A high-capacity magazine (or large-capacity magazine) is a firearm magazine capable of holding more than the standard number of rounds provided by the designer, or legally, a particular number of cartridges dependent on jurisdiction and kind of firearm.
For legal purposes, in some jurisdictions, magazines holding more than 10 rounds are considered "high-capacity." This can be problematic as the manufacturer's standard magazine capacity for most modern semi-automatic pistols is between 15 and 18 rounds and all modern sporting rifles come standard with magazines holding between 20 and 30 rounds. Firearms enthusiasts commonly call these magazines standard capacity magazines.
Typically, standard capacity magazines with more than ten rounds use staggered, box magazines for reliable loading. Magazines that hold more than standard capacity magazines often use longer magazines and some use a drum mechanism. The problem is that these larger than standard magazines often are unreliable and lack the mechanical design and R&D testing resources of a firearm manufacturer. With the larger number of cartridges, there is a higher chance that they will become misaligned before or during firing. As a result, these products are prone to jamming, rendering the firearm useless.
In the United States, since the 1980s, magazine capacity has been a subject of debate regarding civilian firearms. Many assault weapon bans since then have included or been accompanied by large-capacity or high-capacity magazine bans. Magazine capacity is also debated among military users, who have to balance the greater firepower of high-capacity magazines with their greater weight, size and reliability.
As of 2017, eight U.S. states had laws banning high-capacity magazines. California passed prop 63 in 2016, banning the possession of high capacity magazines holding over ten rounds, but on appeal, the federal courts stayed the new law as the state failed to show how this law didn't violate the second amendment or the property rights of owners of previously legal goods. More importantly, the California Rifle and Pistol Association's lawsuit alleges that "Banning magazines over ten rounds is no more likely to reduce criminal abuse of guns than banning high horsepower engines is likely to reduce criminal abuse of automobiles,". In fact, the court found that "The State’s preliminary theoretical and empirical evidence is inconclusive. In fact, it would be reasonable to infer, based on the State’s evidence, that a right to possess magazines that hold more than 10 rounds may promote self-defense – especially in the home ..."
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- Magazine (firearms)
- Assault weapon
- Assault weapons legislation in the United States
- Gun politics in the United States
- High-capacity magazine ban
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