Bill would pay gun owners to hand over assault weapons

Gun owners would receive tax breaks for voluntarily turning in high-powered assault rifles under new legislation proposed Monday.

The Support Assault Firearm Elimination and Education of our (SAFER) Streets Act expected to be reintroduced next week by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) would provide gun owners with an incentive to turn in their firearms to local police departments.

“Assault weapons are not about hunting, or even self-defense,” DeLauro said. “There is no reason on earth, other than to kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible, that anyone needs a gun designed for a battlefield.”

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Though DeLauro is in favor of stronger guns laws that would completely ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition, she emphasized this bill would not force gun owners to turn in their firearms.

The legislation would provide up to $2,000 in tax credits for gun owners who voluntarily hand over assault weapons to their local police departments.

The assault weapons legislation comes in response to the horrific mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., DeLauro’s home state, in December 2012.

DeLauro originally introduced the bill in January 2013, just one month after the Newtown shooting, but the legislation fell short in the Republican-controlled House. She plans to reintroduce it next week when Congress returns from recess.

She said the bill would help “get more assault weapons off the streets."

“Just days after the Newtown tragedy, President Obama asked, ‘Are we doing enough to protect our children?’ And he admitted the answer is, ‘no.’ That must change,” DeLauro said.

DeLauro is announcing the assault weapons legislation this week in conjunction with National Public Health Week.

The co-sponsors include Reps. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), and David Cicilline (D-R.I.).