WASHINGTON– U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to reintroduce the Keep Americans Safe Act, renewing a concerted effort to ban the importation, sale, manufacturing, transfer, or possession of gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. These high-capacity magazines are designed for shooting and killing en masse and have been the accessory of choice in some of the deadliest mass shootings in America.
The bill was reintroduced as the country observed the 14th anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting and the 22nd anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, two of the deadliest mass shootings in American history perpetrated by mass shooters equipped with high-capacity magazines.
“In the United States, mass shootings are almost a daily occurrence. Americans worry that they and their loved ones may be targets when they are going to school, sitting in movie theaters, attending concerts, shopping in grocery stores, or just walking in their neighborhoods. It is long past time to take common sense steps to reduce the toll of gun violence in America, including limiting the civilian use of high-capacity magazines that can inflict mass violence in a short time,” said Durbin. “I am proudly cosponsoring the Keep Americans Safe Act to help address our nation’s gun violence epidemic.”
“How many lives must be taken before we finally say, ‘enough is enough?’” Duckworth said. “I don’t want my daughters to have to grow up in a country that won’t protect them from firearm violence. It’s time Congress passes common sense public safety measures to help prevent mass shootings from continuing to devastate our communities, and I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Keep Americans Safe Act.”
In addition to prohibiting large-capacity ammunition magazines, this bill includes the following provisions:
- Provides limited exceptions for devices possessed before enactment, for certain current and former law enforcement personnel, for certain Atomic Energy personnel and purpose, for tubular devices that can only accept .22 rimfire ammunition, and for certain authorized testing or experimentation;
- Modifies the high-capacity definition to prevent coupled or joined magazines;
- Authorizes a buyback program for high capacity magazines using Byrne JAG grants;
- Requires devices manufactured after enactment to have conspicuous serial numbers and date of manufacture to help law enforcement identify restricted magazines;
- Harmonizes forfeiture provisions for magazines with current law; currently FBI and ATF can seize and destroy certain firearms but not high-capacity magazines.
Joining Durbin, Duckworth, and Menendez as cosponsors of the Keep Americans Safe Act are Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI.), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jackie Rosen (D-NV), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Angus King (I-ME), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). In the House, Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO-01) and Dina Titus (D-NV-01) joined Rep. Deutch (D-FL-22) as original cosponsors of this legislation.
The legislation is supported by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence; Everytown; March for Our Lives; Change The Ref; Coalition to Stop Gun Violence; Center for American Progress and Violence Policy Center; Orange Ribbons for Gun Safety.
Full text of the bill can be downloaded HERE.
In 2019, more than 39,700 Americans died from gun violence, which represents over 3,300 gun deaths each month, over 763 gun deaths a week, and nearly 109 people are killed with guns every day. High-capacity magazines have been used in some of the country’s deadliest mass shootings: