Yet another reason why we should ban high-capacity magazines is found in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The answer to whether or not a ban on high-capacity magazines will work is found in United States Statutes at Large 1236, enacted by the 73rd Congress.
Investigators found 10 spent or partially spent 30-round capacity magazines at Sandy Hook and 154 spent .223 casings. They estimated these rounds were fired in less than five minutes. Twenty children and six adults were killed. Eleven children escaped when the shooter stopped to reload.
The effect of high-capacity magazines at Sandy Hook is a repetition of what happened when a man shot Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others in Tucson. He was tackled while reloading his gun, having spent all 33 rounds in his high-capacity magazine. A nine-year-old girl was shot sometime after bullet No. 12.
The Sandy Hook shooters guns were legally registered in his mothers name. The Tucson shooter legally purchased his gun. Existing law guarantees that these mass murderers will forever have access to as many high-capacity magazines as they want.
Because these shooters had high-capacity magazines more people died. It is the very reason they acquired them.
Pick up an issue of the NRAs American Rifleman Magazine and you can read stories of people using guns to shoot people who broke into their homes. I don’t think you’ll find many if any stories where more than just a few rounds were fired.
We dont need high-capacity magazines, we just want them. That is why, to be valid, the argument against banning high-capacity magazines is always that it will have no effect whatsoever. Because any lives saved by a ban are worth more than the convenience or emotional satisfaction of using a high-capacity magazine. We have to convince ourselves a ban will fail totally in order to be able continue manufacturing and buying high-capacity magazines.
But there is no evidence in our legal history that a ban would have no effect. Our legal history shows just the opposite.
Statute 1236 of the 73rd Congress was the National Firearms Act enacted on June 26, 1934. It was the beginning of strict federal regulation of machine guns and fully automatic weapons. These 78 years of regulation is why mass murderers do not use fully automatic weapons to kill even more people.
Long-term, strict regulation has been very effective in the case of fully automatic weapons. It makes no sense to argue that it would have no effect whatsoever in the case of high-capacity magazines. We should ban high-capacity magazines.