Large-Capacity Magazines and the Casualty Counts in Mass Shootings: The Plausibility of Linkages

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Large-Capacity Magazines and the Casualty Counts in Mass Shootings: The Plausibility of Linkages

Category: Gun Markets, Mass Shootings|Journal: Justice Research and Policy (full text)|Author: G Kleck|Year: 2016

Do bans on large-capacity magazines (LCMs) for semiautomatic firearms have significant potential for reducing the number of deaths and injuries in mass shootings? The most common rationale for an effect of LCM use is that they allow mass killers to fire many rounds without reloading. LCMs are known to have been used in less than one third of 1% of mass shootings. News accounts of 23 shootings in which more than six people were killed or wounded and LCMs were known to have been used, occurring in the United States in 1994–2013, were examined. There was only one incident in which the shooter may have been stopped by bystander intervention when he tried to reload. In all of these 23 incidents, the shooter possessed either multiple guns or multiple magazines, meaning that the shooter, even if denied LCMs, could have continued firing without significant interruption by either switching loaded guns or changing smaller loaded magazines with only a 2- to 4-seconds delay for each magazine change. Finally, the data indicate that mass shooters maintain such slow rates of fire that the time needed to reload would not increase the time between shots and thus the time available for prospective victims to escape.

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