Third District Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., is co-sponsoring legislation that would ban high-capacity ammunition magazines.
A pair of Democratic lawmakers introduced the same bill last summer in the wake of a mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater. But there is newfound pressure for gun control measures due to the massacre of students and faculty at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.
The measure would ban the sale or transfer of firearms that hold more than 10 rounds. Supporters point out that some gun magazines have 100 or more rounds.
Yarmuth says this measure is one of the least controversial attempts at gun control to prevent future massacres.
“These magazines serve no legitimate sporting purpose or even self-defense purpose. They are only there for mass killing,” he says.
Second Amendment advocates say the ban infringes upon their constitutional rights, and the magazine limit is too low. It is unclear if the bill has any chance at passing the Republican-controlled House, but it is clear that the debate about firearms is receiving national focus.
The White House announced Wednesday that Vice President Joe Biden is meeting with leaders of the National Rifle Association to explore if there are common ground solutions.
The debate appears to be particularly interesting in Louisville given that Fourth District Congressman Thomas Massie, R-Ky., whose district includes the city’s East End, proposed a bill to expand gun rights in schools.
Last week, Massie introduced his first measure called the Citizens Protection Act of 2013, saying that further regulations would not deter mass shooting. As WFPL’s Devin Katayama reported, school safety is on the minds and lips of many local leaders, including Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad.
From Devin’s desk:
“We’re all looking for what we can do to make our schools safer and we’re all looking for that—no pun intended—magic bullet. It doesn’t exist,” Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad told guests of the Louisville Forum Wednesday.
Conrad was responding to comments made by National Rifle Association officials, who after the Sandy Hook shootings said armed guards should protect students at every school.
But Chief Conrad says the solution to violence in schools is going to require the community’s involvement as well as school preparation.
Asked about his freshman colleague’s bill, Yarmuth says it is ill advised and likely won’t make it out of the Republican-controlled House.
“You won’t find many educators in the country who think that that’s a good idea and I don’t think you’re going to find many members on either side of the aisle that think that’s a very good idea either,” he says.
Yarmuth did say he would be open to holding a public debate with Massie on gun control, adding that community would be better served by it.