Lautenberg To Sponsor Bill Restricting Online Ammunition Sales

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Sen. Frank Lautenberg

NEW YORK, N.Y.– U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY4) and advocates from the gun safety community announced new legislation being introduced this week that would restrict the sale of ammunition over the internet.

The bill, called the Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act, aims to keep Americans safe by limiting the ability to anonymously purchase unlimited quantities of ammunition through the internet or other mail-order means. It would also require that ammunition dealers report bulk sales of ammunition to law enforcement.

The man accused of killing 12 and injuring 58 in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater this month had purchased over 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the internet shortly before the shooting spree, according to law enforcement officials.

“If someone wants to purchase deadly ammunition, they should have to come face-to-face with the seller,” said Lautenberg. “It’s one thing to buy a pair of shoes online, but it should take more than a click of the mouse to amass thousands of rounds of ammunition. This legislation is a simple common-sense step that would put safeguards in place to detect suspicious activity, helping to prevent the sale of ammunition to a terrorist or the next would-be mass murderer.”

“The Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act pulls ammunition sales out of the shadows and into the light, where criminals can’t hide and responsible dealers can act as a line of defense against the planning and stockpiling of a potential mass killer,” McCarthy said. “Law-abiding gun owners and shooters should support this legislation because it hinders criminals from abusing the Second Amendment right that our nation promises and could save innocent lives in the process.”

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg also today repeated his call for the nation’s presidential candidates to discuss gun safety measures.

“If Washington doesn’t act, 48,000 Americans will be murdered with guns during the next president’s term,” said Bloomberg. “We should be having a great debate among two accomplished leaders and the people they’re asking to hire them. But we’re not getting leadership; we’re just getting condolences. If the presidential candidates won’t act, others will – including Senator Lautenberg and Congresswoman McCarthy, who time and again have shown their steadfast commitment to protecting American lives.”

The Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act works through four components:

  • It requires anyone selling ammunition to be a licensed dealer.
  • It requires ammunition buyers who are not licensed dealers to present photo identification at the time of purchase, effectively banning the online or mail order purchase of ammo by regular civilians.
  • It requires licensed ammunition dealers to maintain records of the sale of ammunition.
  • It requires licensed ammunition dealers to report the sale of more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition to an unlicensed person within any five consecutive business days.

The Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act undoes the effects of a law advanced by the NRA in the 1980s, as explained by the Violence Policy Center’s Kristen Rand: “Online ammunition sales are the direct result of the NRA’s flagship bill of the 1980s, the McClure-Volkmer ‘Firearms Owners’ Protection Act.’ Prior to McClure-Volkmer, interstate ammunition sales by common carrier to private individuals were banned, records were maintained of ammunition sales, and ammunition sellers had to be licensed. In today’s internet age the effect of this change can now be measured in untold rounds of ammunition sold to the wrong buyers and all too many lives ended. We applaud the leadership of Senator Lautenberg and Representative McCarthy in working to reinstate this life-saving component of federal law.”

Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said: “We as a nation know we are better than this. We are better than the massacres at Aurora, Co., Virginia Tech, Tucson, and the Long Island Railroad. We are better than 32 gun murders every day. In the past week, we have been inspired to see Americans come together on WeAreBetterThanThis.org to begin a real conversation about what we can do to prevent the tragedy of gun violence in our nation – a conversation that includes Democrats and Republicans, those who own guns and those who don’t; a conversation fundamentally respectful of the Second Amendment. The American people are demanding that our elected officials and presidential candidates join that conversation by proposing real solutions and plans to make us the better, safer nation that we all know we can be. Today we applaud Sen. Lautenberg and Rep. McCarthy for doing just that — for showing true leadership in this vitally important conversation — and for proposing this measure that will save lives.”

Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said: “As the tragedy in Aurora shows, our weak laws enable dangerous people to anonymously purchase unlimited quantities of ammunition online and in stores. We strongly support Rep. McCarthy and Sen. Lautenberg’s legislation, which will bring desperately needed oversight to this largely unregulated area. This legislation will provide law enforcement with critical tools to help keep our communities safe from gun violence.”

