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Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty

Representing the 5th District of Connecticut

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Calling Responsible Gun Owners to the Table, Esty Introduces Keep Americans Safe Act

October 12, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) released her Keep Americans Safe Act, legislation to protect Americans and their families from “large-capacity” magazines, or those able to hold greater than ten rounds. Large-capacity magazines have played a significant role in mass shootings throughout the country, and gun violence prevention advocates argue the magazines are both unsafe and unnecessary. 

High-capacity magazines played a prominent role in a number of killings, from the recent tragedy in Las Vegas to the shootings in Newtown, San Bernardino, Tucson, Blacksburg, and countless others. The magazines greatly extend the shooter’s capability to take human life by allowing the assailant to fire dozens or even hundreds of rounds at a time. By enhancing the weapon’s firing capability and reducing the need to reload, mass shooters have been able to train military-grade firepower on their victims. 

Esty’s bill was endorsed by leading law enforcement organizations like the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the veterans’ organization VoteVets, the gun owners’ group American Coalition for Responsible Gun Ownership, as well as major gun violence prevention organizations throughout the country. 

“The horror that the shooter at Sandy Hook was able to inflict with high-capacity magazines is something I have never forgotten,” Esty said. “I became more convinced after every mass shooting that large-capacity magazines serve no other viable purpose but to maximize the loss of human life. Our schools, churches, movie theaters, concerts, offices, and shopping theaters have been turned into brutal killing fields, and it must stop now. 

“Every bullet that escapes the barrel of a gun has the potential to end human life – every single one. Every second a shooter spends reloading, and not firing, is a second that a potential victim has to escape. We saw this when former Representative Gabby Giffords and others around her survived the shooting in Tucson.

“There is simply no good reason why sportsmen and women need more than ten rounds in a magazine. No sportsman or woman needs thirty rounds to kill a deer. It’s shameful that we protect our deer better than we protect our people.

“We need to say that enough is enough. I hope my colleagues will join me in support of this legislation.”

“Like Rep. Esty, I believe that high-capacity magazines have no place in our neighborhoods and communities,” Rep. Dina Titus (NV-1) said. “They endanger law enforcement and bystanders by allowing dangerous shooters to fire more rounds without reloading and do not provide any recreational benefits to the public. After the 1 October shooting, Nevadans want and deserve action to upend the status quo. How much longer will we have to wait to close the background check loophole, prevent bump stocks from falling into dangerous hands, and ensuring criminals cannot access high-capacity magazines designed for the battlefield? Now is the time for Congress to hold hearings, debate measures, and pass laws that will save lives and protect communities.”

“Last week, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history took place in the heart of the community where I grew up,” Rep. Ruben Kihuen (NV-4) said. “We know that high-capacity magazines, which allow shooters to fire dozens of shots without having to reload, directly contributed to the deadliness of this horrific event. The American people are counting on us to take steps to reduce the tragic gun violence affecting communities across the country. That’s why I am proud to help introduce the Keep Americans Safe Act. Congress should take decisive action and pass this legislation to help prevent unnecessary loss of life caused by gun violence.”

"It is more urgent than ever that we take meaningful action to reduce the toll of widespread gun violence,” Rep. Jacky Rosen (NV-3). “There’s no single solution, but I know we can support the Second Amendment while taking reasonable steps to reduce the carnage inflicted on our communities by gun violence. High-capacity magazines have no practical purpose for hunting or self-defense, they increase the threat for potential victims trying to find safety, and they make it more challenging for law enforcement to confront and neutralize an active shooter. Banning high-capacity magazines is a commonsense step Congress can take to decrease the scope and widespread destruction of tragic mass shootings.”

“I’m proud to join my colleagues in this important measure to address gun violence,” Rep. Ted Deutch (FL-22) said. “Thirteen years since the large capacity ammo ban lapsed, Congress has repeatedly failed to act to protect the American people. Gun owners – whether for hunting or self-defense – have no need for magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammo, and restricting it will prevent the scale of mass shootings that we’ve seen all too frequently in recent years. It’s time for Congress to lift the N.R.A.’s shackles and act on sensible legislation to address the gun violence epidemic leaving too many American casualties.”

