Two leading gun control supporters in Congress are using the first day of the new session to introduce a ban on high-capacity magazines. Though the measure is unlikely to pass the GOP-controlled House, the move is a sign that gun-control advocates are determined to press their cause in the wake of last month’s Newtown, Conn. school shootings.
The bill, offered by Reps. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., and Diana DeGette, D-Colo.,would prohibit the sale of high-capacity gun magazines in the U.S. Newtown shooter Adam Lanza used such a magazine, as did James Holmes, the accused killer in last year’s Aurora, Colo., movie theater massacre.
"These assault magazines help put the 'mass' in 'mass shooting' and anything we can do to stop their proliferation will save lives in America," said McCarthy, who ran for Congress after a 1993 mass shooting on the Long Island Railroad left her husband dead and her son critically wounded.
"These devices are used to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time possible and we owe it to innocent Americans everywhere to keep them out of the hands of dangerous people. We don't even allow hunters to use them—something's deeply wrong if we're protecting game more than we're protecting innocent human beings," she said.
High-capacity magazines were banned under the Assault Weapons ban, which expired in 2004. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has said she plans to reintroduce the Assault Weapons ban early this year. And President Obama has appointed Vice President Biden to head a task force charged with finding ways to stem the tide of gun violence.
But any significant effort to clamp down on guns will likely face stiff opposition from House Republicans, but DeGette told PoliticsNation she's hopeful she can win over her colleague. "I think that the balance has tipped and I think people now realize we need to do something," she said, nothing she's found a "new willingness" from her colleague across the aisle as she' and McCarthy have reached out in search of co-sponsors.
She says the situation today is "absolutely more hopeful" than it was the first time she introduced this legislation, and called on constituents to help keep the pressure on her colleagues.