Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) introduced legislation Tuesday to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines like the one used by a gunman in the Tucson, Ariz. shooting that left six dead and 13 wounded, including a congresswoman.
The bill is one of three being proposed by members of Long Island’s congressional delegation. Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) wants to make it illegal to carry a gun within 1,000 feet of federal officials and Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) last week reintroduced legislation to close the so-called “fire-sale loophole” that allows gun dealers who have had their license revoked to hold clearance sales without background checks.
“I know what it’s like to have tragedy brought to your life in a split second by a madman with high-capacity ammunition magazines,” said McCarthy, who was elected on a gun-control platform after her husband was killed and son maimed by deranged gunman Colin Ferguson in the 1993 Long Island Rail Road massacre. “I’m working to stop it from happening again.”
The bill would nationally standardize a 10-round maximum for magazines, or ammunition feeding devices, used in four other states today. The same limit was in effect nationwide for a decade under the federal assault weapons ban until that law expired in 2004.
McCarthy’s proposal would also ban the sale or transfer of magazines manufactured before the law went into effect, which was a loophole under the defunct law. The bill had 42 co-sponsors as of Tuesday afternoon. Companion legislation is expected to be introduced later this month in the Senate by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), who called it “common-sense.”
Groundswell for the proposal and others like it has been growing since Arizona authorities charged 22-year-old Jared Loughner with opening fire on a community event held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), killing a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl. Giffords, who suffered a gunshot wound to the head, survived despite slim odds and has had her condition upgraded from critical to stable this week.
Locally, a Hicksville man was accused of harassing Ackerman after repeatedly calling his office and leaving messages in which he allegedly threatened federal officials. And a Long Beach man is being held without bail after being charged with making death threats against federal financial regulators.
“It’s clear that Congress must close troubling loopholes in federal gun control laws that let firearms fall into the hands of convicted felons, fugitives, domestic violence perpetrators and severely emotionally disturbed individuals,” Ackerman said of his bill. “Every gun sold should require a background check, period.”
King told Fox News last week that he does not believe his legislation restricts the Second Amendment.
“It’s not just to protect the members of Congress but to protect the public,” he said.