The use of assault-style weapons has gone down in the decade since Congress prohibited many of them, but criminal use of guns with large capacity magazines has remained steady or increased. So concludes a report to the National Institute of Justice from the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania. The federal ban is scheduled to expire on September 13.
Assault weapons were used in only about 2 percent of gun crimes before the ban, but guns equipped with large magazines were used in up to 25 percent of crimes, the report said. Analyzing national data and figues from cities including Baltimore, Miami, and Milwaukee, researchers found that assault weapons declined by one third or more as a share of guns recovered by police between 1995 and 2003. Still, “criminal use of guns with large magazines has not yet declined in part because exemptions in the law have allowed continued importation of millions of pre-ban magazines to enhance the already large domestic stock,” said Penn criminologist Christopher Koper.