Heinrich looks to regulate firearms commonly used in mass shootings
New Mexico has the third highest rateof gun violence in the nation according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a way to combat this, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, is proposing a bill that would regulate certain kinds of semi-automatic weapons based on their lethality.
The Gas-Operated Semi-Automatic Firearms Exclusion Act or GOSAFEwould regulate firearms by preventing unlawful modifications and self-assembly, and would require future gas-operated designs to be approved before manufacture. It would also establish a list of prohibited firearms for civilians.
Heinrich, a gun owner, said the act is trying to protect the rights of fellow gun owners to use them for hunting and self-defense by focusing on weapons commonly used in mass shootings.
“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,” he said.
Senator Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, is one of several bill co-sponsors and said children have suffered the most from gun violence.
“I'm embarrassed to say this, everybody in this room should be embarrassed to say this,” he said. “That guns are the leading cause of death of children in America. That didn't used to be true.”
Aalayah Eastmond joined the press conference. She survived the school shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“I'm only alive today because of Nicholas Dorrit, who in death protected me as bullets rained down upon us and at an incomprehensible speed. Semi-automatic rifles with large capacity magazines have no place in our communities. And the longer we wait to pass some common sense regulations, the closer we are to the next mass shooting,” she said.
Senator Angus King, I-Maine, is also a bill co-sponsor, but no Republicans have signed on. Democrats say they are actively speaking with them and say they are open to their feedback.