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Collins statement on H.R. 1186 markup – House Judiciary Committee

” . . . we are now considering a bill that, despite its name, will do nothing to make Americans safer. . . . The data simply does not support enacting this measure if the goal is to save lives. H.R. 1186 is not a reasonable limit on magazine capacity. It’s an arbitrary limit on Americans’ right to self-defense that will ensure only criminals possess these items and use them to victimize law-abiding citizens.”

WASHINGTON — Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, made the following opening statement at today’s markup of H.R. 1186.

Below are the remarks as prepared.

Ranking Member Collins: Mr. Chairman, we are now considering a bill that, despite its name, will do nothing to make Americans safer. You don’t have to take my word for it. Instead, let’s consider some of the published studies that examine the issue.

We all know that, in 1994, a 10-year federal ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition was enacted as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. While that ban was in place, a 1997 Department of Justice-funded study of the ban determined that “at best, the assault weapons ban can have only a limited effect on total gun murders, because the banned weapons and magazines were never involved in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders.”

A comprehensive study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2003 looked at 51 studies covering the full array of gun-control measures, including the assault weapon ban’s magazine capacity limitation, and was unable to show that the limitation had reduced crime.

The following year, a 2004 U.S. Department of Justice-funded follow-up study of the 1994 assault weapon ban determined that “[s]hould it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

Following the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, Governor Tim Kaine convened a review panel to study the atrocity. The shooter used several magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds. The report stated, “[T]he panel also considered whether the previous federal Assault Weapons Act of 1994 that banned 15-round magazines would have made a difference in the April 16 incidents. The law lapsed after 10 years, in October 2004, and had banned clips or magazines with over 10 rounds. The panel concluded that 10-round magazines that were legal would have not made much difference in the incident. Even pistols with rapid loaders could have been about as deadly in this situation.”

If you want to disagree with the CDC, DOJ or Virginia Tech findings, I can point you to a 2018 Rand Corporation comprehensive study that surveyed the available research on several gun control policies. Rand sought to determine “How Bans on the Sale of Assault Weapons and High-Capacity Magazines Affect Gun Use Outcomes.” The study concluded, “[W]e found no qualifying studies showing that bans on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines decreased any of the eight outcomes we investigated.”

Magazines that this bill would prohibit are common with most semiautomatic rifles and pistols. Law-abiding Americans own and use millions of these magazines safely and responsibly. There are already roughly 130 million detachable magazines. More than 30 million of these can accommodate more than 30 rounds. Many of these are not aftermarket items because manufacturers often provide magazines that accommodate 15 to 30 rounds of ammunition as standard equipment for handguns and rifles.

The data simply does not support enacting this measure if the goal is to save lives. H.R. 1186 is not a reasonable limit on magazine capacity. It’s an arbitrary limit on Americans’ right to self-defense that will ensure only criminals possess these items and use them to victimize law-abiding citizens.

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