New calls for gun control following Staurday's rampage 

This was probably inevitable:

One of the fiercest gun-control advocates in Congress, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), pounced on the shooting massacre in Tucson Sunday, promising to introduce legislation as soon as Monday targeting the high-capacity ammunition clip the gunman used.

McCarthy ran for Congress after her husband was gunned down and her son seriously injured in a shooting in 1993 on a Long Island commuter train.

“My staff is working on looking at the different legislation fixes that we might be able to do and we might be able to introduce as early as tomorrow,” McCarthy told POLITICO in a Sunday afternoon phone interview.

If I were a betting man, put money on the fact McCarthy won't be the only person in Congress pushing gun control by week's end. Meanwhile, Salon is pushing this thinly-veiled press release from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence:

The high-capacity magazine of the semiautomatic pistol used in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and more than a dozen other people on Saturday would have been illegal to manufacture and difficult to purchase under the Clinton-era assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

According to police and media reports, the alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, legally purchased a semiautomatic Glock 19 with a high-capacity magazine in November at a gun store in Tucson. Under the assault weapons ban, it was illegal to manufacture or sell new high-capacity magazines, defined as those that hold more than 10 rounds. The magazines used by Loughner had 31 rounds each, according to police.

If Loughner had been using a traditional magazine, "it would have drastically reduced the number of shots he got off before he had to pause, unload and reload -- and he could have been stopped," Daniel Vice, senior attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, tells Salon. 

Between 1994 and 2004 when the assault weapons ban was in effect, gun manufacturers such as Glock could not market handguns with high-capacity magazines. If the ban were still in effect, it's less likely that Loughner could have obtained a gun with a high-capacity magazine. Stores could legally only sell used high-capacity magazines at that time, and new magazines could not be manufactured.

When the "ban" on high capacity magazines went into effect under Clinton, there were already thousands of high capacity magazines in circulation. There were also loopholes in the ban where military and law enforcement could still obtain the high capacity magazines. Not only that, the federal regulations created a lucrative black market in high-capacity magazines -- so those that still had access to them were then incentivized to sell them at a decent profit. High-capacity Glock magazines were still quite easily obtainable throughout the time the Clinton-era assault weapons ban was in effect.

The idea that a ban on high-capacity magazines would have prevented or limited the tradgedy on Saturday is specious at best.

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Mark Hemingway

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