“NO” on the Lautenberg Amendment

This week, the Senate may vote on the Lautenberg Amendment (Senate Amendment 2575) to the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S.3414). The amendment would prohibit the transfer or possession of “large capacity” ammunition feeding devices, i.e., a ban on ammunition clips over ten rounds.

By banning all clips over ten rounds, the Lautenberg Amendment may infringe on the Second Amendment right of individuals to “keep and bear arms.”  In the landmark case District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court struck down a handgun ban because it infringed on the individual right to possess firearms in common usage for the purpose of immediate self-defense. The Lautenberg amendment may functionally ban a number of handguns, including smaller handguns that are often used for self defense, and therefore the amendment raises serious constitutional questions.

Members of Congress swear an oath to the Constitution.  To comply with that oath, they must seek to pass legislation that is consistent with the limitations required by the Constitution.  Congress therefore should resist calls to pass legislation that would infringe upon American’s Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.” Further, passing a potentially unconstitutional amendment in response to a tragic incident undermines the rights of every American. Should Congress decide to proceed, then the serious constitutional questions at stake demand that Congress must at a minimum hold further constitutional hearings and investigations rather than rushing to regulate.

Heritage Action opposes the Lautenberg Amendment and will include it as a key vote on our scorecard.