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cross-posted from Main Street Insider

The tragic shootings in Tucson ended only after the assailant, Jared Loughner, paused his gunfire to reload. It was at that moment that people in the area managed to disarm him. He had fired over 30 shots in about 15 seconds, killing six and wounding several others.

These events sparked anew the debate over high-capacity ammunition clips, once outlawed as part of the assault weapons ban. This proposal from Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy has emerged as the foremost response championed by gun control advocates.

90 Second Summaries: Season 2, Episode 17
H.R. 308: Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act

Introduced 1/18/2011
Sponsor: Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY4)
Click here to download this summary (pdf)

Cosponsors: 109 (109 Democrats, 0 Republicans). Full list at

Senate Companion: S. 32, sponsored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). 10 co-sponsors, all Democrats. Assigned to Judiciary Committee, no action scheduled.

Status: Assigned to Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. No action scheduled as of July 25th.

Purpose: In the tragic January 8th shooting in Tucson that killed six people and severely wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the assailant shot some 33 bullets before pausing to reload. In the aftermath of the shooting, calls for modest gun control measures gained a level of momentum not seen in over a decade.

Rep. McCarthy, whose husband was killed and son seriously wounded by a gunman on the Long Island Railroad in 1993, is a fierce gun control advocate and has been actively pushing for reinstatement of the assault weapons ban since its expiration in 2004. Given that a lower limit on the number of bullets allowed in a magazine could have saved lives in Tucson, this proposal, previously in place as part of the assault weapons ban, has emerged as the foremost response championed by gun control advocates.

Summary: H.R. 308 and S. 32 significantly lower the amount of ammunition that can be fired in a single round. Specifically, they:

• Define “high-capacity ammunition feeding device” as any ammo magazine capable of holding over 10 bullets;
• Ban the production, import, transfer or possession of any high-capacity magazine;
• Exempt possession, but not transfer or sale, of high-capacity magazines owned before the date of enactment;
• Require that all high-capacity magazines produced after the date of enactment be easily identifiable as such;
• Create further exemptions for active duty law enforcement officers, anyone protecting nuclear facilities, retired law officers whose gun was transferred to them at the time of retirement, and testing or experimentation approved by the Attorney General;
• Sets the penalty for violation as a fine and/or up to 10 years in prison.
Note: a somewhat similar version of this ban was in place from 1994-2004 as part of the assault weapons ban. This legislation goes further by banning imports of high-capacity magazines and preventing the transfer or sale of devices possessed before the date of enactment.

CBO Score: None provided.

Supporters: many Democrats, gun control organizations, etc.

• Supporters point to the Tucson tragedy as a key example of how gun deregulations have made Americans less safe.     This would be a modest yet important step in restoring common sense to our gun laws, saving lives in the process.

Opponents: Republicans, NRA, etc.

• Opponents see this, like all other gun regulation, as an unconstitutional infringement upon the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.

Further links
Full bill text:
Official CRS Summary:
Rep. McCarthy letter and summary of the bill:
Sen. Lautenberg fact sheet on the bill:
Violence Policy Center press release endorsing the bill:
NRA's Institute for Legislative Action on the bill:
Tucson Shooting Victim's Fiancee on Gun Control:

Originally posted to Main Street Insider: Capitol Hill Coverage on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 07:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks.

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