Friday, February 11, 2011

Fiancee of slain Giffords staffer: ban big gun clips

Kelly O’Brien, fiancee of the late Gabe Zimmerman, community outreach director for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., speaks at a news conference at the Arizona State Capitol. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Lauren Gambino)

Cronkite News Service

PHOENIX – The fiancee of a congressional staffer killed along with five others in the shooting that severely injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., urged state lawmakers Tuesday to ban gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

Authorities said Jared L. Loughner, who is charged in last month’s shootings in Tucson, used a high-capacity magazine to fire 31 shots in 15 seconds from a pistol he purchased legally.

“Extended magazine clips are currently an easily accessible weapon for troubled individuals to use in mass murder,” said Kelly O’Brien, joined at a news conference by the parents of Gabe Zimmerman, her fiance. “That is what happened on Jan. 8, and that is how Gabe was killed. This must not be allowed to happen again.”

Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, has authored HB 2711, which would reclassify magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds as prohibited weapons. As such, their manufacture, sale and possession would be a felony.

“We can’t completely stop all instances as horrible as Jan. 8, but this common-sense bill would limit the carnage if it happens,” Farley said.

Authorities said Jared Loughner used 31-bullet clip attached to a 9 mm Glock pistol and was trying to load another clip when bystanders tackled him.

The bill wouldn’t apply to high-capacity magazines that hold .22-caliber rimfire ammunition.

High-capacity ammunition magazines were illegal in the U.S. under a Clinton-era assault weapons ban, but that law was allowed to lapse in 2004.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., have introduced similar bills in Congress.

O’Brien, a nurse in the neurology unit at the Tucson Medical Center, had been engaged to Zimmerman, Giffords’ community outreach director, for six months. They planned to marry next year.

She said that while she supports every Americans right to bear arms limiting ammunition clips to 10 rounds would help prevent mass killings like the one in Tucson.

“Ten bullets are more than enough for self defense, which is why most people own handguns,” O’Brien said.

Farley’s bill, introduced Monday, has yet to be assigned to a committee.

Key facts about HB 2711:
– Sponsor: Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson.

– Would ban gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds by reclassifying them as prohibited weapons.

– The manufacture, sale and possession of such clips would be a felony.

– High-capacity magazines that hold .22-caliber rimfire ammunition would be exempted.

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