Congressman Paul Tonko joined with his colleagues today, including Leader Nancy Pelosi, to call on Congress to bring up a bill to limit the possession of high capacity magazines. The bill, H.R. 308, the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act, is authored by Long Island Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, whose husband was killed by the Long Island Rail Road massacre nineteen years ago. While the legislation has received increased attention after the recent shootings at Newtown, Connecticut, the bill was introduced in February 2011. Congressman Tonko lent his support as a cosponsor one month later in February 2011.
"Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to those families impacted by last week's attack," said Congressman Tonko. "But as President Obama indicated, and has backed up by the creation of a task force today, words are not enough, we must have action. Today, I joined with House Democratic leaders to say enough is enough. This bill is a common-sense approach to limit the destructive capacity of military style weapons on the street, and I urge the House to take up, debate and pass this policy."
H.R. 308 would amend the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to prohibit the transfer or possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device in future sales, as well as the importation of similar devices. A high capacity device is considered one with more than ten rounds of ammunition. It also sets forth exceptions for law enforcement and other purposes, as well as penalties for violations. Finally, it requires a large capacity ammunition feeding device manufactured in the future to be identified by a serial number that clearly shows where it was made.
"There's no denying the difficult balancing act between the second amendment to the Constitution and changes to gun control laws," added Congressman Tonko. "But this time is different. Action is demanded and changes must be made. I remain open and committed to the best ideas out there, but believe this bill is an important first step."
The bill has 126 cosponsors, including at least thirteen added just yesterday, with many more expected to be added today. There are no Republican cosponsors. The bill has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.