Dems offer gun-control amendment to cybersecurity bill

posted at 9:21 am on July 27, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

You didn’t think Congress would do nothing after the Aurora shooting, did you — especially the Democrat-controlled Senate?  Fueled by the detail that the AR-15 (not an AK-47) used in the massacre had a high-capacity drum magazine — which jammed — Senate Democrats have offered an amendment to the pending cybersecurity bill that would ban possession of magazines past a maximum 10-round capacity:

Democratic senators have offered an amendment to the cybersecurity bill that would limit the purchase of high capacity gun magazines for some consumers.

Shortly after the Cybersecurity Act gained Senate approval to proceed to filing proposed amendments and a vote next week, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a sponsor of the gun control amendment, came to the floor to defend the idea of implementing some “reasonable” gun control measures.

The amendment was sponsored by Democratic Sens. Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Schumer and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.). S.A. 2575 would make it illegal to transfer or possess large capacity feeding devices such as gun magazines, belts, feed stripes and drums of more than 10 rounds of ammunition with the exception of .22 caliber rim fire ammunition.

The amendment is identical to a separate bill sponsored by Lautenberg. Feinstein was the sponsor of the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

Ten rounds?  That is, I believe, the smallest capacity magazine for any firearm that uses one. I own four magazines for my semiautomatic Glock 23 .40 caliber pistol, and only one of those is a 10-round magazine.  The others, which would be grandfathered under the bill but which I could not replace if it passed, have capacities of 13 and 15 rounds.  What makes a 13-round magazine more inherently dangerous than a 10-round magazine, or a 15-round magazine than a 13-rounder?

As of 2007, six states had magazine-capacity restrictions, four of those at 10 rounds: California, New York, Massachusetts, and Hawaii, not exactly known for their gun-rights-friendly attitudes.  Hawaii’s only applies to handguns.  New Jersey’s limit is 15, while Maryland’s is 20.  The rest of the states haven’t seen the need to enact magazine limits.

Perhaps it might be “reasonable” to restrict the high-capacity drum magazines to military and law-enforcement uses, but that’s only if you think that someone could benefit from the need of a shooter to repeatedly reload.  Let’s not forget that Aurora forbids anyone from carrying or discharging a weapon at all, and so did the theater in which the massacre took place.  The perpetrator had no problem switching weapons and/or reloading because Aurora had already disarmed his victims through their “reasonable” gun control statutes and rules.  This regulation would have made absolutely no difference in the shooting which Democrats have used to launch this new law.

I doubt this amendment will make it through the Senate, but if it does, the entire cybersecurity bill will be ignored by the House.

Update: I was incorrect about mag capacities in some specific instances, as Madison Conservative notes in the comments:

That’s entirely wrong, Ed. First of all, most magazines for larger capacity handguns, such as .45ACP, 10MM, or .50AE, carry anywhere between 6-9 rounds. Secondly, for semi-automatic shotguns that have magazines, they usually have a minimum of five rounds. Finally, some rifle magazines carry 5-10 rounds, although that usually only applies to rifles that are 50 years old or more.

All that aside, this needs to catch fire and take the cybersecurity bill down with it.

I’d wager that most magazines for handguns and rifles have a base of 9-10 round capacity, but clearly not all.


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