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DeGette moves to force U.S. House vote on high-capacity magazine ban

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Lindsey Toomer

(Colorado Newsline) U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette used a mechanism in the House of Representatives that would force a vote on a bill without leadership’s approval to bring forward a vote on a gun safety bill. 

DeGette, a Denver Democrat, alongside House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chair Mike Thompson, a California Democrat, filed a so-called discharge petition to force a vote on the Keep Americans Safe Act. 

The bill would ban large capacity ammunition devices with a few exceptions and will likely struggle to get through the Republican-controlled House. High-capacity magazines can hold 30-100 rounds of ammunition, and DeGette said they were used in all of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in the country. She said the only purpose of these magazines is to kill a lot of people in a short amount of time. 

The petition requires 218 signatures to force a vote on the floor, and with 213 Democrats in the House, at least five Republicans would need to sign. DeGette said she thinks some Republicans in the House represent districts impacted by mass shootings and may be under pressure from their constituents to ban high-capacity magazines. 

“Once we get as many Democratic signatures as we can, we’re really going to start putting pressure on Republicans who are in districts where their constituents demand action,” DeGette said.

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On the House floor Wednesday when she announced the discharge petition, DeGette highlighted the persistent deaths seen across the U.S. involving high-capacity magazines and emphasized the need for urgent action. 

“These events continue to re-traumatize our community and our nation, because no community has been untouched by this deadly epidemic,” DeGette said. “In mass shootings with four or more people killed between 2015 and 2022, high-capacity magazines led to more than twice as many people being killed and nearly 10 times as many people being wounded per incident on average.”

U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, a Centennial Democrat, joined DeGette and members of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol after DeGette filed the petition and applauded Colorado leadership for its gun safety measures, particularly banning high-capacity magazines

“In Colorado, we are fortunate to have a state legislature focused on gun reform when Congress fails to make significant change due to Republican stonewalling over and over again,” Crow said. 

Crow highlighted several high-profile mass shootings in Colorado where the perpetrator used high capacity magazines: the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting, the 2021 Boulder King Soopers shooting, and the 2022 Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs. He said all of those shootings were as deadly as they were because of the use of high-capacity magazines like the ones the Keep Americans Safe Act is trying to prohibit. 

If the petition gets 218 signatures, a vote on the bill would come to the floor within a few days.

Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.