Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) introduced legislation yesterday that would restore the prohibition on high-capacity gun magazines, such as those used in the tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona. The Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act (H.R. 308) was cosponsored by over 40 Members of Congress and is supported by a wide variety of leading national advocates for reducing gun violence.
"A long series of tragedies, including the attack on my friend Gabby Giffords, makes amply clear the need to restrict access to dangerous weapons that are built specifically to maximize the user's ability to kill people," said Himes. "No one outside of law enforcement or the military needs access to guns that shoot dozens of rounds without being reloaded. I support Americans' constitutional right to bear arms; the bill we introduced this week will limit access to weapons solely intended for mass killing."
This bill brings the nation to the same 10-round-maximum standard currently used in four states and reinstates the ban that was in effect nationally from 1994 to 2004, until it was allowed to expire. The bill also closes a loophole that allows magazines manufactured before the previous ban went into effect to be sold or transferred.
In addition to the bill's precedent in state and federal law, prominent Second-Amendment rights advocate Robert A. Levy said in a published report earlier this month, "I don't see any constitutional bar to regulating high-capacity magazines. Justice [Antonin] Scalia made it quite clear some regulations are permitted. The Second Amendment is not absolute."
A number of advocacy groups also support the legislation, including the Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center (VPC). In fact, the VPC cites high-capacity magazines as the common thread that runs through the most notorious and deadly mass shootings in America, including the massacres on the Long Island Railroad, at Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, at Columbine High School, at Virginia Tech, and, most recently, at Fort Hood. According to the Brady Campaign, banning magazines is simply a matter of public safety.
"Providing access to high-capacity magazines is beyond the pale. There is no Second Amendment or God-given right to be able to maim and kill your fellow Americans with military-style ammunition," Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign said. "When the high-capacity magazine restriction was in place until 2004, it was effective. If our nation can agree that machine guns, cop-killer bullets, and plastic guns ought to be banned, surely we can agree that high-volume magazines have no place in our society."