Firearms equipped with high-capacity magazines make instances of violence exceptionally deadly. High-capacity ammunition magazines, commonly defined as those capable of holding more than 10-rounds, are a threat to public safety and should be prohibited.
A gun magazine is the rectangular piece that holds shells for feeding into the firearm’s chamber. High-capacity ammunition magazines, commonly defined as those capable of holding more than 10-rounds, make shootings more deadly. The more rounds a shooter can fire without reloading, the more wounds they can inflict.
High-capacity magazines are commonly defined as ammunition feeding devices capable of holding more than 10-rounds. These devices enable a shooter to fire many bullets without pausing to reload. High-capacity magazines can hold as many as 100-rounds, and standard high-capacity magazines hold 30-rounds and can be purchased for as little as $8. But these inexpensive magazines have a costly human impact.
Shootings involving high-capacity magazines have more fatalities and injuries than those that do not. In mass shootings between 2015 and 2022, high-capacity magazines led to 2.5x as many people killed and nearly 10x as many total casualties.
High-capacity magazines are often used in the violence that plagues our nation. Firearms equipped with high-capacity magazines account for an estimated 22 to 36% of crime guns. This threat to public safety has no place in our communities.
In 1994, Congress passed a law generally prohibiting high-capacity magazines, but the prohibition expired in 2004. As a result, high-capacity magazines are legal unless state or local law prohibits them. Research shows that states with restrictions on magazine size experience mass shootings at less than half the rate of states without restrictions. Another study estimated that mass shooting deaths were 70% less likely to occur when the federal prohibition on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines was in effect.
Firearms equipped with high-capacity magazines account for a significant portion of guns recovered by police—and it’s no wonder they’re used in crimes. High-capacity magazines are designed for lethality. Guns equipped with these types of magazines maximize injury and make fatality more likely.
Some estimates indicate guns equipped with high-capacity magazines account for upwards of 40 percent for cases involving serious violence, including homicides of law enforcement officers.
Koper C. S., et al. “Criminal Use of Assault Weapons and High-Capacity Semiautomatic Firearms: an Updated Examination of Local and National Sources”. Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine. (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-017-0205-7