Efforts to ban high-capacity gun magazines, like the one allegedly used by accused Tuscon shooter Jared Loughner, are gaining some momentum. On Tuesday morning, Kelly O’Brien - the fiancée of congressional staffer Gabe Zimmerman, who was killed in the Tuscon rampage - joined legislators for a press conference to endorse House and Senate bills banning high-capacity magazines, or assault clips.
“The man who killed Gabe and five others shot 31 bullets in 15 seconds, roughly two shots every second. He stopped only when his high-capacity magazine was empty,” O’Brien, a nurse, said at the press conference. “He was clearly planning on killing many more people.”
“I do not own a gun, but I respect every American’s constitutional right to own a gun,” said O’Brien, who was on her first trip to Washington, D.C. “However, every constitutional right comes with responsibilities. It is entirely reasonable to limit gun magazines to 10 bullets as Rep. McCarthy and Sen. Lautenberg are proposing. Ten bullets are more than enough for self defense, which is why many people own handguns.”
Zimmerman’s father Ross and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) also joined O’Brien at the news conference.
“What is so hard about the idea of common sense responsible behavior?,” Ross Zimmerman said. “What is so hard about banning something like this? This is a little piece of a larger picture. I have plenty of friends who own guns, none of them think these things are reasonable. There is no rationality to this. This is something that must change.”
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is also releasing a 30 second television ad, urging President Obama to take action to ban assault clips. The narrator of the ad, which will run on national cable, says:
A magazine that allows a gun to fire 32 shots in 16 seconds is only good for one thing - killing a lot of people, fast. And that’s something we can live without. Assault clips: they make everyone a target. Tell President Obama to ban assault clips.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) have both introduced bills to outlaw high-capacity magazines, which are defined as clips that hold more than 10 rounds at a time. Until 2004, high-capacity magazines were illegal as part of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. That legislation expired in 2004.
While the National Rifle Association (NRA) has pledged to fight off any and all attempts to impose harsher regulations on guns and high-capacity magazines, the ban has found some unlikely support from former Vice President Dick Cheney.
See the Brady ad here:
Additional reporting by Ryan J. Reilly.