President Obama proposes banning high-capacity magazines in a bid to make mass shootings less likely. But gun rights advocates worry that the ammo ban is a sleeper provision that will, ultimately, make many handguns illegal, as well.
Adam Lanza, police say, used at least 150 bullets shot from an AR-15 assault-style rifle during his attack on the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14 – killing 26 children and staff, and shocking the nation into a tumultuous debate over gun control.
Using the standard 30-bullet magazine that comes with the rifle, Mr. Lanza would have had to detach the springloaded magazines that pump each cartridge into the chamber only four times, as he fired relentlessly into two classrooms full of grade-school children. James Holmes, using a "drum magazine" that held 100 rounds, shot 70 people in an Aurora, Colo., theater in July in fewer than 90 seconds, police say.
That's why a ban on so-called "large-capacity" magazines is at the top of a gun control reform proposal by President Obama on Wednesday, which also includes banning assault-style rifles and beefing up background checks, among other actions.
The proposed ban on devices that are, in essence, small bullet-packed boxes with springs is an attempt to confront their popularity among gun enthusiasts. As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) questioned: Who needs more than seven bullets to kill a dear? Advocates of a ban say the ubiquity of large-capacity magazines contributes to bloodshed.
Page 1 of 4