On Tuesday, Jan. 18, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) introduced H.R. 308, the “Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act.” The bill would ban the manufacture and importation of new magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Unlike the magazine ban that was in effect from 1994 to 2004, her new bill would also make it illegal for the tens of millions of Americans who already own these magazines to sell or otherwise transfer them, even through inheritance. In a letter to her colleagues, Rep. McCarthy claimed, “The only reason for the existence of these devices is to be able to shoot as many people as quickly as possible.”
Yet her bill would allow the continued acquisition and possession of these magazines by law enforcement officers, who carry firearms to defend themselves and the public. It would even allow these magazines to be transferred to law enforcement officers upon retirement, even though a retired officer’s right to use firearms for self-defense is the same as any other private citizen’s right.
With H.R. 308, Rep. McCarthy is pursuing the agenda of banning guns and magazines that she brought to Washington 14 years ago. In 2003, 2005 and 2007, Rep. McCarthy introduced bills that, like H.R. 308, would have banned magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Those bills would also have banned all firearms that were subject to the federal “assault weapon” ban of 1994-2004 and all firearms made specifically to comply with the 1994 ban. They would also have banned all semi-automatic shotguns, commonly owned semi-automatic rifles that don’t use detachable magazines of any size, and other commonly owned firearms.
H.R. 308 would severely violate the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment protects the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense, especially arms that are commonly owned. Firearms designed to use magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are among the most commonly owned self-defense guns today.
If you own magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, H.R. 308 would also put you at risk of prosecution. Because virtually no existing magazines bear any markings that show when they were made, H.R. 308 would require that magazines made after the ban be marked to distinguish them from pre-ban magazines. However, the bill’s “grandfather clause” for possession of pre-ban magazines would only create an affirmative defense — forcing defendants to prove that they possessed the magazines before the ban. This nearly impossible requirement is a major difference from the 1994 ban, which put the burden of proof on the government.
Obviously, despite the burdens it would put on honest Americans, Rep. McCarthy’s bill wouldn’t stop a criminal from obtaining magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Tens of millions of Americans own countless tens of millions of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds; even Rep. McCarthy admits that confiscation of existing magazines would be impossible. Anything that common can be stolen or bought on the black market. And even if no magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds were available, a criminal could still use multiple smaller magazines, multiple firearms, more powerful handguns, or weapons other than firearms.
To read a more detailed fact sheet on H.R. 308, please click here.
Please be sure to contact your U.S. Representative and urge him or her to strongly oppose H.R. 308! You can call your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121.
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