LOS ANGELES (AP) — The city’s police chief endorsed a proposed ban Wednesday on the sale and possession of the types of high-capacity ammunition magazines that have been repeatedly used in mass shootings.
If passed, the federal ban would prohibit any magazine that holds more than 10 rounds of ammunition, though magazines legally purchased before the ban’s start date would be exempt.
“Large capacity ammunition magazines are still being used by violent street gangs,” Charlie Beck said in a statement. “Common sense restrictions on these magazines would help LAPD officers better protect the public and themselves.”
The federal bill was authored by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., whose husband was killed and son seriously wounded in a 1993 shooting.
Several law enforcement officials have endorsed the proposed ban but Beck, who heads the nation’s third-largest police force after New York and Chicago, has the highest profile.
Jared Loughner, the suspect in the January shooting that critically wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed six in Arizona, legally bought the 9 mm handgun he allegedly used at a Tucson store, and was also carrying extended magazines that hold 30 rounds of ammunition.
“Large-capacity ammunition magazines carry far more bullets than any civilian could possibly ever use,” Richard M. Aborn, president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City said in a statement. “Common sense restrictions provide law enforcement with a tactical advantage over criminals, making us all safer.”
A message left with the National Rifle Association was not immediately returned after business hours Tuesday.
High-capacity magazines were banned in 1994 but Congress refused to renew the law and it expired in 2004.
Since the ban expired, large-capacity magazines have been used in several mass shootings including the Virginia Tech slayings in 2007 that left 33 dead and the 2009 killings at Ft. Hood that killed 13.
(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)