Skip to content

November 30, 2023

King Introduces Legislation to Save Lives, Protect 2nd Amendment Rights for Law-Abiding Americans

  “Saving lives now and in the future has been my single goal,” Senator King says

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the wake of mass shootings across the country, including at home in Lewiston, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) will be introducing legislation today with his colleague, Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), to curb mass killings, without hindering Americans who own a firearm for self-defense or the marksmen who head to the shooting range or the woods during hunting season. The Gas-Operated Semi-Automatic Firearms Exclusion (GOSAFE) Act, will protect communities from gun violence while safeguarding law-abiding Americans’ constitutional right to own a firearm for legitimate self-defense, hunting and sporting purposes.

The bill is also cosponsored by Senators Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

“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 Senator 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.”

“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 Senator 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.” 

“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."

“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 Senator Heinrich and Senator King for introducing this legislation to help free America from the epidemic of mass shootings.”

“As weapons of war have become commonplace in America, so has the unfathomable carnage they bring to our communities,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety. “We applaud Senator Heinrich and Senator King for introducing this new and innovative legislation that would ban gas-operated assault weapons and high capacity magazines, which are capable of creating devastating destruction in extremely short timeframes. We urge Senator Heinrich and King’s colleagues to pass it before yet another community is forever scarred by someone filled with hate and armed with an AR-15.”

Senator King previously led bipartisan, common-sense legislation to address the gun violence epidemic in the United States while protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. The Safer Communities Act, passed in 2022, includes funding for red flag laws, enhanced background checks for buyers under 21, and increased mental health resources.

A fact sheet and bill text for the GOSAFE Act can be found here and below. Senator King’s new op-ed on the GOSAFE Act can be found here.


The GOSAFE Act would:

Regulate Sale, Transfer & Manufacture of Gas-Operated Semi-Automatic Firearms 

The GOSAFE Act 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.  

Protect 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. 

Exemptions include:   

  • .22 caliber rimfire or less firearms 
  • Bolt action rifles 
  • Semi-automatic shotguns 
  • Recoil-operated handguns 
  • Any rifle with a permanently fixed magazine of 10 rounds or less 
  • Any shotgun with a permanently fixed magazine of 10 rounds or less 
  • Any handgun with a permanently fixed magazine of 15 rounds or less 

Limit 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. 

Create 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. 


Next Article » « Previous Article