High-Capacity Magazines (a.k.a. "Clips") for Firearms Targeted by Gun-Control Advocates Following Giffords Tragedy

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High-capacity, 31-round magazines for semi-automatic firearms are getting targeted by gun-control advocates after Saturday's shooting

Large-capacity magazines for firearms are becoming a focus for gun-control advocates following Saturday's shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others.

The magazine -- also known as the "clip" -- of a firearm is a spring-action stick of ammo that allows multiple rounds to be fired quickly from semi-automatic guns. (With a semi-auto, one bullet comes out each time the trigger is squeezed. Fully automatic machine guns keep firing while the trigger is held down.)

Jared Loughner's Glock had a clip that held 31 rounds, which is a big reason he was able to shoot so many people, so quickly. He was tackled before he could reload his weapon with another 31-round clip he was carrying.

Two Democratic officials, Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Representative Carolyn McCarthy of New York are reacting to the shooting with plans to introduce bills that limit magazines to an arbitrary number of bullets.

 

Under the 1994 federal assault-rifle ban, it was illegal to make or sell new magazines that held more than 10 rounds. The ban expired in 2004. However, it's unclear whether Loughner would have been unable to get his hands on a large-capacity magazine if it had still been in effect. During the ban period, many local gun stores continued to sell pre-ban, large-capacity clips, which were "grandfathered in" under the assault-rifle ban.

It's clear that Loughner would have shot fewer people before he had to stop and reload if he didn't have 31-round clips.

 

At the same time, it's also clear that a ban on huge magazines wouldn't have stopped the tragedy entirely. Ten rounds in a semi-auto, plus one in the chamber, is still plenty of firepower.

To gun-control advocates like Lautenberg, "the only reason to have 33 bullets loaded in a handgun is to kill a lot of people very quickly."

Say gun enthusiasts, the main reason is to avoid frequent reloading.

Alan Korwin, a local author of popular books on the state's gun laws, says he went to the range yesterday with some shooters and expended about 800 rounds of ammo in less than three hours.

"That is perfectly normal," he says.

Further Reading:

The Face of Crazy: Jared Loughner Eerily Smirks in Photo Taken After Shooting Rampage

Gabrielle Giffords Shooting Wasn't First Arizona Rampage

Westboro Bapstis Church to Protest Funeral of 9-Year-Old Girl Murdered in Tucson Rampage Shooting. Hells Angels to the Rescue?

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52 comments
maxonepercent
maxonepercent

It is obvious that the same idiots who brought the NYC "big-gulp ban" are the ones behind the high-capacity magazine ban. Anyone who believes that forcing a psycho to reload occasionally during shooting sprees will have any effect on the problem is delusional.

FrankZ
FrankZ

If high cap magazines are used for mass murders, why do police carry them? Are they supposed to commit mass murders? No, they carry them for protection in a gun fight, so how come civilians can't have them for protection?

In the mass shootings, you all focus on what equipment the shooter used, but have you considered why are the victims not armed? If you want to stop mass murders, don't ban magazines or guns, just arm the citizens, it doesn't matter how many rounds the murderer has in his magazine, he still has to shoot one bullet at a time, while an armed populace will outnumber and outgun him; and get rid of all those gun-free zones, they don't protect anyone but the murderer.

Pa2ad0x
Pa2ad0x

They should ban democrat/leftists/liberals from owning guns, whenever they buy one it seems like they go and murder someone a few short months later. JFK, Milk, Columbine, Gifford, all shootings by leftists. They don't like the 2nd amendment anyways, so why should they be allowed to use it? Like lefties say about abortion: "If you don't like it, don't get one!"

Stephencoffman
Stephencoffman

I dispute that the alleged shooter had a 33 round magazine. It was not in any official report. This is just liberal fluff.

1rpb1
1rpb1

I'm physically handicapped, elderly and disabled, when my home is invaded by 5 home invaders, how many bullets do I need in a magazine to survive against 5 home invaders, keeping in mind I can't reload fast with only one hand which is arthritic? Especially at a time adrenaline takes control of me during the invasion causing my hand to shake, and I'm trying to "bob and weave and duck for cover", as fast as an old man can, (I guess I'll hit the floor, hope I don't break a hip)

Also, which are those "magic bullets" that are always one-shot-stops?

