Are these ammunition-feeding devices, which allow a shooter to fire many times without reloading, in fact commonly used by mass killers? We examined the data from Mother Jones' continuing investigation into mass shootings and found that high-capacity magazines have been used in at least 31 of the 62 cases we analyzed. A half-dozen of these crimes occurred in the last two years alone.So, half. Including the Tuscon shooting of Gabby Giffords and 18 others, an incident which was only stopped, Giffords' husband Mark Kelly noted yet again to the Senate this week, when the shooter finally had to reload. Magazine capacity dictates how many people can be killed before the killer needs to pause for a moment, giving opportunity for others to react; that, in turn, would seem to be literally the Smallest Possible Thing we could do to reduce the body counts in these cases. Well, the "smallest" thing we could do is absolutely damn nothing, and with their "more guns, more places" policy the NRA has been doing its level best to encourage even less than that.
Tossing aside the "I need to be able to kill the government if I want to" crowd and the "I need to spray the forest with bullets in the hope I eventually hit a deer, because learning to aim properly is not my thing" crowd, the prime non-insane argument against banning high-capacity magazines is that gun enthusiasts at the range would also have to reload more often, and no matter how sorry we are for incidents like that at Newtown, or Tuscon, that minor inconvenience is just too high a price to pay. That will be an interesting conversation to have.