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Monday, January 24, 2011

Ammunition Magazines Get Attention in Virginia

On the last day to introduce legislation for this session of the General Assembly, Delegate Betsy Carr introduced HB2524, a ban on "firearms magazine designed to hold 20 or more rounds of ammunition."  On Sunday, the Washington Post ran an article claiming that since the expiration of the Clinton Gun Ban, the number of firearms with high-capacity magazines seized by Virginia police "has rebounded sharply."
Last year in Virginia, guns with high-capacity magazines amounted to 22 percent of the weapons recovered and reported by police. In 2004, when the ban expired, the rate had reached a low of 10 percent. In each year since then, the rate has gone up.
Christopher Koper, head of the anti-gun Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) told the Post:
Maybe the federal ban was finally starting to make a dent in the market by the time it ended.
But Koper, was quoted by the Washington Times in August of 2004 saying something just the opposite.  Koper conducted a study of the law for the U.S. Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
"We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation's recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence,"
The report was even more definitive:
"It is thus premature to make definitive assessments of the ban's impact on gun violence. Should it be renewed, the ban's effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement." 
All of this "analysis" by the Post was part of the series titled "The Hidden Life of Guns" that the paper ran last October.  With the events of a couple of weeks ago, the data collected by the Washington Post is giving new life to those who wanted to make the link, but had no proof,  that the Clinton Gun Ban reduced crime.

Don't look for HB 2524 to go very far in the Virginia General Assembly.  But don't be surprised to see the national gun ban groups use the Post's propaganda to push President Obama to at least make a push for again banning the sale of large capacity ammunition clips.

It will be interesting to see if Obama continues his "new tone" in his State of the Union address tomorrow night or if he succumbs to pressure from the Brady Campaign and others to use the opportunity to take advantage of the Arizona shootings to push some new gun control measures.

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