Let me introduce you to public enemy number one: the high capacity magazine. What is a high capacity magazine exactly? It is any magazine for a semi-automatic weapon that can hold more than 10 bullets. At least that is the current standard as proposed by President Obama. In New York the standard is even higher, and is set at any magazine that can hold more than seven bullets.
This includes, as pictured above, a common Glock 23 with 13 round magazines. This is the same weapon commonly issued to FBI Special Agents in the field due to its ease of concealment and high stopping power. This is now what will be vilified during the next several months as the gun control debate works its way through Congress.
You thought assault weapons and the AR-15 was public enemy number one? Well you are partially right. Assault weapons are to be vilified and banned according to some, including President Obama, but the likelihood of such an action is already seen as dead on arrival in the Congress. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said as recently as last week that the assault weapons ban is probably doomed because there is no real chance of it passing in the House. Many agree that an assault weapons ban passing again will be a tough sell.
So that brings us back to public enemy number one, the high capacity magazine. The gun control proposals Obama is pushing includes three main ideas: universal background checks on all gun purchases, an assault weapons ban, and a ban on high capacity magazines. Of those three ideas, the one with the most support is universal background checks for all gun purchases. This would ban the private sale of firearms and require all gun sales be done by a licensed broker. It would close the so called "gun show loophole," which would be a big victory for gun control advocates. I believe this has a very good chance of passing.
As I have already said, the assault weapons ban will likely not pass. That leaves us with the last big idea, banning high capacity magazines. While the NRA is planning to fight any and all gun control proposals presented, including universal background checks, I believe they will lose on something. The question is, will they also lose on high capacity magazines?
Knowing that the assault weapons ban is unlikely, why push such a ban? It's a bargaining chip of course. In any good negotiation you have to be willing to give up something in order to get what you want. That is what I believe the call for a ban on assault weapons is. It is a bargaining chip that Democrats can give up in order to get the other gun control measures they want put in place.
So what this will boil down to is how well the other side negotiates. Given the fiscal cliff debate, you would think Republicans would be on the losing end of any debate moving forward, but gun control advocates have to deal not only with Republicans, but with Democrats in rural and southern areas. This means that while universal background checks may pass, additional restrictions on guns, including the high capacity magazine, have a tall mountain to climb.
This debate is going to come down to a public relations campaign. If Obama and other gun control advocates can make the high capacity magazine out to be public enemy number one, and vilify them in such a way that the vast majority of the public demands they be banned, then they might stand a chance at getting the high capacity magazine ban through the Congress. If they cannot do this and cannot make high capacity magazines public enemy number one, then a ban on them is unlikely because it will be seen as an additional prohibition.