The Los Angeles Times is resurrecting the tired old debate about whether “high-capacity” magazines should be banned or more strictly controlled.
Perhaps the single most important dereliction of duty by Congress in recent years is the expiration of the ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, which was enacted in 1994 and lasted only for 10 years.
There were signs during the ban that it was beginning to take these especially lethal weapons out of criminal inventories. Gun violence experts believe that trend would have continued, had the ban remained in effect. Instead, Congress allowed it to lapse in 2004. The consequence has been increased use of these weapons in crimes of all sorts ever since.
. . .
Mass shootings such as the Las Vegas event account for a very small proportion of total U.S. gunfire violence, but tend to seize the public’s attention because of the sheer number of victims and the sense that they’re random victims, injured just from being in the wrong place at the wrong time, rather than inviting violence through an association, say, with drug dealers or organized crime. Assault weapons magnify the toll because of their murderous efficiency — they allow many more shots to be fired than conventional weapons, which translates into more people getting hit and more of them suffering multiple injuries.
. . .
The recovery of assault weapons with large-capacity magazines — the feature that best defines those weapons — has risen by almost 50% in Baltimore, where their prevalence was estimated at 11.1% of gunfire crimes in the first years after the ban expired and 16.5% by mid-2014. In Richmond, Va., their prevalence among seized firearms has more than doubled.
Weapons with large-capacity magazines, which are defined as those that can hold more than 10 rounds at a time, appear to be especially prevalent among guns used in murders of police — assault weapons accounted for up to about 16% of the weapons in those crimes, but large-capacity magazines were seen in more than 40% of those incidents.
There’s more at the link – not that it’s worth reading. It makes the usual mistake of conflating feelings and opinions with facts. Oh, it calls upon pseudo-scientific “facts” . . . but when you analyze them, and test them in the real world, they fall apart.
Former Sheriff Ken Campbell of Boone County, Indiana (now running Gunsite Academy in Arizona) conducted a pretty definitive test comparing higher-capacity magazines to lower-capacity ones. He demonstrated that the time taken to use multiple smaller magazines, including swapping them out, was not appreciably greater than using fewer, larger-capacity magazines. Here’s the video. After a few introductory text screens, the action begins at 1m. 45sec.
The Las Vegas shooter would have been able to kill just as many people using smaller magazines as he did using the very-high-capacity units he’d purchased for the purpose. It would have taken him perhaps two or three minutes longer to do so, at the very most.
So much for high-capacity magazine bans. They’re nothing more than a feel-good panacea for those who won’t face facts.