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Democrats introduce bill to ban 10+ round ‘high-capacity’ gun magazines

AK-74 with magazines (Shmelin/WikiCommons)
April 15, 2021

Democrat lawmakers in Congress introduced another gun control bill Wednesday, this time seeking to ban the sale, manufacture, transfer, possession, or importation of magazines that carry more than 10 rounds.

Led by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Ted Deutch (D-FL), and Dina Titus (D-NV), the legislation is titled the Keep Americans Safe Act.

The proposed legislation would also include a buyback program for “high-capacity” magazines, as well as require all such magazines manufactured after the bill becomes law to bear a “conspicuous serial number” for easy identification by law enforcement.

Americans who already own “high-capacity” magazines would be permitted to keep them, but transferring or selling the magazines would be considered unlawful.

Law enforcement would also have the authority to “seize and destroy high-capacity magazines possessed illegally.”

“There’s no reason why anyone, other than military, needs a gun magazine that holds more than 10 rounds,” DeGette said in a statement. “It’s past time for Congress to act on common-sense gun safety measures such as this. Banning the sale of high-capacity magazines in this country will save lives and Congress needs to act on this legislation immediately.” 

The measure comes just days after President Joe Biden asked Congress to ban “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazines.

A ban on “high capacity” magazines was in place for 10 years via the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994. However, it was not renewed after a 2004 Department of Justice study that found no link between the ban and decreased gun violence.

“We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence,” the study concluded. “Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

Last week, Biden announced a series of gun-control actions in an effort to combat gun violence, an issue he called a “public health crisis” and “international embarrassment.”

The measures included regulations on pistol braces, a proposed rule to help stop the growth of homemade “ghost gun” firearms and a federal model for state “red flag” laws.

“Today we’re taking steps to confront not just the gun crisis, but what is actually a public health crisis,” Biden said from the White House Rose Garden. “Nothing, nothing I’m about to recommend in any way impinges on the Second Amendment. Their phony argument suggesting that these are Second Amendment rights at stake for what we’re talking about, but no amendment to the Constitution is absolute. You can’t yell fire in a crowded movie theater and call it freedom of speech.”

“The idea is just bizarre to suggest that some of the things we’re recommending are contrary to the Constitution,” he added.

The National Rifle Association called the president’s announcement a “circus” that could force Americans to give up their legal property.

“Let’s be clear as we’re watching this Biden circus,” the group tweeted. “These actions could require Americans to surrender lawful property, push states to expand confiscation orders, and put a gun control lobbyist to head ATF.”