Kelly co-sponsors bill to restrict semi-automatic weapons, magazines and 'ghost guns'

By Hannah Cree/Arizona Public Media
Published: Wednesday, December 6, 2023 - 3:32pm

Mark Kelly
Gage Skidmore/CC BY 2.0
Mark Kelly

As news broke that the United States had broken a grim mass shooting record over the weekend, Democratic Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly held a press conference calling for harder restrictions on semi-automatic weapons and accessories.

The Guardian reports 2023 had 38 mass shootings, breaking the previous record of 36. So far, 203 people have died from gun violence this year.

Senators Kelly and cosponsors Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced the Gas Operated Semi-Automatic Firearms Exclusion Act, or GOSAFE Act, which would establish a list of prohibited firearms and limit the capacity of detachable magazines to 10 rounds.

It would also prohibit the manufacture and assembly of “ghost guns,” which are bought in pieces online and assembled at home. They are usually untraceable to law enforcement because they don’t have a serial number.

According to a fact sheet about the bill, the regulations seek to “limit a firearm’s ability to inflict maximum harm in a short amount of time” by limiting the number of bullets a gun can hold at one time.

Magazines hold bullets that feed into a gun, and detachable magazines allow users to carry an extensive amount of ammunition. The GOSAFE act would limit the number of rounds a detachable magazine could carry to 10.

According to the Giffords Law Center, high-capacity magazines have been used in all years of the deadliest mass shootings in the last 10 years.

The legislation also focuses specifically on gun modifications like bump stocks, which allow a semi-automatic weapon to become fully automatic.

Kelly called gun violence in America an “epidemic,” and discussed his own experience after his wife, Gabby Giffords, was seriously injured in a 2011 mass shooting in Tucson.

“I know the damage a firearm can do,” he said.

Kelly also acknowledged that he and his cosponsors are from Western states that traditionally value the Second Amendment, but that responsible gun ownership should guide gun policy.

The senator said more lives could have been saved on the day his wife was shot had the shooter not been able to purchase the modification that allowed him to carry more than 30 bullets at one time.

“Every bullet he shot out of the first magazine hit a person, 32 or 33 rounds. If that was not a high-capacity magazine, if that was a typical magazine for a 9mm handgun. You would have had fewer people shot, and fewer people killed, most likely,” Kelly said.

More stories from KJZZ

PoliticsLaw Enforcement Retail + Consumer