By Mike Lillis - 07/30/12 06:15 PM EDT
Leading Democratic gun reformers proposed Monday to ban online ammunition sales in the wake of the Colorado movie theater shooting in which the suspect allegedly purchased thousands of bullets via the Internet.
Sponsored by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), the bill is designed to make it tougher for violent people to obtain the firepower they intend to use on others.
McCarthy echoed that message, arguing that the Democrats' proposal "pulls ammunition sales out of the shadows and into the light."
“Law-abiding gun owners and shooters should support this legislation because it hinders criminals from abusing the Second Amendment right that our nation promises and could save innocent lives in the process,” she said.
The legislation is unlikely to make it into law.
Gun reform has become one of the most controversial issues in Washington in recent years, as the gun lobby has evolved into one of the most influential powers on Capitol Hill. President Obama and Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, have been careful not to call for new reforms in the wake of the Aurora, Colo., tragedy. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said last week he has no plans to bring up gun-control legislation, and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said the same.
The issue of gun reform has been back of the front pages after this month's shooting, in which a gunman stormed into a midnight screening of the latest Batman film and opened fire on the capacity crowd, killing 12 and injuring another 58.
Prosecutors say the lone suspect, James Holmes, 24, used a semi-automatic rifle — among other guns — and purchased more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition online in the weeks prior to the massacre.
Holmes was officially charged with 24 counts of murder on Monday — two counts for each of the victims who died.
The tragedy has spurred gun reformers on and off Capitol Hill to call for a series of changes to the nation's gun laws, including a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban and a prohibition of high-capacity clips, like the 100-round magazine Holmes allegedly used during the attack.
Monday's proposal to ban online ammunition sales is just the latest part of the Democrats' piecemeal effort to keep firearms out of the hands of violent people.
The bill would prohibit ammunition sales from anyone but licensed firearms dealers and require ammunition buyers to present photo IDs before each purchase, effectively ending the practice of online sales. The proposal would also require dealers to report bulk ammunition purchases of more than 1,000 rounds.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a long-time supporter of tougher gun laws, went after both Obama and Romney on Monday for what he called an absence of leadership on the issue.
“If Washington doesn't act, 48,000 Americans will be murdered with guns during the next president's term,” Bloomberg said. “We should be having a great debate among two accomplished leaders and the people they're asking to hire them."