The federal ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004 appears to have worked to limit the proliferation of high-capacity magazines, the Washington Post says in an editorial, noting that the use of such magazines in crimes rose dramatically after the ban was “irresponsibly” allowed to lapse. Jared Loughner is alleged to have used such a magazine to fire some 31 rounds in a matter of seconds in Tucson, killing 6 and wounding 13 others.
The Post reported that in Virginia, 15,000 guns equipped with magazines with 11 bullets or more – the federal definition of high-capacity – have been seized by police since 1993; some 2,000 of these weapons were equipped with clips that held 30 or more bullets. The number of high-capacity magazines confiscated by Virginia law enforcement officers dropped after the ban’s enactment – an indication that fewer of these weapons were in circulation. Congress should not wait for another Tucson-like tragedy to resurrect this common-sense law, the Post says.