Lawmaker: High-Capacity Magazines Are Just A ‘Harmless Piece Of Plastic’



As the Colorado legislature debates a bill that would roll back limits on high-capacity bullet magazines, one legislator explained her support for the legislation by arguing that extended clips are “just this little harmless piece of plastic” that “looks like a kids toy.”

The comments came on a conservative radio show from Colorado State Rep. Kim Ransom (R), who represents House District 44, less than 15 miles from both Aurora and Columbine High School.

Following the 2012 massacre at a movie theater in Aurora, the Colorado legislature passed a package of gun violence prevention measures, including a ban on new magazine clips that hold more than 15 bullets.

However, after Republicans took control of the State Senate in the 2014 elections, one of their first priorities was to undo these new gun violence measures. One such bill is SB 175, which would repeal the ban on high-capacity magazines. It passed the Senate in March and is currently awaiting action in the Democratic-controlled House, where a few Democratic legislators have offered their support if the bill is altered to only ban magazine clips beyond 30 rounds.

Ransom, though, dismissed any limits on the size of magazines, declaring that “that’s not how the Constitution works.” She went on to downplay the importance of magazine clips in general. “It’s so innocuous,” Reason told Grassroots Radio Colorado host Kris Cook on Monday. “It’s just this little harmless piece of plastic. It looks like a kids toy!”

Three years ago, James Holmes used a 100-round magazine during his rampage through an Aurora movie theater, killing 12 innocent people and wounding 70 others in less than 90 seconds. The jury in his upcoming trial was selected this week.

In 1999, during the massacre at Columbine High School, one of the shooters, Dylan Klebold, used various magazines containing as many as 52 rounds. In a short amount of time, he and Eric Harris killed 13 people and wounded 24 others.

Ransom isn’t the first Colorado legislator to use bizarre rhetoric to oppose bans on high-capacity magazine clips. In February 2014, State Sen. Bernie Herpin (R), discussing Holmes’ massacre in Aurora, said that it was “a good thing that he had a 100-round magazine because it jammed. If he had instead had four, five, six, 15-round magazines, there’s no telling how much damage he could have done until a good guy with a gun showed up.”


Reprinted with permission from Think Progress, a branch of The Center for American Progress