Jared Loughner, the alleged shooter in Tucson earlier this month, was subdued by attendees at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ (D-AZ) constituent event only after he stopped to reload his 31-bullet clip. Many have argued that perhaps other innocents would have been spared that day if it had been illegal to purchase such high bullet capacity magazines. In response to this idea, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) plan to introduce legislation to limit these high-capacity clips that allow shooters to fire large numbers of rounds without reloading.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) called the legislation “inappropriate,” and “political opportunism.” And the National Rifle Association, the powerful gun lobby, argued that high-capacity magazines are “standard equipment for self-defense handguns and other firearms owned by tens of millions of Americans.”
ThinkProgress attended the SHOT Show convention in Las Vegas this week — “the largest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involved with the shooting sports and hunting industries” — and asked many attendees if they thought these types of clips are necessary for self-defense. Most we talked to concurred, “Not really”:
TP: Do you think that for self defense purposes it matters whether you have 10 or 15 rounds in your magazine?
ATTENDEE 1: Probably not. No probably not. Honestly. [...]
ATTENDEE 2: It takes one shot to kill. … Anything more than one shot is excessive. I mean if someone is breaking in to your house at a panic you’re might going to shoot him once. You’re not going to empty your load on him while they’re lying on your kitchen floor. [...]
TP: If someone were to use a gun for self protection purposes, would they need 10, 30 rounds?
ATTENDEE 3: No, I hope not. I don’t know why. If ten rounds of ammunition can’t do the job you probably shouldn’t own a gun. I don’t want to live next to that guy.
Watch the interview clips: