High Capacity Magazines are steel gun cartridges that come with 30, 40, 60, or even 120 rounds of ammunition.
A shooter using one of these can fire repeatedly until the magazine is empty.
High Capacity Magazines have been used in almost all the school shootings that have occured, as well as many other mass shootings that have occured since 1984.
Gun Magazines Used in School Shootings Since 1989:
- Sandy Hook Elementary School – Newtown, Connecticut
December 14, 2012 – 30-round magazines
- Virginia Tech – Blacksburg, Virginia
April 16, 2007 – 15-round magazines
- Columbine High School – Littleton, Colorado
Shooter Eric Harris – 10-round magazine – fired 96 times
Shooter Dylan Klebold – 52, 32, and 28-round magazines
- Thurston High School – Springfield, Oregon
May 21,1998 – 50-round magazine
- Westside Middle School – Jonesboro, Arkansas
March 24, 1998 – 15-round magazine
- Cleveland Elementary School – Stockton, California
January 17, 1989 – 75-round drum magazine
Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson wants to limit the capacity of magazines available to only 10 rounds.
A lot of law enforcement officials feel that if smaller magazines are used, the shooter has to pause to reload more often, and this gives people a chance to escape. It also gives police (or someone else) an opportunity to fire at the gunman or wrestle down and capture him.
President Obama put Vice President Joe Biden in charge of a task force to recommend policies to reduce gun violence. Few policy changes have been made in the past, even though Obama made similar announcements after at least four other mass shootings.
The Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 prohibited manufacturing of high capacity ammunition magazines carrying more than 10 rounds. The ban expired in 2004. No attempts by Congress to re-enact the ban have been successful.
Connecticut, where the Sandy Hook school shooting occurred, banned assault weapons in 1993. But the law does not ban high capacity magazines. In 2011, legislation was introduced by Senator Gary LeBeau to ban the magazines. However, at a public hearing, hundreds spoke out against the ban, so the bill never made it past a Judiciary Committee to become law.
So, it appears that this is still a controversial issue. The National Rifle Association has testified that banning high capacity clips would not have reduced the number of casualties in the Virginia Tech massacre, and that “no correlation exists between the size or capacity of detachable magazine and crime”.