Mass shootings are drawing attention to drum magazines, which allow shooters to fire dozens of rounds without stopping to reload. The round magazines, made famous by the Tommy gun from the Prohibition era, formerly were unreliable and hard to use, but have benefited from leaps in manufacturing and design. Today, they can be legally purchased at gun stores and online in most states, the Wall Street Journal reports. The attacker in Dayton this month used a 100-round drum magazine made by KCI USA to fire 41 shots in less than a minute, killing nine people and injuring 17 others. The shooter in the Gilroy, Ca., Garlic Festival attack last month that left three dead owned one, but didn’t use it. Now, some lawmakers have renewed an effort to high-capacity magazines for civilian use.
Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) is co-sponsoring a bill that would outlaw magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. Titus, who represents Las Vegas, co-sponsored a bill to ban the magazines after the 2017 attack at a country-music festival there, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. That legislation, which never came to a floor vote, called for high-capacity magazines to carry serial numbers so they could be tracked. Nine states, including California and New York, regulate the capacity of magazines, with most setting it at 10 rounds. Colorado mandates a limit of 15. Between 1994 and 2004, new magazines over 10 rounds were prohibited under the federal assault weapons ban. Far more common than drum magazines, according to industry experts, are box-style, which stack bullets on top of each other. They are light, cheap and plentiful: a 30-round magazine for an AR-15 style rifle sells for around $15. Drum magazines, which pack bullets in a spiral coil, are heavier and more expensive, with most costing more than $100.