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High-capacity magazine ban

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Title: High-capacity magazine ban  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Gun politics in the United States, Gun control after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, High-capacity magazine, United States firearms law, Gun law in the United States
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

High-capacity magazine ban

A high-capacity magazine ban is a form of gun control in parts of the United States that bans or otherwise restricts firearm magazines that can hold more than a certain number of rounds of ammunition. For example, in the United States, the now-expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 outlawed the manufacture or importation, but not the sale or possession, of magazines that could hold more than ten rounds. Eight U.S. states, and a number of local governments, ban or regulate magazines that they have legally defined as high-capacity. The majority of states (42) do not ban or regulate any magazines on the basis of capacity.

The federal ban defined a magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition as a large capacity ammunition feeding device. Likewise, the state of California defines a large capacity magazine as "any ammunition feeding device with a capacity to accept more than 10 rounds."[1] Such devices are commonly called high-capacity magazines.[2][3][4] Among states with bans, the maximum capacity is 10 to 15 rounds. Several municipalities, such as New York City, restrict magazine capacity to 5 rounds for rifles and shotguns.[5] The state of New York previously limited magazine capacity to 7 rounds, but a District Court ruled that that ban was excessive and could not "survive intermediate scrutiny".[6]

Most pistols sold in the U.S. are made and sold with magazines holding between 10 and 17 rounds.[7] In November 2013, the National Rifle Association sued the city of San Francisco over an ordinance banning possession of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. At the time, no court had overturned a ban on high-capacity guns or magazines.[8] In March 2014, the Supreme Court refused to halt a similar ban by the city of Sunnyvale, California.[9]

The first U.S. high-capacity magazine ban

William B. Ruger, a founder of Sturm, Ruger & Co., is often ascribed with providing the impetus for such a ban. Ruger said that rather than ban firearms, that Congress should outlaw magazines holding more than 15 rounds.[10] On March 30, 1989, Ruger sent a letter to every member of the US Congress stating:

"The best way to address the firepower concern is therefore not to try to outlaw or license many millions of older and perfectly legitimate firearms (which would be a licensing effort of staggering proportions) but to prohibit the possession of high capacity magazines. By a simple, complete and unequivocal ban on large capacity magazines, all the difficulty of defining 'assault rifle' and 'semi-automatic rifles' is eliminated. The large capacity magazine itself, separate or attached to the firearm, becomes the prohibited item. A single amendment to Federal firearms laws could effectively implement these objectives." William B. Ruger[11]

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1993 included a ban on magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition.[12]:1–2

In November 1993, the ban passed the U.S. Senate, although its author, Dianne Feinstein, and other advocates said that it was a weakened version of the original proposal.[13]

The Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, commonly called the assault weapons ban (AWB), was enacted in September 1994. The ban, including its ban on magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition, became defunct (expired) in September 2004 per a sunset provision.

Attempts to renew the ban have failed on the federal level.

U.S. state high-capacity magazine bans

As of March 2014, Washington, D.C. and eight U.S. states have high-capacity magazine restrictions or bans.[14]

In Virginia, high-capacity magazines are not banned, but a semi-automatic, centerfire rifle or pistol with a magazine able to hold more than 20 rounds is considered an "assault firearm" and may only be purchased by citizens or permanent residents.[15]

U.S. county high-capacity magazine bans

U.S. municipal high-capacity magazine bans

U.S. cities with high-capacity magazine restrictions or bans include:

In December 2013, the National Rifle Association (NRA), representing five residents of Sunnyvale, California, filed a lawsuit to stop enforcement of the city's ban on possession of magazines able to hold more than 10 rounds,[7] in a case known as Fyock v. Sunnyvale. In March 2014, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy rejected a request to block enforcement of the law pending appeals.[16] In March 2015 the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the magazine capacity restriction, ruling that it does not violate the Second Amendment.[17]

See also


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  6. ^ New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v Cuomo, 38 (W.D.N.Y. December 31, 2013) (“Unlike the restrictions on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, the seven-round limit cannot survive intermediate scrutiny.”). Text
  7. ^ a b
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  17. ^ Mintz, Howard (March 4, 2015). "Gun Rights Showdown: Sunnyvale Restrictions Upheld by Appeals Court", San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved March 7, 2015.

Further reading

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