Senator Murray Renews Push to Ban High-Capacity Gun Magazines

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) joined Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL, 22nd) in reintroducing 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 bloodiest mass shootings in America.

The introduction of this bill comes days before 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.

“It is well past time that Congress take action to curb the epidemics of gun violence and mass shootings, and this bill is an important step towards doing just that” Senator Murray said. “The Keep Americans Safe Act would save lives by banning the kinds of high-capacity magazines that have helped make some of the deadliest mass shootings in this country possible. I’m glad that President Biden has taken some steps to begin to address gun violence, and as a voice for Washington state families in the Senate I’ll be fighting to pass bills like this one to keep students, parents, workers—every person in this country—safe from gun violence.”

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.

Full text of the bill can be downloaded HERE.

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.

According to the Giffords Law Center there are 753 gun deaths in Washington state each year, and 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, including shootings over the past two years in Boulder, Dayton, and El Paso.