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Democrat Lawmakers Announce Gun Control Bill Banning Magazines Holding More Than 10 Rounds

Jack Phillips

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Top gun rights group says magazine ban is 'obsolete'

Several Democrat members of Congress introduced a gun control bill that would ban magazines holding more than 10 rounds, meaning that the sale, manufacturing, transfer, possession, or importation of such magazines would be prohibited by the federal government.

Several states including New York and California have previously imposed bans on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Magazines that held more than 10 rounds were banned under the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, which expired 10 years later in 2004.

On Wednesday, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) as well as Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) introduced the bill (pdf), known as the “Keep Americans Safe Act.”

The Department of Justice has previously said that the previous federal ban on so-called “high-capacity” magazines did not lead to a significant drop in shootings and murders. That study has been often cited by gun-rights groups including the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Gun Owners of America for why such legislation should not be passed.

“We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence,” the DOJ said in 2004. “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.”

But Menendez said that the bill is designed to end mass shootings, coming after the incidents in Boulder, Colorado, and Atlanta last month.

“High-capacity magazines are good for one thing and one thing only—high-capacity killing,” said Menendez in a statement Wednesday. “The Keep Americans Safe Act is a common sense piece of legislation that will save lives and will finally limit the sale of large-capacity magazines that are designed for killing as many people as possible without having to stop and reload.”

With the 60-vote filibuster in place, it’s unlikely that Menedez’s bill—in its current form—would be passed in the Senate. Republicans have signaled opposition to President Joe Biden’s recent executive actions against “ghost guns,” “red flag” law proposals, and re-classifying pistols with stabilizing braces as rifles—as well as his nomination to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

Menendez’s bill would also modify “the high-capacity definition to prevent coupled or joined magazines,” create a buyback program for magazines holding more than 10 rounds, “requires devices manufactured after enactment to have conspicuous serial numbers and date of manufacture to help law enforcement identify restricted magazines,” and would allow the ATF and FBI to destroy magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

Gun Owners of America, in a statement, said that the new bill suggests Democrat sponsors have an “ignorance about modern firearm technology and the Bill of Rights.”

“Most modern home defense rifles and carry handguns come standard with magazines that hold more than the arbitrary limit of ten rounds,” the group said. “The idea that magazines that hold 100, 50, or 30 rounds are neither for sport nor self-defense is a farce. Gun owners commonly equip their self-defense firearms with so-called ‘high capacity’ magazines and shoot them for sport all the time.”

It added: “Senator Menendez’s standard capacity magazine ban is obsolete, and Gun Owners of America will make sure it never becomes law.” The reason why, it said, is because gun owners can manufacture their own 17-round or 30-round Glock magazines via a 3-D printer.