Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In Wake of Giffords Assassination Attack, Calls To Ban Extended Clips; UPDATE: Rep. King To Call For 1,000 Foot Ban?

In the wake of the attempted assassination of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords that left six dead and 13 injured, several members of Congress have proposed banning extended clips such as the one apparently used by Jared Loughner in the attack.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has introduced a measure in the Senate while New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is expected to introduce a similar measure in the House.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said he would introduce the measure to re-establish a prohibition that lapsed in 2004 on clips that feed more than 10 rounds at a time.

"The only reason to have 33 bullets loaded in a handgun is to kill a lot of people very quickly. These high-capacity clips simply should not be on the market," Lautenberg said in a written statement announcing his plans. He said he would file the bill when the Senate returns to session later this month.
The focus on Capitol Hill isn't a gun ban, but rather on the extended clips that allow a user to fire off 30 rounds before having to reload. However, expect Republican and NRA opposition to the proposed measures.

Huffington Post is reporting that Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is going to introduce a measure that would make it illegal to carry a weapon within 1,000 feet of an elected official.
Rep. Peter King, a Republican from New York, is planning to introduce legislation that would make it illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a government official, according to a person familiar with the congressman's intentions.

King is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. The proposed law follows the Saturday shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and a federal judge that left six dead, including the judge, and 14 wounded.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the nation's most outspoken gun-control advocates, is backing King's measure and is expected to put the weight of his pro-gun-control organization behind it.
Such measures wont prevent criminal acts such as the Giffords attack, but provide additional criminal sanctions for those who break the law. I think enforcement of the proposed measure would be extremely problematic.

It would seem to trump concealed carry among those who are lawfully within their rights to otherwise carry weapons and raises a question as to how the law could be enforced in the residential areas around members. Would this mean that a representative living in an urban area has a zone of 1,000 feet around them where possessing weapons is potentially illegal?

The measure may end up being limited to members participating in public events or at their offices or the 1,000 foot zone is reduced to something more manageable - 500 or 250 feet.

The 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, defined large capacity ammunition feeding devices but did not establish an outright ban.
DEVICE.—Section 921(a) of title 18, United States Code, as amended
by section 110102(b), is amended by adding at the end the following
new paragraph:
‘‘(31) The term ‘large capacity ammunition feeding device’—
‘‘(A) means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar
device manufactured after the date of enactment of the Violent
Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 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
The prohibition was written such that it was unlawful to transfer or possess those items except if they were otherwise lawfully possessed on or before the enactment date (1994) and there were certain additional exemptions from the requirement. This wasn't an outright ban but did limit the transfer and production of new extended ammo feeding devices such as extended clips. Reenacting the 1994 legislation would not ban the extended clip and would not have prevented the attacks. Had a ban been in place, it could have reduced the number of people injured and/or killed.

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