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High-Capacity Ammo Magazines Should Be Banned, Senator Says

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg will ask Congress to approve a ban on ammunition magazines of more than 10 rounds. Do you agree with his proposed bill?

In the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) announced plans to reintroduce high-capacity magazine ban legislation in the 113th Congress.

Lautenberg’s bill, the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act, would prohibit the manufacture and sale of ammunition magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds. It also would ban ammunition magazines that could be readily converted to accept more than 10 rounds.

“In light of yet another horrific shooting tragedy, it is clearer than ever that there is no place in our communities for deadly high-capacity gun magazines and I will keep working to pass my bill to reinstate the ban on them,” Lautenberg said in a statement. “If we don't pass a high-capacity magazine ban this year, it will be the first bill I introduce when the new session of Congress begins in January.”

New Jersey’s senior senator cited the Newtown shootings—in which the gunman used a high-capacity rifle in his murderous spree, killing 20 children and seven adults—as reason for the reintroduction. But it goes beyond the Dec. 14 shootings to other mass killings in recent years, he added.

“These high-capacity magazines, which were used in Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, Virginia Tech, and so many other tragedies, were designed for one purpose only—to shoot and kill quickly,” Lautenberg said. “We must take immediate action to ban high-capacity gun magazines and assault weapons so that we can prevent the next massacre.”

Lautenberg introduced the same legislation in the current Congress. It stalled after getting referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. A similar House of Representatives bill, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), fizzled after getting referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) also pledged immediate action in the 113th Congress, but her bill would go further in seeking to ban all assault weapons, plus high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Almost immediately after the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, public and online debate over gun control laws raged. Some posit the shooting rampage wouldn’t have been as deadly if the Sandy Hook Elementary School staff had firearms. Others decry laws that allow access to such high-powered weapons.

President Barack Obama weighed in when he visited Newtown on Sunday, saying, “No single law—no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this.”

Tell us: Do you support a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines? Would a ban go too far or not far enough?

