Senators Introduce GOSAFE Act, Targeting Gas-Operated Semi-Automatic Weapons

Senators Angus King of Maine and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico have proposed a novel approach to gun regulation through the Gas-Operated Semi-Automatic Firearms Exclusion (GOSAFE) Act. Introduced in late November, the bill aims to regulate the sale, transfer, and manufacture of gas-operated semi-automatic weapons, focusing on what they deem “especially dangerous” mechanical features. This distinction allows the senators to position the legislation as a measure promoting safety while respecting constitutional rights for self-defense, hunting, and sporting purposes. However, critics argue that the proposed bill encroaches on Second Amendment rights.

Under the GOSAFE Act, rifles and shotguns would be required to operate with 10 rounds or fewer, and handguns with 15 rounds or fewer. The bill also mandates that magazines be “permanently fixed,” restricting the use of detachable magazines that could potentially reduce loading time. Despite the senators’ efforts, Senate Republicans recently blocked the Democrats’ attempt to reintroduce the assault weapons ban from 1994 and pass universal background check legislation.

Opponents, such as Aidan Johnston from Gun Owners of America, assert that even if the law were to pass, it would not withstand constitutional scrutiny and would likely be struck down. The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director, Randy Kozuch, criticized the GOSAFE Act, stating that it bans firearms and magazines commonly used by law-abiding citizens for self-defense. Similarly, Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the Firearm Industry Trade Association, emphasized that legislation of this nature would infringe on law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Democratic Senators Mark Kelly of Arizona and Michael Bennet of Colorado are co-sponsors of the bill.

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