Also, where can I get some of those "Smart Bullets" the army has, those with the "built-in guidance system"so each of the bullets in reduced capacity magazine finds the exact spot on each attacker regardless of my hand shaking and them moving?

Isn't reducing elderly disabled people's magazine capacity a violation of "equal protection under the law" in favor of 4 or 5 home invaders, to the detriment of the elderly disabled person?

Also, who do I contact to file an Americans with Disabilities complaint against legislators trying to assure my death in my own home by causing me to call a "time out" for 5 minutes while I reload ... do robber respect "time outs" .. do I have to make that "T" sign with my hands like they do in sports? I hope not, I only have 1 hand, it's arthritic and I can't do the T-sign ...

HEY

Can you prove a NEED and PURPOSE acceptable to everyone for the OPTIONS you WANTED in your car? Do you NEED the ice cream in your freezer? THEN why are you legislating based on me proving a need and purpose?

I suspect If people can't get hi capacity PEZ dispensers, they'll just carry more, or more guns like Charles Whitman did... why not pass a law against murder if you think laws stop criminal behavior?

NOT every wacko uses this or that gun or magazine or knife.

Every single one of these crazy nuts who tries to kill others randomly wears shoes .... they help them get from place to place to hurt MORE people, and sometimes are used in escapes ...

Charles Ward
Charles Ward

Well, they've just ensured a big run on these magazines! Remember what happened when Obama was elected even though he didn't campaign on gun control? It was the biggest windfall gun and ammo dealers had seen in years. Keep flapping those jaws, politicians.

Bedenik08
Bedenik08

The fact of the matter is rather he killed one or five thousand people it was murder. if he did it with a gun, knife, car, bomb or baseball bat it is murder. he was very unstable and didn't have Christ in his life. He is a nut-job who will die by life in prison or by what ever means the feds and state see fit. remember folks guns DON'T AND CAN'T KILL PEOPLE. if the human being donsn't pull the trigger it won't go off. unless malfunction of the gun. in a free society this is going to happen. it sucks but all we can do is try and stop it before it happens. there was at least 5 different times when people told on this guy and nobody did nothing. being politically correct will only hurt this nation in the long run.

Coz
Coz

The fact remains, write all the worthless feel good laws you want, criminals will always have guns and the only ones that suffer are the law abiding citizens.

You can call 911 Dial a Prayer or you can defend yourself.

I chose to defend my self.

sonickf
sonickf

These magazines aren't going anywhere.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

In several other mass shootings in recent history, the shooter would carry multiple firearms for extra capacity and presumably a back up weapon. A person that practices even a little bit can swap magazines very rapidly, in just a few seconds.

The real question is how do you prevent nutcases from getting firearms, ammunition, etc. This killer was able to buy a gun and hi-cap mags legally. If that was not an option, he would have simply purchased them illegally with the same result.

Luke
Luke

So... we'd rather have big clips so people at shooting ranges won't be inconvenienced. It's more important they aren't inconvenienced than limiting the number of bullets a nut can spray around before the nut in inconvenienced? It's also amazing how, in a State with such lax gun laws, and where people carry and what not, that no one plugged the guy. After all, that is the reason the gun lobby and the NRA say we need to uphold the second amendment - so that people with guns will be discouraged from shooting other people by yet other people with guns. Well, that theory is screwed. But I'll say this, if we had stricter gun laws, there's a really good chance there would be a 9 year old girl alive tonight.

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linaimai

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Xander
Xander

I can't say how I excately feel about this issue, but the truth of the matter is that a person without any training on firearms can easily burst as many rounds as they want. As others will mention, these hi-caps are a convenience to skilled shooters to avoid frequent reloading, and it just takes one shot with proper accuracy to do any sort of damage.

Still, is 30 bullets really needed? 10 or 6 might be arbitrary numbers, but a proper gun-wielding owner will make every shot count. One could say that only criminals will run around with hi-caps after a ban, but one can't deny that these people don't have the respect for the weapon or the lives it can take. With that said, making it more difficult to obtain these extended clips just might put a registered and legal gun owner in a better tactical position for defense if the need ever arises again.