Art Vatsky December 17, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Of course I support the ban on larger magazines. They seem to be a common demoninator of all these terrible events. What other purpose is there for large magazines? Not for hunting. Not for personal defense. The only purpose for larger magazines is to defend against an alien invasion. Too often the only "invasion" is a curious child or an angry one. Once someone makes up their mind to hurt others, we have to find a reasonable way to make it hard for them to do the maximum damage. What does the NRA suggest?
Mark Ruckhaus December 18, 2012 at 02:46 AM
All these shootings and Lautenberg, who has one foot in the grave, wakes up now?
RidgewoodResident December 18, 2012 at 04:40 AM
It takes a second to change a magazine. A couple of smaller magazines yields the same result as a "high-capacity" magazine. Just more laws, because in the wake of a tragedy it has to seem like you're taking action, whether or not that action makes a difference. Someone died in a car crash because their friend was speeding? Let's put red stickers on cars! Children were gunned down in a school? Let's make some legislation that sounds good!
J.D. Luke December 18, 2012 at 02:47 PM
It's very easy to shoot down ideas others have, but please, tells us what you think we should actually do to reduce the frequency of these horrible events?
Michael December 18, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Agree! Just like Bloomberg bans sales sodas above 16oz. Buy 2 - and Mickey D's makes more money. Legislation does not equal safety.
Diane Schwarz December 18, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Definitely ban the large magazines. What about the assault weapons? And interstate sales! Checking information on ALL gun purchasers. All car drivers require licenses and so should all gun users.
RidgewoodResident December 18, 2012 at 06:34 PM
What should we do? Put security guards in schools. Treat mental illness. Improve school containment procedures. A high capacity magazine ban won't even do anything unless all the existing HCMs on the market are confiscated...which would be extremely costly for the federal government.
RidgewoodResident December 18, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Cars don't require licenses to operate on private property. Neither do some guns. Cars require a license to operate on public roads. Guns require permits for open or concealed carry outside of private property. But nobody tries to sue a car manufacturer when a drunk idiot kills someone. Nobody tries to ban cars, which kill 400 times as many people as terrorism (which we wage war on).
Baba O'Riley December 18, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Sadly, a mental defective will find a way to carry out his or her killing spree either with a pistol or a rifle or by setting a fire (Happy Land fire in the Bronx) or by setting explosives (Madrid train bombing) or by poison (Tylenol in the 1980's) or by some other means. Unfortunately these bans never work as criminals will always have banned weapons. And yes I do feel for the parents, relatives and friends of the victims.
dara brown December 18, 2012 at 07:55 PM
There are plenty of gun laws on the books. A good practice is to put trigger locks on your guns or use a good gun safe. Responsible gun owners should not be punished for the act of a mentally ill individual. It wouldn't be an unreasonable outcome of this event to prohibit firearms in a residence in which there is someone who's mental illness would not qualify them for gun ownership. (so if my spouse was a nutcase, despite my eligibility to own/possess/purchase firearms, they would not be allowed on the premises) As a responsible gun owner, I do not feel that I should be penalized for the actions of a mentally ill person or the irresponsible gun owning mother who did not secure her legal firearms.
John Santaella December 18, 2012 at 09:40 PM
The Tylenol scare came about because some NUT poisoned his own son and then tried to blame maker of Tylenol. No food tampering had been reported before this. Same with pins and needles in apples at Halloween. Not a single incidence of this has ever been reported. Again, some nut, in Wisconsin back in the '50's put pins in his sons apple.
John Santaella December 18, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Very much agree with you dara brown. With gun ownership comes tremendous responsibility.
Richard Karp December 18, 2012 at 10:16 PM
No legislation will stop these horrific killing but, we can make it much more difficult for them to happen. The weapons we are talking about are designed for one purpose -- to kill. However, whatever legislation is proposed must be federal. Right now every state has a different set of rules. I would like to propose the following: 1-Anyone who wants to purchase any gun, clip or ammunition must be licensed. (Just like a driver is licensed. They must take a bonafide course and successfully complete a written exam as well as a practical exam. (Driver's license test) 2-The weapon must be sold with a title. If the purchase is charged on a credit card the card company would hold the title until the loan is paid off. If the owner sell the weapon the title must be signed and goes to the new owner. 3-The only weapons that the public should able to legally purchase are for hunting, target, shooting and competitive shooting. Collector's should be able to buy any type of weapon they want as long as it has been rendered inoperative. ( We have cannons, tanks, etc. publicly exhibited and none of them are operative. 4-All assault weapons, high capacity clip and ammunition for these weapons must be banned. 5-We must materially improve our mental health facilities and skills. (Not cut the budget) These acts of terror will still persist but maybe, they can be mitigated. PS I'm a lifetime member of the NRA
John Santaella December 18, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Richard Karp, you'll appreciate this then. If I only had a gun... http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/defend-gun-7312540
JT December 18, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Thank you, Richard!! I hope you send your proposal to your senators & congress. To the others who say that without HCM's, a person could just use a pistol or rifle -- chances are slim that 27 people would be killed before he could be overcome. I think it's selfish for gun enthusiasts not to give up the right to own a HCM. Even if it only saves a few lives, it's worth it. I think many of you would change your tune if it were your loved one murdered.