New Yorkers Against Gun Violence Executive Director Jackie Hilly said: “The nation was shocked when 70 people were shot in Colorado and we must do what we can to help prevent these numbers of casualties in the future. Senator Lautenberg and Congresswoman McCarthy’s legislation is similar to provisions already in place in some places, like New York City, and Congress should consider it seriously.”

Nicola Bocour, Project Director of Ceasefire NJ, said: “Ceasefire NJ is honored to stand with Senator Lautenberg and Congresswoman McCarthy in support of the ‘Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act.’ The proposed legislation will help to prevent shootings such as the tragedy in Aurora and save lives by regulating online ammunition sales so that an individual will no longer be able to accumulate an arsenal of ammunition in such a short period of time without detection. Congress must take action against these heinous acts of gun violence and pass the ‘Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act’; the reality is if we don’t demand real and meaningful change about guns and ammunition it is easy to predict more such tragedies.”

Carole Stiller, President of the NJ Million Mom March, said: “Today a bill is being announced to stop online ammunition sales. This bill will in no way interfere with the Supreme Court’s interpretation that the Second Amendment allows people the right to own guns to protect themselves in their homes. So there should be NO opposition from the gun lobby… nor from the Congressmembers whom it routinely influences.”

In addition to the Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act, Lautenberg and McCarthy are also sponsors of legislation to strengthen the nation’s instant background check system and to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines such as the ones used in Aurora, Tucson, Virginia Tech, Columbine, the Long Island Railroad in 1993, last year’s killing spree in Norway and numerous other mass shootings in recent history.

Law enforcement officials and advocates agree that the high capacity of the magazines used in these shootings are what enable the high number of casualties in these incidents. In many of these cases, the shooting stopped or slowed down when the assailant ran out of bullets or experienced equipment failure.


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  • Zendog76

    What is even the point of this bill? Are all the crazy people buying their ammo online now, or is this just shamelessly pandering to his anti gun too dumb too realize that police come after a crime is committed fanbase?

  • BB

    Good job Frank, another great idea of yours. I know we pay for your protection by Local Police, State Troopers, Washington’s police, the FBI and the Secret Service. Why do you insist on making us citizens defenseless? Does it make you feel good to do that? Let us in New Jersey get our CCP and watch crime go down. Yes, Frank, crime goes down in the CCP States. It would be nice if you, elected by us just paid a little attention to our wishes…. and needs.

  • icanhas11b

    so this is suppose to “keep Americans safe by limiting the ability to anonymously purchase unlimited quantities of ammunition through the internet or other mail-order means.”

    if i anonymously purchase something online firstly how does the vendor know where to send it? and secondly last time i checked my name was printed on the bottom of my credit card.

  • jdramsey

    And not a one of these shooters has ever carried 200 rounds or more into one of these shootings. A standard combat load for a US Marine in only 300 rounds (10 mags of 30). So limiting ammo purchases to 1000 round will do nothing to stop a shooter. But a CCW permit holder with a CCW could stop a shooter in their tracks. All the law will do is inconvenience recreational and completive shooters like me. It’ll cost me personally hundreds or thousands of dollars a year that I currently save by ordering my ammunition in bulk online by the case or crate. I routinely order as much as 2000 rounds at a time. Not because I’m up to no good or planning a mass murder, but because it’s so much cheaper to do it that way. (i.e. for the same reason people buy bulk at Sam’s, BJ’s or Cosco; to save money.)

