Gun policy: On day one, Diana DeGette introduces high-capacity magazine ban
In the final weeks of 2012, Congresswoman Diana DeGette, who represents Denver, pushed for an immediate vote on a measure to ban high-capacity assault magazines. The bill, she said, would be a sign of concrete action after twenty children were slaughtered in Connecticut. But the chance for a vote never came. And today, the first day of the new session, DeGette is introducing it again -- and her staff says this time the measure could get legitimate bipartisan support.
"We are going to make a concerted effort to push for bipartisan support and we've had some definite expressions of interest," says Lisa Cohen, chief of staff for DeGette. "The session is just starting today...but we are going to go full steam ahead to get co-sponsorship."
The bill is one of many legislative ideas that has been discussed in the final month of the 112th Congress, which included a renewed gun control debate after the Newtown, Connecticut shooting at an elementary school.
DeGette's proposal, introduced alongside Representative Carolyn McCarthy of New York, would put in effect a ban on high-capacity assault magazines, which have been at the center of many recent mass shootings. DeGette and supporters of the measure say that this kind of ammunition allows shooters to do incredible damage in a short amount of time, arguing that this would help reduce the risk of mass casualties.
The formal name of the bill is the High Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act and what it would do is ban the sale or transfer of ammunition magazines holding more than ten rounds. Today, in a news release announcing that the legislation has been introduced again, DeGette's office notes that magazines are currently available in capacities of up to one hundred and more.
This legislation had 138 co-sponsors in the House in the last Congress and 111 House members signed on after the shooting in Tuscon, Arizona. After the Aurora theater shooting this past summer, two more signed on. And then in December, 25 more added their support after the Newtown shooting.
This kind of momentum will hopefully grow with the re-introduced legislation, says Cohen.
"Unfortunately, because of recent events...there's more attention on this issue," she says. "And certainly all the polling...indicates broad support."
Continue for more on the legislation.