JT December 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Very interesting ABC clip. Thank you for sharing.
RidgewoodResident December 19, 2012 at 12:26 AM
1. A driver can drive without a license on private land. A gun owner must submit to a background check before purchasing a gun for use on private land. A car owner needs a license to use their car on public property, just as a gun owner needs a permit for concealed/open carry. However, car manufacturers don't get sued when a drunken idiot runs someone over and kills them. Cars aren't banned because they can go over the highest speed limit in any state. 3 - Uhh....what about self-defense? I'm sorry but the Supreme Court has ruled again and again that the right to bear arms is linked to the right to self-defense. 4 - You just said we should allow hunting and sport weapons, many of which are more dangerous than "assault weapons". A pistol grip, folding stock, or barrel shroud doesn't make a weapon more powerful than another. A longer barrel or different caliber bullet might. It takes a second to change a magazine, so this is highly ineffective. People will just carry around a pocket full of magazines. Plus, this does nothing to the plentiful supply of HCMs that will still be in circulation. Assault weapons are used in only 2-8% of all crimes. They're not necessarily any more powerful than hunting rifles. Why assault weapons?
RidgewoodResident December 19, 2012 at 12:28 AM
You realize that there are a ton of semi-automatic pistols and rifles on the market, right? And carrying a couple 10 round magazines isn't much different than one 30 round magazine? So, yeah, he probably could have.
RidgewoodResident December 19, 2012 at 12:30 AM
And yeah, you would probably change your tune if your loved one was the unarmed victim of an home invasion too, but that doesn't change the overall facts of the issue beyond one anecdote, does it?
dara brown December 19, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Responsible law abiding gun owners are not the problem. Nothing is going to change the fact that these people lost their lives in a senseless tragedy. Whether I can legally have a magazine that holds 15 or 10 rounds isnt the issue. Due to the media hype here, many are missing the point that there are mentally ill individuals that are using whatever tool they can to commit these crimes. It has been reported that this nut spent his time playing violent video games. Whether that is an appropriate activity or not for someone mentally unstable, It would appear to be a contributing factor to his actions. A pyschopath with no concern for others will use whatever mechanism to accomplish his/her 'goal'. In this case it was his mother's weapons *due to her lack of responsibility securing them* AND taking this kid to gun ranges etc. If the gun was locked up properly then maybe this would have been averted if the shooter has to spend some time and effort doing something else (such as noted above with the tylenol etc). We all have been exposed to neighbors, fellow students, coworkers etc who were 'ticking timebombs' or 'nutcases' but in a free society, they have more rights than we do, so until they commit a horrendous act such as this, they can not be locked up. The guns are the focus of the media right now, but there's a lot more to this problem. So penalizing law abiding gun owners is a political posture that is popular after the fact, its not going to stop a nutcase or a criminal.
JT December 19, 2012 at 12:21 PM
I agree that more needs to be done to take care of the mentally ill, however I don't agree with your position on assault weapons. How is it that Jarts (remember those) were taken off the market, but we can purchase a military style assault weapon - key word being "assault"?
Nj Ghost December 28, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Ther ya go again Diane ( 1) what is a high cap mag? (2) please describe an assault weapon (3) All people who purchase a weapon (gun) has to not only have a license (F.I.D.card) and go through an instant check with the State. For a hand gun they must first get a permit to purchase from the local police station and give them permission to check the mental records of any person wishing to purchase a handgun. that takes as much as 10 weeks and on top of that he or she must use the permit within 90 days....But as long as I have an fid card I can back my car up to any store that sells guns and buy as many rifles or shot guns as I can pay for along with the ammo needed....But I must first have an F.I.D. card.....a lot more difficult then getting a drivers license. and this is what I must go through to exercise my constitutional RIGHT where as a drivers license is not a right but a privalege.
Nj Ghost December 28, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Just stop with the "Assault" weapon....It has been unsuccessfully been defined. there is no legal definition of an "Assault" weapon...I have an M-1 Garand. It's a battle rifle from WWII. The US Army definition of it is " A clip fed gas operated semi automatic weapon" But it does not fit the definition of an assault weapon yet it is infinatly more powerful(30.06) then the modern combat weapon (.556 cal.) used today by the military. My definition of an assault weapon is ANY weapon that is shooting at you.
austin December 28, 2012 at 03:08 PM
I bet Adolf Hitler would agree.
Carla Ramirez January 11, 2013 at 05:18 AM
The Virginia Tech shooter did not use high capacity magazines or assault weapons. Just two pistols with 10 and 15 round magazines. Yet he killed more people than any other shooting. This is just feel good legislation to infringe the second amendment.
John Santaella January 11, 2013 at 08:08 AM
@Carla, not to nitpick but 10 and 15 round magazines are high capacity magazines. As far as the ''assault weapons'', this is a phrase that is used without truly knowing what it means. The press likes to exaggerate for effect and I wish people would stop using the term. And, it seems to me that to protect the 2nd Amendment gun lovers are willing to get rid of the 1st Amendment. Let's sit down and talk for crying out loud. I am not anti-gun either I just don't have need of a gun but I won't infringe on your right to own a gun. One does not need a high capacity magazine to 1) hunt or 2) to protect ones family. If I were to get another gun (I owned guns in the past) I would get a shotgun and saw it off to a 1/2 within legal size. That would give me all the protect I needed in my home to protect myself.

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