By Teresa Welsh |
Semiautomatic firearms with the capacity to accept a detachable high-capacity ammunition magazine are the single lethal thread that runs through the vast majority of mass shootings in the United States. From Cleveland Elementary School, in Stockton, Calif., where in 1989 Patrick Purdy opened fire with an AK-47 assault rifle equipped with a 75-round drum ammunition magazine on teachers and schoolchildren leaving five victims dead and 30 wounded, to the Sandy Hook Elementary School where Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster assault rifle equipped with a 30-round magazine to kill 20 grade schoolers and school staff, this lethal combination is what has defined our nation's most horrific mass shootings.]
On January 3, 2013, Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette of Colorado and Carolyn McCarthy of New York introduced legislation to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines. The bill would ban the sale and transfer of ammunition magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds. Both lawmakers know all too well the damage high-capacity ammunition magazines can inflict. In 1993, McCarthy lost her husband in a mass shooting on the Long Island Railroad, where Colin Ferguson, armed with a 9mm Ruger pistol and four 15-round ammunition magazines, opened fire on commuters, killing six and wounding 19. DeGette's congressional district was the site of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, where Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold armed with guns that included an Intratec TEC-DC9 assault pistol and high-capacity ammunition magazines killed 13 and wounded 23. In July 2012, James Holmes armed with firearms that included a Smith & Wesson M&P15 assault rifle equipped with a 100-round drum magazine, opened fire at the Century Aurora 16 movie theater near Representative DeGette's district, killing 12 and wounding 58.
As McCarthy stated in announcing the introduction of the bill last week, high-capacity ammunition magazines "help put the 'mass' in 'mass shooting.'"
About Josh Sugarmann Executive Director of the Violence Policy Center
Gene Hoffman Chairman of the Calguns Foundation
Erich Pratt Director of Communications for Gun Owners of America
Carolyn McCarthy Democratic Representative from New York
Joshua Horwitz Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence