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Heinrich’s GOSAFE Act Receives Bicameral Support, Introduced in the House by Representative Lucy McBath

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich announced that his Gas-Operated Semi-Automatic Firearms Exclusion (GOSAFE) Act has been introduced in the House by U.S. Representative Lucy McBath (D-Ga.). The GOSAFE Act, originally introduced by Heinrich in November, is a commonsense proposal designed to protect communities from gun violence while safeguarding Americans’ constitutional right to own a firearm for legitimate self-defense, hunting, and sporting purposes.  

McBath’s announcement of the bill’s introduction comes during the first week of Gun Violence Awareness Month.  

“I’m thrilled that my GOSAFE Act has been introduced in the House by Congresswoman Lucy McBath— a fierce advocate and leader in the fight to tackle gun violence,” said Heinrich. “I firmly believe we must uphold the laws that protect safe and responsible gun ownership. This legislation accomplishes that, while preventing firearms that are inherently dangerous and unusually lethal, designed for maximum harm, from falling into the hands of individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others. By equipping law enforcement with the necessary tools and time needed to keep our communities safe, GOSAFE will save lives.” 

“Since the death of my son, Jordan, almost twelve years ago, I have dedicated my life to preventing more families from feeling the pain of losing a loved one to gun violence,” said McBath. “The GOSAFE Act honors our constitutional rights while keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of those who should not have them. I thank Senator Heinrich and our partners for their support in bringing about this common-sense piece of legislation. The American people deserve to live free, healthy lives safe from the horror of gun violence—this is an important step in making that a reality.” 

GOSAFE Act Background: 

Regulates Sale, Transfer, & Manufacture of Semi-Automatic Firearms 

  • The GOSAFE Act regulates firearms based on the inherently dangerous and unusual lethality of their internal mechanisms, as opposed to focusing on cosmetic features that manufacturers can easily modify. 
  • If enacted, the bill would regulate the sale, transfer, and manufacture of gas-operated semi-automatic weapons by: 
    • Establishing a list of prohibited firearms; 
    • Preventing unlawful modifications of permissible firearms; 
    • Mandating that future gas-operated designs are approved before manufacture; and 
    • Preventing unlawful firearm self-assembly and manufacturing. 

Protects Second Amendment Rights 

  • The GOSAFE Act protects Americans’ constitutional right to own a gun based on a firearm’s established use for self-defense, hunting or sporting purposes. 
  • The GOSAFE Act accomplishes this by including exemptions based on maximum ammunition capacity according to a firearm’s individual class: a rifle, shotgun, or handgun. 

Limits High-Capacity Ammunition Devices, Outlaws Conversion Devices 

  • The GOSAFE Act limits a firearm’s ability to inflict maximum harm in a short amount of time by directly regulating large capacity ammunition feeding devices. 

More information on the GOSAFE Act, including bill text, a fact sheet, section-by-section, and more, can be found here. 

Last November, Heinrich introduced the GOSAFE Act in the Senate alongside U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). In addition to King, Kelly, and Bennet, the GOSAFE Act is cosponsored by Senators Sen. Merkley (D-Ore.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).  

In January, Heinrich and March Fourth hosted a roundtable discussion in the U.S. Capitol with New Mexico law enforcement, firearm owners, influential voices, and advocates for responsible gun ownership, to discuss the GOSAFE Act. Heinrich also authored an op-ed, published by Newsweek, detailing the legislation. 

The GOSAFE Act is endorsed by Everytown for Gun Safety; Giffords, Brady: United Against Gun Violence; March Fourth; March for Our Lives; Sandy Hook Promise; American Federation of Teachers; New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence; Harold Medina, Chief of Police, Albuquerque Police Department; Kim Stewart, Sheriff, Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department; Elisa Bequeria, Superintendent, Lake Arthur Schools; New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Rio Grande Alcohol Treatment Program; New Mexico Voices for Children; Patrick Nolan, School Board Member, Las Cruces Public Schools; Taos Alive. 

Additional background on Heinrich's leadership to tackle gun violence:   

The GOSAFE Act is one of the latest actions taken by Heinrich to help reduce gun violence in New Mexico.  

Last month, Heinrich announced over $1 million he secured in the FY24 appropriations bill to purchase new National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) ballistics testing machines for law enforcement agencies in Las Cruces, Farmington, Gallup, and Roswell. The intelligence gathered by these machines will go to the New Mexico Attorney General’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center where dedicated and trained analysts will use the information to trace and network firearms used in crimes across the state. The Center will then be able to feed that information back to law enforcement agencies to improve identification of suspects and support successful prosecutions.  

In March, in the FY24 appropriations bills, Heinrich also secured language directing the expanded use of NIBIN for state and local agencies in the Southwest Border region.  

In July 2023, Heinrich cosponsored the bicameral Ghost Guns and Untraceable Firearms Act. This legislation would require online and other sellers of gun-making kits to comply with federal firearm safety regulations.  

In June 2023, Heinrich introduced the BUMP Act, legislation to prohibit the sale of bump stocks and other devices that allow semi-automatic firearms to increase their rate of fire and effectively operate as fully automatic weapons.  

Heinrich was also a member of the core bipartisan group that negotiated the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act—the first significant federal gun safety legislation to become law in 30 years—specifically leading the successful effort to increase criminal penalties for straw purchases and stop illegal gun trafficking out of our country.  

Additional background on McBath’s leadership to tackle gun violence:   

Since the death of her son and coming to Congress, McBath has sought bipartisan, common-sense solutions to ending gun violence. Under McBath’s leadership, the first comprehensive gun safety legislation in over three decades—the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act—became law, federal funding has been delivered to states to implement extreme risk protection orders, and the Biden-Harris Administration created the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention. Last September, McBath addressed the nation from the White House Press Briefing Room to speak to the significance of the federal government’s role in reducing gun violence in America.