Coz
Coz

Here we go again, out comes all the worthless feel good restrictions.

Mikey1969
Mikey1969

//"To gun-control advocates like Lautenberg, "the only reason to have 33 bullets loaded in a handgun is to kill a lot of people very quickly."

In reality, the main reason is simply to avoid frequent reloading, say gun enthusiasts."//

Lautenberg is full of shit. While a lot of rounds in a Hi-Cap clip WILL kill alot of people, that is not "the only reason". Alan Korwin has a point. My pistol holds 6 rounds and I have 2 magazines(A 'clip' is different, BTW), and even if I'm not just plinking and I am actually taking careful aim and practicing all the techniques like slow breathing and relaxing between shots, 6 rounds can go in about 20 seconds, after which I put in the other magazine, and suddenly 45 seconds later, I'm reloading again. And again, and again. It's a pain in the ass to keep reloading while you're target shooting, besides the fact that you have to completely get back in your shooting stance and reacquire the target. If it's a gun that's new to you, that could mean only 4 rounds out of the 6 while you get the feel of the gun again.

So yes these high-Cap magazines hold more bullets, but killing people is absolutely NOT the "only " reason to have them.

Pa2ad0x
Pa2ad0x

Shhhhh let them make the wording on the bill to ban CLIPS of higher than 10 rounds, we can have the last laugh in the end on a technicality.

AZGregory
AZGregory

That's because right-wing politicians found it helpful to play to the fears and prejudices of ignorant electorate and gun sellers found it extremely, unbelievably profitable to play to those same fears. The only sector of our economy that has prospered over the past two years are gun manufacturers and sellers. It doesn't hurt that there is a huge demand from drug lords and gangs in Mexico and the same sellers, many here in AZ have done very well supplying guns for that purpose. (Unknowingly, of course... wink, wink.)

Pa2ad0x
Pa2ad0x

Of course he didn't have Christ in his life, he went to the same synagogue as Gifford, and they don't believe that Jesus is their lord and savior.

AZGregory
AZGregory

They are law abiding citizens when they load up their semi-automatic weapon with 31 bullets; law-abiding citizens when they tuck it under their coat and hide it from sight, law abiding citizens when they get eat and get drunk at their favorite AZ tavern. Everyone is a law-abiding citizen until they take out their favorite weapon and kill someone. So talking about the law-abiding citizens or the "good people" of Arizona who are armed to the hilt is really saying nothing and adds nothing to the conversation. The conversation should be whether there is a common sense way of limiting the opportunity for this type of senseless destruction of life. That conversation certainly will not happen in the halls of the AZ legislature because here, the gun is not just protected, it is worshipped. Not to mention, there is no cash to be found for the pockets of legislators from those who would ask if there is perhaps something wrong with the scenario where a plainly disturbed individual can easily buy and walk around concealing weaponry and dozens of rounds of ammunition that soldiers of many countries would find enviable. If that is not okay, then quit apologizing for our current system, be a good citizen and suggest something to further the betterment of our society.

Luke
Luke

Isn't it quite a bit harder to buy a gun illegally than legally? I mean, you have to know someone who sells illegal handguns, and they have to check you out and stuff to avoid you being an undercover agent of some sort looking for an illegal handgun bust. And I'm sure illegal gun sellers don't advertise conspicuously, like owning a store and putting out a sign. So, to say he would have "simply purchased" an illegal gun is a huge glossing over of facts: it is harder to buy an illegal handgun than a legal one. Legal Gun, go to a store. Illegal gun - go where, exactly? Kind of like the difference between buying booze and buying meth, isn't it?

Pa2ad0x
Pa2ad0x

Yes, with stricter gun laws, he would have just driven a bus or semi into the crowd, killing and maiming many more. Maybe if some of those people at the rally carried guns, or heaven forbid, the Pima county sheriff had actually done his job and had a security perimeter, this wouldn't have happened, but alas, democrats are like a toddler who plays hide and seek by just closing their eyes.

