Politico reports today that, according to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, Anders Breivik, the right-wing “fundamentalist” charged with the terror attacks in Norway last week, purchased high-capacity gun clips from the United States. Part of Breivik’s attack included a gun assault on a Labour Party youth camp just outside of Oslo:
Anders Behring Breivik wrote in a 1,500-page manifesto that he bought 10 30-round ammunition clips for his .223 caliber rifle from an unnamed small U.S. supplier, which then in turn acquired the clips from other suppliers. Norway forbids the sale of clips for hunting rifles that hold more than three bullets, according to Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.
Breivik wrote in his manifesto that while he could have purchased the high-capacity magazines in Sweden, they would have been significantly more expensive than ordering them from a U.S. supplier. He wrote that he spent $550 for the 10 clips. He also described legally buying four 30-round clips for a Glock handgun in Norway.
The legal sale of high-capacity magazines in the U.S. became an issue earlier this year after Jared Loughner’s shooting spree at an event in Arizona that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). Loughner used similar 30-round clips and was subdued only after he stopped to reload his weapon. Such high-capacity clips were illegal until 2004 when the assault weapons ban expired. Many have argued that lives would have been spared that day if it had been illegal to purchase high-capacity magazines.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) introduced legislation to put the limit back on these gun clips. However, the legislation has stalled in the GOP-controlled House. McCarthy told Politico that Americans should be ashamed that Breivik purchased the clips from American dealers:
“There should be a lot of shame,” she told POLITICO. “We’re sending a death warrant to other parts of the world. … Unfortunately now internationally it’s known that you can get here, buy your guns, buy your large magazines and you’re not going to have any problem.”
Of course, the National Rifle Association holds considerable sway among members of Congress, particularly Republicans, and opposes any restrictions on guns and ammunition. Responding to calls to limit the size of gun clips after the Loughner shootings, the NRA said high-capacity magazines are needed for “self-defense.” However, members of the NRA have disagreed with that argument. “If ten rounds of ammunition can’t do the job you probably shouldn’t own a gun,” one NRA member told ThinkProgress earlier this year.