  • CommonSense

    Seriously? Really?!?!?!?! This is bogus, restricting ammunition won’t save lives. There is a fundamental fault with this “gun control” the criminals aren’t going to follow any laws to get their weapons! Don’t punish the millions of responsible gun owners for the few wack jobs that go on shooting sprees! Encourage concealed carry, if there had been one, two, or even three CCW/CWP holders in that theater far fewer people would have died needlessly. It’s not the amount if ammunition this psycho had or how he got it that’s important, It’s that no one did ANYTHING to stop him! When seconds matter NO police response time is fast enough. You are responsible for your safety, I can’t believe that people can actually blame inanimate objects for crimes PEOPLE commit! Even if a government could disarm every person the psychos would just use other weapons like pipe bombs, knives, scissors, and chemicals. Don’t take away the best defense good, law abiding, citizens have against the evils of the world. That us just stupid!!

  • wysoft

    And what exactly is the “gun safety community?” Oh, that’s right. They are the community that wishes to strip ordinary citizens of our second amendment rights and leave us defenseless against criminals and the potential of an increasingly totalitarian government.

    The rest of the country would greatly appreciate it if the kind folks of New Jersey would get a handle on their politicians. Those of us in free states don’t appreciate them mingling in laws that affect the rest of us. We didn’t vote for your clowns.

    Thanks.

  • TANKER

    This is like blaming the fork for the spoon making a person fat, neither one had anything to do with it. Weather he wants to realize it or not there still are places here in the U.S. where people get everything shipped to them and it’s not just in Alaska.

  • jspahn

    In the true Hope and Change American spirit of Guilty Until Proven Innocent

  • Ron04

    This Congressman can go %%^& himself. I am so sick and tired of the lefts knee jerk reactions towards lawful gun owners whenever some nut case goes on a rampage. How about addressing the MENTAL HEALTH LAWS? How about investigating the therapist/physician he was seeing? Keep your stinkin’ hands off my RIGHTS and deal with the criminals. ENOUGH ALREADY! It’s so flippin’ predictable its ad naseum.

  • Juliemac57

    I am a 55 year old woman, who’s hobby is target shooting.
    Not all cartriges are the same, one gun will fire the round fine, the next it will jam.
    I found the rounds that my gun likes after a long test period. I buy my ammunition in bulk as the local gun shops dont carry the type I use in my pistol, nor will they order it for me.
    The sites I order from are FFL dealers.
    The other shooters are all respectable people, who take this hobby and the handling of the guns seriously.

  • Cynyster

    Please explain to me…. Why I as a law abiding person should be punished due to the actions of a mad man…. That’s just…. MAD. BTW this law if it were in effect would not have changed anything. All this will do is punished law abiding citizens and hurt commerce.

    When will you guys get it through your skull that CRIMINALS DO NOT OBEY LAWS.

    Quit making it hard for law abiding people to protect themselves!
    You guys seem to forget that all those tragedies that you listed occurred in GUN FREE ZONES. Fat lot of good your laws did.

  • jayhanig

    This is a load of crap though I shouldn’t be surprised considering the source. What if Holmes had accumulated a million rounds of ammunition via the internet or any other source? How much did he bring to the massacre? A couple of hundred rounds? What difference does it make how much he left at home? He left them all at home!

    In any case, using this massacre to sneak through Lautenberg’s real agenda (to remove guns from the hands of honest law-abiding citizens) is disingenuous. An intelligent, well educated murderer like Jim Holmes would have easily chosen another method to commit mass murder: explosives, chemical or biological agents, whatever. Does anybody really doubt his ability to make use of any of these things? I think the proof is in what he left for the cops at home.

    So why are we talking about limiting ammunition again?

  • JN

    This is opportunistic politics. The shooter in Aurora shot less than 100 rounds if I calculate correctly. The fact that he had 6,000 rounds in his apartment is totally irrelevant. This is just another attempt by the anti-gun group to regulate my rights further. By the way, I have several thousands of rounds of ammunition. It looks like I will be buying more because of stupid regulations like this.

  • mikey1966

    what do you think thats gonna fix.the shit you people come up with is stupid as shit.it only took 60 rounds to do what he did.he might have shot more but online sales isnt the damn answer.use you gd head morons.