Robern
Robern

Let's see, for the sake of argument let's switch firearms or hi-cap magazines with motor vehicles because a motor vehicle driven irresponsibly can have about the same effect. So since we have vehicles driven all over the place and CAN and ARE operated in an irresponsible manner by people under the effects of alcohol or drugs or simply deranged wacko's all vehicles should be limited to 30 mph because any wreck that would occur at that speed would cut death and injury to almost nothing. Just think, you can still drive anywhere you want to go, Phx to LA, Ny to Fla. Now it may be a bit inconvenient but everyone would be safe. That's not to much to ask is it? Honestly, I don't trust any government or government employee to protect my family and I. Government is simply an extension of the citizen it is supposed to serve and that is getting worse every year that goes by. None of us are getting out of here alive so protect yourself, love your brother and try to enjoy what time is left

Kll719
Kll719

Reloading is a part of gun control. Compare it to a video game, you play it and you have to wait for it to load, again and again. It's just another factor in guns.

Nomis 1
Nomis 1

Mikey1969, I assume you're referring to is target practice with your pistol and clips correct? Target practice is to hone or perfect your skills in shooting your gun, and that gun will be used for home protection correct? So it's main intent is killing people!

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

@AZGregory You mean the guns that Eric Holder and company "walked" over to the cartels that keep showing up at murder scenes on both sides of the border?

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

@AZGregory If you distain our ways so much I invite you to move to Chicago, where guns are effectively illegal but where gun violence is the worst in the nation.  You see, there criminals do not have to fear encountering an armed victim, so they use their guns with reckless abandon.  There is an old latin proverb from about 300 BC that is as true now as it was then: Arma tuentur pacem "Arms keep peace"

Anonymous User
Anonymous User

It's illegal to possess a firearm in a tavern and consume alcohol. It's also illegal for a general member of the public to even possess a firearm in a tavern without a concealed weapon permit (yes, the permits are still required for some activities).

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

@Luke In point of fact, for kids under the age of 21 it is MUCH easier to obtain illegal drugs than it is alcohol.  Drug dealers don't "advertise" either but they still manage to sell their wares at little risk.  Also, it is illegal to possess a handgun until you are 21, yet a huge number of crimes committed with handguns are carried out by juveniles.  "Where there is a will there is a way" as the old idiom goes.

Anonymous User
Anonymous User

I imagine he would've gone to his illegal drug sources and they would've hooked him up with a gun or steered him to the right person.

Another reason to end drug prohibition, but that's another issue.

Kolby
Kolby

It's actually extremely easy to buy weapons off the record, you could check the want ads, go to guns shows and just talk to people, look around online... unless guns are made completely illegal and the government makes it their highest priority in every level of government, there will always be guns. And even then there will still be guns, but only the really nasty people will have them. the booze/meth analogy isn't a very good one for two reason: 1. Meth isn't a constitutionally protected right. 2. Guns aren't inherently damaging.

AZGregory
AZGregory

Yeah, I hear a lot about people hiding motor vehicles under their coat and then trying to kill 20 people with them. That is about the dumbest assault weapon apologist argument I have ever heard. Let's just be honest, Second Amendment worshipers like you are not in favor of any restriction whatsoever and have opposed everything from guns in bars to guns for children in city parks. Your ideal world would be where you did not have to have a permit at all or any background check, even if that meant felons and mentally ill people can also purchase without restriction (not that there is any difficulty for the criminals or deranged to buy now if there is a profit to be made.) If you admit you don't want any restrictions and that you would scrap the entire remaining Bill of Rights if it meant you could save the Second Amendment, then we can just dispense with listening to these other disingenuous attempts to justify the right to maim and kill if you someday find it necessary. I am not advocating for scrapping the 2nd Amendment, I am just tired of hearing the bullshit and lack of concern for the good of the community from the egoistic gun-loving commenters.

Xander
Xander

Funny that you mention about cars, I kinda knew this would come up:http://icsw.nhtsa.gov/cars/rul...

We already have regulation and standards on vehicles and not just speed wise, but also the requirements of the equipment, the road worthy limits of the equipment, and the leaway between owner and sellers. (What HAS to be part of a car compared to what can be added on or removed.)

