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Amendment Banning Sale and Possession of High Capacity Magazines Proposed for Senate Bill

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Following some calls for greater gun control after the Aurora shooting, a proposed amendment to the Senate’s Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S.3414) was introduced this week. It includes wording which would ban the sale and possession of high capacity magazines. The proposal was granted cloture and it will now move to the amendment voting process on the floor this week. Although there is not a concrete definition of a “high capacity magazine”, the amendment (S.AMDT.2575) to the Act defines “large capacity ammunition feeding devices” in its text:

PROHIBITION ON TRANSFER OR POSSESSION OF LARGE CAPACITY AMMUNITION FEEDING DEVICES.

(a) Definition.–Section 921(a) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after paragraph (29) the following:

“(30) The term `large capacity ammunition feeding device’–

“(A) means a magazine , belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition; but

“(B) does not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.”.

(b) Prohibitions.–Section 922 of such title is amended by inserting after subsection (u) the following:

“(v)(1)(A)(i) Except as provided in clause (ii), it shall be unlawful for a person to transfer or possess a large capacity ammunition feeding device.

“(ii) Clause (i) shall not apply to the possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device otherwise lawfully possessed within the United States on or before the date of the enactment of this subsection.

“(B) It shall be unlawful for any person to import or bring into the United States a large capacity ammunition feeding device.

“(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to–

“(A) a manufacture for, transfer to, or possession by the United States or a department or agency of the United States or a State or a department, agency, or political subdivision of a State, or a transfer to or possession by a law enforcement officer employed by such an entity for purposes of law enforcement (whether on or off duty);

“(B) a transfer to a licensee under title I of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 for purposes of establishing and maintaining an on-site physical protection system and security organization required by Federal law, or possession by an employee or contractor of such a licensee on-site for such purposes or off-site for purposes of licensee-authorized training or transportation of nuclear materials;

“(C) the possession, by an individual who is retired from service with a law enforcement agency and is not otherwise prohibited from receiving ammunition, of a largecapacity ammunition feeding device transferred to the individual by the agency upon that retirement; or

“(D) a manufacture, transfer, or possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device by a licensed manufacturer or licensed importer for the purposes of testing or experimentation authorized by the Attorney General.”.

(c) Penalties.–Section 924(a) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(8) Whoever knowingly violates section 922(v) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.”.

(d) Identification Markings.–Section 923(i) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following: “A large capacity ammunition feeding device manufactured after the date of the enactment of this sentence shall be identified by a serial number that clearly shows that the device was manufactured after such date of enactment, and such other identification as the Attorney General may by regulation prescribe.”.

The amendment to the Senate version of the bill was introduced by Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg (NJ) and co-sponsored by Democratic Senators Carl Levin (MI), Barbara Boxer (CA), Jack Reed (RI), Bob Menendez (NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Chuck Schumer (NY), and Dianne Feinstein (CA). A vote on the Cybersecurity Act is expected before the August recess (which begins August 6), but it faces strong opposition from privacy advocates and firearms advocates alike.

Another recent gun control proposal, which would ban the online sale of ammunition, is detailed here.

Image from Cliff (cliff1066™) on the flickr Creative Commons

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