On Tuesday the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance banning the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines—that is, magazines that carry more than 10 rounds.
Spearheaded by councilman Paul Krekorian, the measure is intended to close a loophole in city law that has prohibited the sales, import or manufacture of such magazines since 2000, but allowed ownership.
Said Krekorian at a rally on Tuesday: “People who want to defend their families don’t need a 100-round drum magazine and an automatic weapon to do it.”
In a separate statement quoted in the L.A. Times an attorney representing the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle & Pistol Association argued that large-capacity magazines are “in common use for self-defense and they are overwhelmingly chosen for that purpose. Indeed, millions are in the hands of good American citizens. As such, they are fully protected by the Constitution.”
The Los Angeles legislation is modeled closely on similar ordinances in San Francisco and Sunnyvale which have thus far survived legal challenges. As of May 2013, high-capacity magazines are also banned in six states, the District of Colombia, Chicago, New York, Buffalo, Rochester and a number of other smaller cities.
In 2013 testimony submitted to the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Senate regarding proposals to reduce gun violence, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops highlighted a letter sent to Congress by 47 religious leaders, including Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, chair of the U.S.C.C.B. Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, calling on Congress to “limit access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines.”
A 2012 comprehensive study of mass shootings in the United States since 1982 by Mother Jones found that over 50 percent of the 62 events involved high capacity magazines. On its Wonkblog, the Washington Post also noted in June that of the 12 worst shootings ever in U.S. history, six have happened since 2007.