Two Democratic lawmakers on Monday will announce new legislation to regulate the online and mail-order sale of ammunition. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (N.J.) and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (N.Y.) said the new law would make the sale of ammunition “safer for law-abiding Americans who are sick and tired of the ease with which criminals can now anonymously stockpile for mass murder,” in a statement released Saturday.
The lawmakers cite the recent movie massacre in Aurora, Colo. for spurring their bill.
“The shooter who killed 12 and injured 58 in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater this month had purchased over 6,000 rounds of ammunition anonymously on the Internet shortly before going on his killing spree, according to law enforcement officials,” the statement reads. “The shooter used a civilian version of the military’s M-16 rifle with a 100-round drum magazine, a shotgun and two .40-caliber semi-automatic handguns commonly used by police officers.”
Lautenberg and McCarthy, who will unveil their new proposal at New York’s City Hall say they intend to “make it harder for criminals to anonymously stockpile ammunition through the Internet.”
Lautenberg and McCarthy are two high profile advocates of gun control legislation, but they face an uphill struggle in Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said last week that he does not intend to bring gun control legislation to the floor and President Obama has been reluctant to press lawmakers to act on the issue in an election year.
Democratic senators though have offered an amendment to the cybersecurity bill that would limit the purchase of high capacity magazines by some consumers. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) defended it last Thursday as a “reasonable” gun control measure.
The amendment is identical to a separate bill proposed in January 2011 by Lautenberg also banning the sale of high capacity ammunition magazines.
After the shootings in Colorado, the New Jersey senator urged lawmakers to reconsider his bill.
“We need to start today on efforts to prevent the next attack,” he said in a statement. “We should begin by passing my legislation to ban the sale of high-capacity gun magazines. No sportsman needs 100 rounds to shoot a duck, but allowing high-capacity magazines in the hands of killers like James Holmes and Jared Loughner puts law enforcement at a disadvantage and innocent lives at risk.”
Loughner, the gunman charged in the shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (R-Ariz.) and Holmes, who is the lone suspect in the Aurora theater shootings are both believed to have used high-capacity magazines.