New Efforts to Address Gun Violence as Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Ban Becomes Historical

by Gabriel Martinez
Gun control legislation

At the onset of his tenure, Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich opposed a bill by Senator Dianne Feinstein to reintroduce a ban on assault weapons following the Sandy Hook school tragedy. Over the past decade, with the pervasive spread of mass shootings across the U.S., Heinrich, a hunting enthusiast once backed by the NRA, has contemplated the formulation of a bill. This legislation aims to save lives without prohibiting firearms used for legitimate reasons.

During this time, Heinrich has observed his sons both learning to hunt and practicing emergency drills for mass shootings, experiences that deeply affect him. “There’s a noticeable shift in generations,” Heinrich remarked in a discussion with The Big Big News. He emphasized the need to acknowledge the legitimacy of firearms while rejecting the ownership of those intended for mass destruction.

Heinrich, in collaboration with Senator Angus King from Maine, has developed a new approach to gun violence legislation. Their focus is on assault-style weapons, particularly popular in America, and targets the gun’s component that elevates its danger in mass shootings.

Their proposed law, named the Go Safe Act, seeks to regulate assault weapons by mandating fixed magazines with a capacity limit. This measure aims to diminish the shooter’s capability to rapidly discharge numerous rounds and restrict the attachment of additional magazines.

King and Heinrich, representing rural states where guns are prevalent, propose a buy-back program alongside allowing existing gun ownership. Their legislation emphasizes the functionality over the appearance of assault weapons, a decision influenced by King’s personal experience with a devastating mass shooting in his state.

The NRA has strongly opposed this bill, labeling it a major prohibition on guns in the 21st century. They argue that it contravenes the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court rulings. However, Mark Collins from Brady, a gun violence prevention organization, believes this innovative approach could significantly reduce the damage in mass shootings.

The bill, lacking Republican support, faces uncertain prospects in Congress. It comes as Feinstein’s landmark 1994 assault weapons ban, which expired a decade later, has not been successfully reinstated.

Senator Heinrich, with an engineering background, seeks to create a regulatory structure based on the mechanical aspects of firearms. He aims for legislation that is passable and resilient against the current Supreme Court’s scrutiny.

Reflecting on his sons’ upbringing in an era marked by gun violence and mass shooter drills, Heinrich is motivated to find a middle ground in gun legislation. He believes if young individuals can discern between legitimate and dangerous firearm use, policymakers should also be capable of such discernment.

This report includes contributions from Lindsay Whitehurst of Big Big News.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Gun control legislation

What is the focus of the new gun control bill proposed by Senators Heinrich and King?

The bill focuses on regulating assault-style weapons by mandating fixed magazines with a capacity limit to reduce the ability to rapidly discharge numerous rounds. It aims to balance the prevention of mass shootings with the legitimate use of firearms.

How does the Go Safe Act differ from previous assault weapon bans?

Unlike previous bans that focused on the appearance of assault weapons, the Go Safe Act targets the functionality of these weapons, particularly their magazine capacity and reloading capabilities.

What is the stance of the NRA on this new legislation?

The NRA opposes the legislation, labeling it as a significant prohibition on guns in the 21st century and arguing that it violates the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court rulings.

What is the rationale behind not banning assault weapons outright in the proposed bill?

The rationale is to allow for the legitimate use of firearms while reducing the potential for mass casualties. The bill aims to create a balance by regulating specific aspects of firearms rather than an outright ban.

Are there any provisions for existing gun owners in the new legislation?

Yes, the legislation would allow gun owners to keep their existing guns and also includes a buy-back program for those who wish to voluntarily surrender their firearms.

More about Gun control legislation

  • Understanding the Go Safe Act
  • NRA’s Response to New Gun Legislation
  • The Evolution of Gun Control Laws in the US
  • Senators’ Approach to Gun Legislation
  • Balancing Gun Rights and Public Safety in Legislation
  • The Impact of Gun Control on Mass Shootings

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JohnDoe78 December 11, 2023 - 12:46 am

It’s sad to think about kids growing up with shooter drills, like Senator Heinrich’s sons. Makes you wonder what kind of world we’re leaving for them…

Mike Johnson December 11, 2023 - 4:47 am

interesting approach by the senators here. focusing on the function instead of just the looks of the guns, could be a game changer?

SarahL December 11, 2023 - 6:59 am

the NRA is always against any kind of gun control, no surprise there. but do they have a point about constitutional rights?


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