Two bills introduced to limit certain semi-automatic weapons
NEWTOWN, Conn. — Today, two bills that would help curb mass shootings were introduced in the U.S. House. The first would limit access to assault weapons, and the second would restrict possession of high-capacity magazines.
“We applaud the introduction of legislation that will reduce mass shootings and save lives by limiting access to highly lethal weapons and high-capacity magazines,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund, and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “These deadly weapons of war are the preferred firearms of school shooters and pose a threat to every community across the country.”
Military-style firearms are intended to fire multiple rounds in quick succession — killing people quickly and with little effort. They can be used with detachable magazines that can make them even more lethal. These kinds of firearms, commonly referred to as “assault weapons,” were primarily designed for use in war and battlefields. But because there currently is no federal restriction on the sale of these weapons, civilians have been able to purchase them to carry out some of our nation’s deadliest mass shootings. One of the bills introduced in the House would restrict the sale of these kinds of firearms to private citizens.
From 1994 to 2004, federal law made it illegal to transfer or possess assault weapons in the US. During this time, mass shooting fatalities were 70% less likely to occur than in periods before or after the law’s enforcement. After the law expired in 2004, there was a 183% increase in high-fatality mass shootings and a 239% increase in deaths resulting from such shootings.
The second bill would restrict the sales of high-capacity magazines — like the 30-round magazines used to murder children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary. High-capacity magazines can be used with any semi-automatic firearm that accepts a detachable magazine, including handguns, and allow the firearm to be fired repeatedly for longer periods of time without having to reload.
“When the shooter at Sandy Hook paused to reload, 11 children were able to escape,” said Barden. “If he had fewer bullets in each magazine that day, maybe my son and others would have survived.”
The Sandy Hook shooter fired 154 bullets, killing 20 first-graders and six educators in less than five minutes. These high-capacity magazines have been used in all 10 of the nation’s deadliest mass shootings in the last decade. Laws restricting possession of high-capacity magazines have been shown to decrease rates of mass shootings.
“The overwhelming majority of voters support sensible gun policy reforms,” said Barden. “We urge immediate passage of these bills so that together we can save more lives.”
The Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund (SHPAF) is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization committed to protecting all children from gun violence in schools, homes, and communities. The SHP Action Fund advances a holistic policy platform that promotes gun safety, youth mental health, and violence prevention education. The organization works at the state and federal level to pass nonpartisan legislation through inclusive partnerships, diverse grassroots education, and community mobilization. It is part of Sandy Hook Promise, founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646-761-5579