Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey will bring back a bill he introduced after former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head to ban high-capacity gun magazines that allow shooters to fire off multiple rounds in quick succession.
Both the shooter who attacked a campaign event by then congresswoman Giffords in Tuscon, Ariz., and the killer who opened fire on an Aurora, Colo., movie theater last week carried such accessories.
An existing federal ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines was allowed to lapse in 2004.
While some in media and politics have argued that now is not the time to raise the issue of gun control given the tragedy is so fresh, Lautenberg disagrees.
“We need to start today on efforts to prevent the next attack,” he said in a statement released Sunday. “No sportsman needs 100 rounds to shoot a duck, but allowing high-capacity magazines in the hands of killers like James Holmes and Jared Loughner puts law enforcement at a disadvantage and innocent lives at risk.”
In addition to banning the sale of ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds, Lautenberg has also proposed additional gun control measures aimed at preventing firearms and explosives from being sold to terrorists and to close a loophole in existing regulations that allows sellers to avoid running background checks on purchasers at gun shows.
The Colorado gunman’s four-gun arsenal included an AR-15, semiautomatic assault rifle with a 100-round drum, the AP reported. This gun jammed, forcing the killer to turn to another of his guns, possibly reducing the number of deaths in the theater that night.
Giffords’ attacker possessed a 30-plus-round magazine extender for his Glock.
Although the Giffords’ tragedy and her well-documented recovery process has served as a reminder to her congressional colleagues about the power of firearms, the Lautenberg bill went nowhere last year. It was a similar story in the House of Representatives where gun control advocate Rep. Carolyn McCarthy introduced a similar bill to reinstate the ban on high-capacity magazines.