Nevada Lawmakers Seek Ban on High-Capacity Magazines, As Used in Las Vegas Rampage

Posted on: April 15, 2021, 03:43h. 

Last updated on: April 15, 2021, 04:13h.

Two congressional members from Nevada filed legislation this week to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines like those used in the 2017 mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip.

Rep. Dina Titus
US Rep. Dina Titus (D) gestures while speaking at a gun violence roundtable at UNLV in 2018. She is seeking a ban on high-capacity magazines. (Image: Las Vegas Weekly)

US Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and US Rep. Dina Titus (both D) filed legislation on Wednesday to ban magazines that hold a large numbers of rounds, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“Firearms with high-capacity magazines have no place in our classrooms, concert venues, or communities,” Titus said.

Titus said families across the country, including in Las Vegas, “know all too well the deadly consequences of inaction.”

On Oct. 1, 2017, a gunman later identified as Stephen Paddock went on a 10-minute shooting rampage in Las Vegas. Ultimately, 60 people died. Hundreds were injured.

From a 32nd-floor suite in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Paddock fired on the Route 91 Harvest outdoor music concert. The Mandalay Bay is at the southwestern end of the Las Vegas Strip. The concert was across the Strip, just south of the Tropicana Las Vegas. 

Paddock, 64, was found dead in the suite of a self-inflicted gunshot. Video later posted on YouTube showed weapons scattered throughout Paddock’s hotel suite. The body count totaled 61 people, including the shooter.

The 2017 incident is considered the worst mass killing in recent US history. Paddock’s suite was stockpiled with thousands of rounds of ammunition. Also in the suite were semi-automatic rifles equipped with bump stocks that allowed the weapons to fire almost continuously.

Opposition to Gun Restrictions

Bills to restrict gun purchases and weapons accessories are expected to face opposition from gun-right groups and conservative lawmakers.

The National Rifle Association is among organizations that contend such restrictions violate Second Amendment protections. During the last session of Congress, legislation to ban high-capacity magazines failed to pass. This year, the only sponsors are Democrats.

Other legislative initiatives also have not been successful.

Under the Trump Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) attempted to ban bump stocks. In March, the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ban on grounds that it violated Constitutional rights, the newspaper reported. The Gun Owners of America sought to reverse the ban.

President Joe Biden (D) has signaled he intends to nominate David Chipman as ATF director. The retired ATF special agent supports a ban on high-capacity magazines, according to the newspaper. He also supports a ban on assault weapons.

The Firearm Industry Trade Association has voiced opposition to his nomination.

‘Human Casualties’ Maximized

Democratic lawmakers say they will continue pushing for a ban on high-capacity magazines.

US Rep. Ted Deutch (D) has echoed Biden in saying that gun users, whether for sport or self-defense, do not need magazines that hold 30, 50, or 100 rounds.

These are magazines of choice in mass shootings because they maximize human casualties,” the Florida congressman said. 

Deutch represents the district that includes Parkland, Florida, where a gunman killed 17 students in 2018.