Newly Proposed Bill Plots A Novel Attack On Americans’ Gun Rights

Second Amendment

Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine and Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico are taking a new approach to gun regulation with a recently introduced bill.

The senators positioned their Gas-Operated Semi-Automatic Firearms Exclusion (GOSAFE) Act, which was introduced in late November and would “regulate the sale, transfer, and manufacture of gas-operated semi-automatic weapons,” as regulations on “especially dangerous” mechanical features, according to the press release. The distinction allows them to pitch the legislation as a way to promote safety while also protecting constitutional rights to own a firearm for “self-defense, hunting, and sporting purposes,” but opponents of the bill say that it still infringes on the Second Amendment.

“Even if they were to pass the law, it’ll never pass constitutional muster, and it will be struck down,” Aidan Johnston, director of federal affairs for Gun Owners of America, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “These senators just need to leave our rights alone and let Americans defend themselves with modern self defense technologies.”

Under the GOSAFE Act, rifles and shotguns would be required to operate with 10 rounds or less and handguns with 15 or less, according to the bill. Magazines must be “permanently fixed,” restricting detachable magazines that cut down on loading time. (RELATED: Appeals Court Delivers Blow To New York Concealed Carry Law)

Senate Republicans blocked Democrats’ bid Wednesday to reintroduce the assault weapons ban passed in 1994, which expired after 10 years, and to pass universal background checks legislation. Heinrich, who voted against renewing late Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California’s assault weapons ban in 2013, said in an interview with the Associated Press this week that his intent with the latest legislation was to figure out how to create “a regulatory structure that is not focused on the individual firearm model, but the mechanical properties that make these things dangerous.”

“I focused on those mechanics rather than on cosmetic features that individuals or even manufacturers can quickly modify,” Heinrich explained during a press conference on his legislation Tuesday. “These mechanisms are what allow civilian mass shooters to walk into public spaces, destroy human life at an incredible pace, and sometimes even outgun law enforcement.”

Randy Kozuch, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement that the act bans “the very types of firearms and magazines most often utilized by Americans for defending themselves and their families.”

“This bill unjustly and improperly places the full burden of the law on law-abiding residents, while doing nothing to take guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals,” Kozuch said.

“There is no path forward for legislation of this nature that would deprive law-abiding citizens the ability to lawfully possess the firearm of their choosing and the full spectrum of their Second Amendment rights,” Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the Firearm Industry Trade Association (NSSF) Lawrence G. Keane said in a statement.

Democratic Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona and Michael Bennet of Colorado are also co-sponsors of the bill.

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