WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced the Gas-Operated Semi-Automatic Firearms Exclusion (GOSAFE) Act, legislation to protect communities from gun violence, while safeguarding Americans’ constitutional right to own a firearm for legitimate self-defense, hunting, and sporting purposes. The bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).
The GOSAFE Act would regulate firearms based on the lethality of their internal mechanisms, as opposed to focusing on cosmetic features that manufacturers can easily modify.
CAPTION: Senator Heinrich delivers remarks during a virtual press conference announcing the GOSAFE Act, Thursday, November 30, 2023.
“Our country is reeling from a gun violence crisis that has taken far too many lives in New Mexico and across this country. The American people deserve meaningful action from Congress. That’s why I’m introducing the GOSAFE Act,” said Heinrich. “Like many New Mexicans, I am a gun owner. I firmly believe we must uphold the laws that protect safe and responsible gun ownership. This bill achieves that, while taking steps to get those firearms that are inherently dangerous and unusually lethal, designed for maximum harm, out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves or others. By giving law enforcement the tools and time needed to keep our communities safe, this pragmatic legislation will save lives.”
“For years, I have said that rather than using the appearance of these guns to restrict them, we should instead focus on how these weapons actually work and the features that make them especially dangerous,” said King. “The Gas-Operated Semiautomatic Firearm Exclusion (GOSAFE) Act addresses the lethal capacity weapons like the one used in Lewiston and most of the deadliest mass shootings across the country. Nothing can bring back the lives of our family and friends, but responsible actions moving forward can reduce the likelihood of such a nightmare happening again in Maine or anywhere else.”
“As a gun owner, a combat veteran, and the husband of a survivor of gun violence, I know firsthand the damage a firearm can do on the battlefield or at a neighborhood grocery store,” said Kelly. “And as our country and communities have experienced mass shooting after mass shooting, it's past time we look at fresh approaches to protect Arizona kids and families from the most dangerous weapons. The GOSAFE Act is a targeted bill that protects the rights of responsible gun owners while regulating the most dangerous semi-automatic rifles, detachable high-capacity magazines, and accessories that have increasingly concerned law enforcement and been used over and over again in mass shootings.”
"For more than two decades, Colorado has had to grieve over one incident of senseless gun violence after another. Gun violence has become normal in this country, and it has shaped the ways our kids are growing up,” said Bennet. “The GOSAFE Act is common sense gun safety legislation to keep weapons of war out of the hands of the wrong people, while respecting responsible gun owners. With this bill, we are taking an important step to combat gun violence in our communities and demonstrate to our children that we will not fail them."
Regulates Sale, Transfer, & Manufacture of Gas-Operated Semi-Automatic Firearms
If enacted, the GOSAFE Act would regulate the sale, transfer, and manufacture of gas-operated semi-automatic weapons by:
Protects Americans’ Second Amendment Right
The GOSAFE Act protects Americans’ constitutional right to own a gun based on a firearm’s established use for self-defense, hunting, and sporting purposes. The bill accomplishes this by including exemptions based on maximum ammunition capacity according to a firearm’s individual class: a rifle, shotgun, or handgun.
This capacity must be “permanently fixed,” meaning the firearm cannot accept a detachable, high-capacity magazine that would increase the number of rounds that can be fired before reloading and make reloading easier.
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. The bill would limit the number of rounds that large capacity ammunition feeding devices are permitted to carry to 10 rounds of ammunition or fewer.
Additionally, the GOSAFE Act makes conversion devices, including bump stocks and Glock switches, unlawful.
Creates Voluntary Buy-Back Program
The GOSAFE Act will protect the value of firearms already owned before enactment and prevent stockpiling of these lethal firearms and large capacity magazines by establishing a voluntary buy-back program. It would allow firearm owners to voluntarily turn over and receive compensation for non-transferrable firearms and magazines as defined by this 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; 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; and Taos Alive.
"Senator Heinrich, once again, leading the gun violence prevention charge in New Mexico and across the country,” said Miranda Viscoli, Co-President of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence. “The Gas Operated Semi-Automatic Firearms Exclusion Act will help keep our communities safer from gun violence. These highly lethal firearms have no business being in civilian hands. We applaud Senator Heinrich for having the courage to introduce this life-saving legislation.”
“We applaud Senator Heinrich on the introduction of the GOSAFE Act that will reduce mass shootings and save lives by limiting access to highly lethal firearms and large-capacity magazines,” said Mark Barden, Co-Founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund, and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “These deadly weapons are the preferred firearms of school shooters and pose a threat to every community across the country. When the shooter at Sandy Hook paused to reload, 11 children were able to escape. If he had a less lethal firearm and fewer bullets in each magazine that day, maybe my son and others would have survived. We urge Congress to pass these sensible policies to protect our children from gun violence."
“The recent horrifying shootings in Lewiston, ME are a grim reminder of the ever-growing list of places in America bound together by a terrible common thread — communities devastated by individuals armed with high-powered semi-automatic firearms coupled with large capacity magazines," said Kris Brown, President of Brady - United Against Gun Violence. "The GOSAFE Act will take significant steps to end the proliferation of weapons that are designed for the battlefield and mitigate targeted mass violence. Brady thanks Senators Heinrich, King, Kelly, and Bennet for introducing this legislation to help free America from the epidemic of mass shootings.”
"Far too often, certain gas-operated semiautomatic long guns are used to carry out horrific public attacks," said Adzi Vokhiwa, Federal Affairs Director of GIFFORDS, "These weapons are even more lethal when paired with a large capacity magazine to increase the amount of ammunition ready to fire without reloading and devices to increase the rate of fire like bump stocks. The American people are crying out for Congress to put forth innovative ideas that save lives, and Senator Heinrich has answered the call by introducing the Gas-Operated Semi-Automatic Firearms Exclusion Act to keep deadly devices out of the wrong hands."
“As weapons of war have become commonplace in America, so has the unfathomable carnage they wreak on our communities,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety. “We applaud Senator Heinrich for introducing innovative legislation that would regulate assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, which are capable of creating devastating destruction in an instant. We urge Senator Heinrich’s colleagues to pass this bill before yet another community is forever scarred by someone filled with hate and armed with an AR-15.”
"America’s gun violence epidemic is a public health crisis that claims the lives of 120 Americans and wounds over 200 more every day. Access to assault weapons only makes this crisis more lethal," said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Executive Director of Moms Demand Action. “But we don’t need to accept the deadly consequences of permitting weapons of war on our streets as an unalterable reality. I'm grateful that Senator Heinrich is championing one of the most commonsense, popular, and effective solutions to this nation's preventable gun violence crisis, and I urge Congress to recognize that passing legislation to regulate assault weapons is a matter of life or death.”
"It’s not often we see a member of Congress take the initiative to rewrite a better bill when the one at hand isn’t working," said Kitty Brandtner, Founder of March Fourth. "Senator Heinrich sees the mass shooting epidemic in America as one important enough to solve - and we’re grateful he’s proposing common sense legislation. History will remember this Congress as the one that saves lives."
“As a Sheriff of a border county with both rural and urban areas, my job is to keep New Mexicans safe,” said Kim Stewart, Sheriff, Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department. “Senator Heinrich’s commonsense legislation will help to regulate the most dangerous firearms. Unfortunately, these firearms are now routinely used in our country’s mass shootings. Not only do they pose concern to our citizens, but also to law enforcement officers also who must face these weapons in the hands of criminals. The GOSAFE Act seeks to ensure that law enforcement agencies like mine can still access the tools we need to provide public safety when responding to active shooter events. This legislation can save lives.”