Alleged gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, used a Glock 19 pistol and ammunition magazine to fire 30 bullets into a crowd at a Tucson, Arizona grocery store. The shooting spree claimed six lives and critically wounded 14 others, including Rep.Giffords (D-AZ). Loughner’s Glock 19 pistol, is the same semiautomatic weapon used by gunman, , in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded many others in two separate attacks, before taking his own life.
The Glock 19 uses a magazine with a standard capacity of 15 rounds. The pistol however, is also compatible with factory magazines from the Glock 17 and Glock 18, with available capacities of 17, 19, and 33 rounds. Loughner reportedly used the largest magazine available - a high-capacity 33 round magazine.
In addition to being used as a conventional service weapon, the Glock 19 is suitable for concealed carry or as a backup weapon, according to the weapon’s manufacturer. The gun is distributed worldwide among security service forces, including many USAF pilots. The Violence Policy Center (VPC) has been quick to point out however, that the Glock 19 and similar semiautomatic firearms with high-capacity magazines have been used in most major mass shootings in the United States in the past 30 years.
The recent tragic shooting in Arizona has sparked renewed debate on gun control in the U.S. The VPC is calling on Congress to pass a new law banning the manufacture and sale of high-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. A similar ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines was in place for a decade as part of the now-expired federal assault weapons ban.
"Simply put, high-capacity ammunition magazines make mass shootings possible by allowing shooters to fire multiple rounds very quickly without reloading. An effective ban on high-capacity magazines will help prevent tragedies like the one that claimed six lives and wounded numerous others last Saturday," said Kristen Rand, VPC legislative director. "We can save lives in the future with this simple, effective proposal."
The federal Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits the mentally ill from carrying firearms. Despite evidence that he was unstable, Loughner was never legally declared mentally ill. As a result, his name would not be included in the federal background check database.