Also, we already have speed limits as safety standards. There are active officials patrolling the streets to insure that anyone visibly going over it are fined. I agree that everyone needs to watch out for one another, but in the matters we cannot control, let's find something where everyone can agree to.

Luke
Luke

Big difference between cars, which are designed to drive, and guns, which are designed to kill things. In fact, when cars work right, no one gets hurt. Not so with guns - they're designed to kill when they work properly. So, this is a silly comparison.

Bedenik08
Bedenik08

the main reason is to stop the threat. "self-defence" if you are using the gun for self or home protection. there are also compition shooting as well where you would use those types of clips.

Mikey1969
Mikey1969

Not necessarily dumbass, people own pistols all the time that they never intend to use against another person. Your attempt to twist my words to your own agenda gets a solid 'D'.

Rob
Rob

Not necessarily. The 2 rifles that I have were never intended for self defense. We enjoy taking them out and shooting. And i can agree that a larger magazine has it's benefits. One of our .22's came with a 5 round magazine which would be used in moments shooting.

All that being said, I'd have to think that by using a 30 round magazine in a gun designed for 15 would place undue stress on the weapon. I'd have to believe that such high capacities would greatly increase the chances of the weapon either jamming, misfiring or any other sort of malfunction.

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

@Tapasap How is restricting the capacity of a magazine going to do anything to prevent gun violence?  I honestly don't understand the logic.  First, there are millions of the magazines already out there, are they just going to disappear?  Secondly, what is to stop a killer from carrying multiple weapons?  The truth, as you allude, is that everyone knows such an act would be a worthless waste of time but that it is "a step" toward something bigger.  That is why defenders of the second amendment resist such restrictions.

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

@AZGregory Why is it that when a drunk gets in his car and plows into a carload of kids no one blames Budweiser? Alcohol is far more destructive to our society than any gun could ever be, yet no one argues that alcohol should be "banned" or that we should only sell beer in six-packs to prevent drinkers from killing innocent people.  Honestly, the idea that we are going to somehow legislate away gun violence is just about as skewed as was the logic that led to the creation of the 18th Amendment.

Tapasap
Tapasap

very well put.Disingenuous arguments are worthless, as is the comparison of Cars to Guns.

why dontcha just rent the hi-cap magazine at the range? leave them there when you're done. I hope those extra few seconds before and after your 800 round session isn't too much of a hassle for you to bear, in order to make this kind of incident less deadly.of course, that assumes gun-owners are willing to take one tiny step towards a rational gun policy in this country. and why would they stop their irrational fear now?

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

@Xander So are you saying there are not similar restrictions on firearms? You have to be 21 to purchase a handgun, you have to pass an FBI background check to purchase a firearm, if you have every been convicted of a felony you can not possess a firearm, and ect. ad nauseam. Are you saying that people who break laws with guns are not punished? You are either very uninformed about gun restrictions or your are deliberately being obtuse.

FrankZ
FrankZ

Then why do police carry guns? Are they excutioners? No, they carry guns for protection, but there are other things designed for protection, like pepper spray, so why don't they settle for those?

Anonymous User
Anonymous User

Not a silly comparison. Lets take your supposition that cars are designed for driving and guns are designed for killing and assume it as true. There are more motor vehicle fatalities each year than there are firearm fatalities. Thus it is clear that cars (not designed for killing) are considerably more dangerous than firearms.

Mike Butler
Mike Butler

It is true that the extra-long magazines like the one that Loony Loughner used greatly increase chances of gun malfunction. These are notorious for jamming and failure to fire, not so much because of any stress they inherently place on the weapon itself, but because the spring, which is twice as long as the spring in a normal 15-round mag, cannot be made to apply uniform pressure on the rounds from beginning to end of the ammo stack. This makes such a magazine a very poor choice for defense applications.

One other disadvantage is that the extreme length increases the overall footprint of the gun to the point that it cannot be usably holstered and is useless for carry in any normal manner. The impaired reliability and the loss of carry functionality associated with these non-standard magazines would be less of a problem at the range.

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