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Representative McCarthy Releases Text of Gun Control Bill

January 18, 2011

Following the tragic Tucson, Arizona shooting, lawmakers quickly reacted by announcing their intent to strengthen gun control laws. On Sunday, Representative Carolyn McCarthy released the draft of the bill that she is planning to introduce to Congress next week, one that would outlaw high-capacity magazines.

Politico reports, “Representative Carolyn McCarthy’s (D-N.Y.) bill also goes further than the assault weapon ban that would expire in 2004, outlawing the sale or transfer of clips that hold more than ten rounds, even those obtained before the law takes effect.”

Likewise, it “closes a loophole in the expired assault weapon ban that let gun owners buy high-capacity magazines made before the ban took effect in 1994.”

Those who violate the provisions of the bill face a possible penalty of up to 10 years.

McCarthy explains of the bill, “The only purpose for the existence of these devices is to be able to shoot as many people as possible as quickly as possible. There is no reason that these devices should be available to the general public.”

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) has already stated that he will introduce a companion bill to McCarthy’s in the Senate.

For McCarthy, though, passage of the legislation in the House is by no means certain, as the House sits under Republican control. House Speaker John Boehner has also added that he would likely not support it.

In a letter to her colleagues, McCarthy said, “The United States Constitution guarantees to our citizens the right to keep and bear arms. At the same time that we can all acknowledge this basic right, I believe that we should also be able to come together to develop reasonable laws designed to ensure that the right to bear arms is exercised safely and responsibly.”

Prior to releasing the text of the legislation, Representative McCarthy said that she hopes that Obama will “get off the sidelines of the gun debate” and support her legislation.

Gun control advocate, Kristen Rand-legislative director of the Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C.-appears unsure that President Obama will enter the debate.

“I frankly don’t know what it’s going to take to get the Obama administration to do even the most minor positive policy change on guns. They have a war basically brewing on the border, and there’s a lot they could do without legislation to address that problem, but that hasn’t moved them to act.”

For example, when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) asked the White House to allow ATF to require gun dealers to report large sales of semiautomatic weapons along the Mexican border, the White House failed to meet the ATF’s deadline. A White House spokesman indicates that the rule was still under consideration.

Rand says of the Obama administration, “They just ignore the issue as if it’s not there. I think they buy the hype about the power of the gun lobby. I think they and the Democratic Party buy into this idea that if you cross the gun lobby, you’ll lose.”

McCarthy was the most likely member of Congress to introduce such legislation, as gun control has been her pet project for many years since her husband was murdered and her son was seriously injured by a gunman on a Long Island commuter train in 1993.

Like Tucson gunman, Jared Loughner, the gunman who killed McCarthy’s husband used a high-capacity magazine.

In addition to McCarthy, three other New Yorkers indicated their intent to introduce gun control bills.

In the wake of the Arizona shooting, the House of Representatives suspended most of its regular business until next week. The legislation is not expected to be introduced until then.

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