same background checks that licensed gun dealers are required to perform under the Brady Law. The Gun Show Background Check Act of 2011 is virtually identical to the Lautenberg amendment passed by the Senate in the 106th Congress as part of the Juvenile Justice bill.
The "Gun Show Background Check Act" is co-sponsored by Senators Boxer, Durbin, Feinstein, Gillibrand, Kerry, Levin, Menendez, Reed, Schumer, Whitehouse and Ron Wyden (D-OR).