Accused Norwegian gunman Andrew Behring Breivik acquired high-capacity gun clips from the United States, according to Politico via an article on Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. Sixty-eight people died after Breivik opened fire last Friday on the island of Utøya. Jared Loughner, who wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), killed 6 and wounded several in Arizona in January, used similar 30-round clips; only when he stopped to reload was he subdued, notes Think Progress. In the wake of the shootings in Tucson, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) has reintroduced HR 308 several times in Congress; the bill would prohibit the manufacture, sale or transfer of high-capacity gun magazines, says MSNBC. Such high-capacity magazines have been available for purchase in the US since a federal assault weapons ban expired in 2004.
In the 1500-page “manifesto” that Breivik posted online, he noted that he had purchased 10 30-round ammunition magazines from a U.S. supplier who sent the devices to him in the mail, according to CBS News. While he could have purchased the high-capacity magazines in Sweden, Breivik wrote that it was cheaper to acquire them from the US; he spent $550.00 USD for ten clips.
Not only are the weapons available for sale from the US; the US sells them at a “more affordable” price.
As Rep. McCarthy said to Politico:
“There should be a lot of shame. We’re sending a death warrant to other parts of the world. … Unfortunately now, internationally, it’s known that you can get here, buy your guns, buy your large magazines, and you’re not going to have any problem.”
McCarthy says that she currently has 109 Democratic co-sponsors for HR 308 though it is unlikely to pass the Republican-majority House.
Dennis Henigan, the acting president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said simply that America’s gun laws are endangering the world:
“It now appears that not even Norwegian children at a youth camp are safe from the battlefield firepower so easily available in America. Large-capacity assault clips are instruments of mass killing, yet federal law leaves them completely unregulated.”
The NRA did not offer an immediate comment to McCarthy’s statement. Noting that members of the NRA have said high-capacity magazines are needed for “self-defense,” ThinkProgress points out that some NRA members have “have disagreed with that argument”, commenting that an NRA member has said “If ten rounds of ammunition can’t do the job you probably shouldn’t own a gun.”
Mother Jones lists ten mass shootings in which high-capacity gun clips were used, including the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting — 33 dead, 17 wounded; the 1999 Columbine High shooting — 15 dead, 23 wounded; and the 1993 Long Island Railway shooting — 6 dead, 19 wounded, with McCarthy’s husband among those killed and her son among the injured.
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Photo taken in Oslo by nrkbeta