MSNBC contributor and former congresswoman Donna Edwards said on Wednesday that shooters are killing thousands of people with "automatic" weapons with "high-capacity ammunition."
"It's ridiculous putting the death penalty on the table," the former Democratic lawmaker said in reference to the Trump administration's proposal to execute mass shooters faster. "I mean, people who are committing mass shootings aren't saying, ‘Well, I might get the death penalty so I won't do it.' No, they're getting these automatic rifles, they're using high capacity ammunition, and they're killing, they're mowing down hundreds, thousands of people every single year."
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Edwards made several inaccurate statements in her response.
First, the new sale of automatic weapons to civilians was banned by the Hughes Amendment in 1986 and there have been no recent reports of automatic weapons being used in crimes. The former congresswoman might have meant to say assault weapons instead of "automatic rifles." Assault weapon is a difficult term to define because it is defined differently by state and legislation. It usually refers to semi-automatic rifles that accept detachable magazines and certain cosmetic features like adjustable stocks. Automatic weapons refer to when one pull of the trigger continually discharges ammunition until the trigger is released or the ammo runs out.
Second, there is no such thing as "high-capacity ammunition." Edwards might have been referring to high-capacity magazines. Banning high-capacity magazines have been a goal of proponents of gun control.
"Well, it really does look like they're trying to run out the clock. And, look, the onus is squarely in the hands of Mitch McConnell," Edwards said. "He can decide what to put on the floor of the Senate. Next week when Democrats get back I fully expect that they are going pass another of … gun safety, sensible gun safety bills that they put on the floor, including making sure that we begin to deal with assault weapons, which is the weapon of choice in many of these mass shootings."