By Kevin Deutsch
Rep. Ted Deutch on Friday introduced a bill that would tightly regulate semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines—weapons that have repeatedly been used to perpetrate mass shootings in the U.S.
Deutch, Chief Whip of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, reintroduced the National Firearms Amendment Act, which would add semiautomatic rifles that accept detachable magazines to a category of guns regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA).
The NFA was first enacted by Congress after the 1929 Valentine’s Day Massacre, in which seven gangsters were lined up against a wall and fatally shot in Chicago amid an underworld gang war involving Al Capone.
Deutch, who represents Parkland, said rather than imposing outright bans, the law applies tight regulations to fully automatic machine guns, short-barrelled shotguns, and silencers, making them more difficult to acquire. The law would apply similar tight regulations to semiautomatic rifles that can accept a detachable magazine.
“The Valentine’s Day massacre of 1929 led Congress to pass the National Firearms Act,” Deutch said in a written statement. “Now, after the 2018 Valentine’s Day school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Congress must again act to further regulate the kinds of firearms often used in mass shootings today.”
Deutch said the legislation “looks to use the framework of this over 87-year-old law that has survived numerous legal challenges and pressure from the gun lobby and apply the same standard to semiautomatic rifles that can accept a detachable magazine.”
The legislation was cosponsored by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, André Carson, Jim Cooper, Mark DeSaulnier, Mondaire Jones, Alan Lowenthal, Jamie Raskin, and Nikema Williams.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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