The 113th Congress has already brought pointed action on gun control, with the introduction of two bills to amend U.S. firearm laws. One bill proposed by Democratic Reps. Carolyn McCarthy of New York and Diana DeGette of Colorado would ban the sale of ammunition online.
The bill was originally introduced following the shooting last July at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater when a gunman opened fire and killed 12 people and injured 58. Shooting suspect James Holmes anonymously purchased more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition online, and stockpiled it along with weapons, explosives, and body armor. McCarthy’s legislation would require anyone selling ammunition to be a licensed dealer and any buyer to present photo identification at the time of purchase, effectively eliminating online and mail-order sales. Dealers would also be required to report any purchase of more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition to law enforcement.
Of the original bill, McCarthy said:
The Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act pulls ammunition sales out of the shadows and into the light, where criminals can’t hide and responsible dealers can act as a line of defense against the planning and stockpiling of a potential mass killer … Law-abiding gun owners and shooters should support this legislation because it hinders criminals from abusing the Second Amendment right that our nation promises and could save innocent lives in the process.
Second Amendment advocates are not all in favor of the bill. They say it would severely limit the supply of ammunition available to law-abiding gun owners, and drive up prices. They also say it would burden dealers who would have to comply with the licensing requirements.
Ammunition sales across the country saw a spike following the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn. in what has become a trend: A gun massacre leads to calls for tighter gun control, which leads to gun owners hoarding ammunition they fear will be banned.
Other gun control bills to be taken up this session include another reintroduced by McCarthy and DeGette that would ban the sale of high-capacity gun magazines, and a bill by California Sen. Diane Feinstein that would ban assault weapons. The original federal assault weapons ban expired in 2004, and Feinstein said her new bill will be even stricter than the original one.
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