“When a person perpetrates a mass shooting, like the one that took the life of my sweet little Daniel, the capacity of a magazine can often determine how many bullets are fired before the shooter is stopped. Each time a shooter must pause to reload can provide an opportunity for bystanders or law enforcement to disarm, distract, or escape – each time can save so many lives,” said Mark Barden, Managing Director, Sandy Hook Promise. “Establishing a maximum magazine capacity is simply the kind of commonsense action we can all agree on to help make our families and communities safer.”

“Military-style assault weapons with high capacity magazines have been used in high-profile mass shooting incidents during the last five years - including Aurora, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Orlando and Las Vegas shootings,” said Po Murray, Chair of the Newtown Action Alliance & The Newtown Foundation. “The high capacity magazines reduce the time needed for the shooter to reload the weapon therefore a large number of people are killed in the shortest time possible. During the tragic mass shooting incident at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, six children lived through the horror when the gunman's weapon jammed while he was attempting to reload his 30-round magazine. Reducing the size of the magazines will make it harder for mass shooters to cause maximum damage and save countless American lives in the future.”

“High capacity magazines serve one purpose – to allow a shooter to fire upwards of 30, 50, or 100 rounds as fast as they can squeeze the trigger without having to stop and reload,” said Chelsea Parsons, Vice President of Guns and Crime Policy at the Center for American Progress. “These magazines have nothing to do with hunting or self-defense and instead only enable dangerous individuals bent on doing harm to inflict a maximum amount of damage with minimal effort. High capacity magazines are a key factor in the high casualty count of many shootings and this bill is a strong step forward in closing this gap in the federal law that endangers all of our communities.”

“I’m in Washington, DC today to advocate for responsible gun ownership and saving American lives,” said Mark Carman, gun owner, Grammy-nominated and award-winning country music producer and MoveOn.org Civic Action petition creator. In the wake of Las Vegas, we all need to come together and agree on commonsense solutions like the Keeping Americans Safe Act. As a gun owner, I know we can protect the right to own a firearm for responsible adults, while also listening to the majority of Americans—including the 210,000 people who signed my MoveOn petition—who agree that we must do more.” 

“There’s just no practical purpose that a high capacity magazine has, other than for someone out looking to kill a lot of people,” Will Fischer from VoteVets.org said. For those of us who served, we know that high capacity magazines are meant for the battlefield, not the streets of America. This has nothing to do with the Second Amendment, and everything to do with making sure that our streets don’t resemble a war zone, with the same deadly results.  This bill is common sense, and it should be passed and enacted without delay.”

“As we saw in Las Vegas and as we have seen time and time again, high capacity magazines allow dangerous people to do maximum damage. A ban on high capacity magazines – especially combined with other commonsense gun violence prevention measures – will save lives,” said Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “There is no logical reason for civilians to own these accessories of war. They serve one purpose: killing as many people as possible as quickly as possible. We fully support Representative Esty’s life-saving policy proposal and believe it is one of many crucial steps we must take to stop our gun violence epidemic.”

“Pride Fund to End Gun Violence applauds Congresswoman Esty for introducing the ‘Keep Americans Safe Act’, which would prohibit the purchase, possession, or importation of large capacity magazines,” said Jason Lindsay, Executive Director and Founder of Pride Fund to End Gun Violence. “These devices are used far too often in mass shootings and have no place in our society. As an Iraq War veteran, I fully believe that large capacity magazines have no place on American streets. Large capacity magazines reduce the need for a shooter to reload, and deprives people of opportunities to escape or intervene, increasing the carnage of an attack. 72 percent of Americans support restricting access to large capacity magazines, despite what the NRA would have you believe. We enthusiastically support Congresswoman Esty’s ‘Keep Americans Safe Act’ and stand shoulder to shoulder with her in this fight on behalf of the American people. We need a comprehensive approach to address this public health crisis that kills 33,000 Americans each year, and this legislation is a critical component in the solution.”

“Large capacity magazines have no place in our communities.  Hunters don't use them. Killers use them to hurt as many people as they can, as fast as they can. Large capacity magazines are a threat to all of us, and to our often outgunned law enforcement community.  That is why Brady is proud to support this legislation,” said Brady Campaign Co-President Avery Gardiner.

“High-capacity ammunition magazines are the common thread running through virtually every mass shooting,” said Kristen Rand, Legislative Director, Violence Policy Center. “Whether used in standard semiautomatic pistols or attached to assault weapons, high-capacity magazines enable shooters to inflict mass casualties in minutes.”

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