PBC’s gun clip bill looks like a longshotby John Kennedy | March 9th, 2011
Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson said Wednesday he thinks state lawmakers should embrace the county’s call for banning gun clips containing more than 15 rounds — especially following Arizona U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting earlier this year.
But the legislation, proposed by Rep. Lori Berman and Sen. Maria Sachs, both Delray Beach Democrats, likely faces tall odds in a Republican Legislature filled with lawmakers elected with the backing of the National Rifle Association.
“You know, a TV commentator has said, ‘the first 10 rounds, blame the person, the next 21 rounds, you should blame the law,’” said Aronson, who joined Berman and Sachs at a Capitol news conference to promote the legislation, which has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.
House Bill 1335, which Representative Berman filed on Monday, limits the sale or transfer of high-volume ammunition devices with a capacity greater than 15 bullets.
Giffords was critically wounded when accused assailant Jared Loughner, who is charged in January’s shooting near Tucson, used a high-capacity magazine to fire 31 shots in 15 seconds from a pistol he purchased legally. Six people were killed and 14 wounded.Aaronson was part of an entourage of Palm Beach County officials who came to Tallahassee for the county’s annual day at the Capitol. The legislation stems from a resolution approved by the commission soon after the Giffords shooting.
Sachs, whose bill has not yet been numbered, said the commission’s move was timely. Congress and several states are considering similar legislation.
“No one in this state should ever have to go through this type of tragedy,” Sachs said.
But Marion Hammer, longtime lobbyist for the National Rifle Association’s affiliate, Unified Sportsmen of Florida, said the county officials were wrongheaded in looking to outlaw the size of magazine clips. A law is already on the books enhancing penalties for crimes commited with a high-capacity firearm.
“Banning mere possession does nothing,” Hammer said. “I know we will oppose this.”