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Democratic Senators Look To Tighten Gun Control In Two Separate Bills

U.S. News & World Report
By Lauren Fox

Gun Free Zone

New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer has some back up in his fight for gun control legislation he wants to attach to a cyber-security bill making its way through the Senate this week.

New Jersey Democratic Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez, California Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, and Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed are also expected to be vocal over one of the first legislative responses to the Aurora, Colorado shooting, which left 12 dead and injured nearly 60.

“I think there can be a balance,” Schumer said on the Senate floor last week. “I would suggest that the place to start here is for us to admit there’s a right to bear arms…but at the same time say that doesn’t mean that right is absolute.”

Schumer has offered an amendment that would limit the type of high-capacity gun magazines consumers could purchase.

The amendment bans drums, gun magazines and feed strips that can fire off more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The only exclusion is .22 caliber rimfire ammunition, which is a much smaller bullet.

The amendment is similar to a bill Lautenberg sponsored in the Senate that is currently stuck in committee.

Schumer is hoping to strike a middle-of-the-road balance to gun control that can break down perceptions of liberals that characterize them as wanting to take every gun away from the American public.

“You look at ads from the NRA and the groups even further over, the Gun Owners of America, their basic complaint is that the Chuck Schumers of the world want to take away your guns, even if it’s the hunting rifle your Uncle Willie gave you when you were 14,” he said.

New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and Lautenberg announced the “Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act” Monday, legislation that would ban internet sales of ammunition and require licensed dealers to report suspicious purchases of 1,000 rounds of ammunition or more. James Holmes, the man charged in the Aurora shooting, bought nearly 6,000 rounds of ammunition online undetected.

A pew research poll released Monday shows the public has barely altered its view of gun ownership rights since the Aurora shooting. The country is still split, with 47 percent of Americans supporting tighter gun control laws and 46 percent saying it’s more important to protect the rights of gun owners. More than two thirds of Americans polled said they thought the shooting in Colorado was an isolated incident, more symptomatic of a troubled individual than a national epidemic of violence.