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Newtown Parents: High-Capacity Magazines Are ‘Most Dangerous’ Part of An Assault Weapon

by | Apr 1, 2013 11:09am () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Town News, Newtown, Public Safety, State Capitol

Christine Stuart photo The families who lost their loved ones to bullets fired from one of the 30-round magazines the Newtown gunman used to kill their children, daughters, and spouses were forceful Monday about their desire to see them banned.

“We specifically want an up or down vote on the banning of these large-capacity magazines,” Nicole Hockley, the mother of Dylan, told reporters at a Capitol press conference Monday. “No grandfathering clause.”

Hockley and other parents joined in delivering the message just a few hours before rank-and-file lawmakers got their first glimpse of the bipartisan package of legislation. A vote could come as early as Wednesday, but legislative leaders first need to find out what they will be able to get passed. A ban on high-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 bullets has been one of the more controversial items up for discussion.

“We learned the way no other parent should learn that the most dangerous, dangerous part of an assault weapon is the magazine,” Hockley said.

The truth of the matter, which search warrants from state prosecutors last week confirmed, was that 154 bullets were fired in less than five minutes, killing 20 children and six educators.

Hockley and other family members said in the time it took the gunman to reload, 11 children escaped. That detail was not included in the documents from state prosecutors, but that was the understanding of family members.

“We ask ourselves every day, every minute, that if those magazines had held 10 rounds — forcing the shooter to reload at least six more times — would our children be alive today?” Hockley said.

William Sherlach, the husband of Mary Sherlach, the school psychologist who ran toward the sound of gunfire on Dec. 14, said he wonders what would have happened if the gunman was forced to reload 15 times with smaller magazines than the six times he reloaded the 30-round magazines.

He said lawmakers must ban even existing high-capacity magazines because if they don’t they’re “leaving a gaping loophole on what we believe is the most dangerous feature of an assault weapon.”

He said that by not closing that loophole, people will be able to purchase high-capacity magazines in other states and bring them back to Connecticut where individuals may claim they owned them before the ban went into effect.

He said the Sandy Hook parents and families want an “up or down vote on the banning of high-capacity magazines and the elimination of the grandfather clause.”

Mark and Jackie Barden, who lost their son, Daniel, were at the state Capitol last week speaking to lawmakers about the legislative package being negotiated. He said the banning of the high-capacity magazines is the last piece they “want to get across the finish line.”

Gun groups have argued that forcing them to give up their high-capacity magazines constitutes confiscation of property they purchased while it was legal.

Ron Pinciaro, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, has said that since the government would not be taking the magazines for public use, it would be a regulatory taking. He said there’s no need for the government to offer compensation since owners of this type of ammunition would be given an opportunity to sell it, destroy it, or turn it over to law enforcement.

Barden said he didn’t consider it to be confiscation.

Twenty-four family members wrote to lawmakers Monday asking them to ban high-capacity magazines.

Lawmakers will meet behind closed-doors later this afternoon to discuss the various proposals. When negotiations are completed, Sen. John McKinney, R-Fairfield said he believes Connecticut’s will be the most “comprehensive package” of gun legislation in the country.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has called for a ban on high-capacity magazines as well and reiterated his support for the measure Saturday.

“I think we should be banning the ownership of high-capacity magazines,” Malloy said.

McKinney, a Republican who represents Newtown, agrees.

“There are first-grade parents in Newtown whose kids were able to flee that school who believe their kids lives very well may have been spared because of the changing of magazines and the time it took to reload,” McKinney said last week.

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(17) Archived Comments

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 1, 2013  12:55pm

Mrs Hockley, first of all God Bless You and your family.

However you dont know if the kids left the room during a jam caused by a larger magazine or a magazine change.

Based on the planning this animal did, I’ll bet he was adept at magazine changes and it was the time to clear a jam that allowed the children to escape. Do the math please. He had an issue with his gun. 154 shots is less than three minutes and this went on for five. 

Yes I understand the logic that comes with larger magazines and more times to reload, and the concept of maybe we can save a few more lives. I understand that, trust me. However, I am with the group that wants to have zero lives lost and not less lives.

It seems like based on what the “not next Governor” McKinney is saying that there will be a magazine ban. If we find out that Mrs Lanza was trying to get her son into some state hospital or outpatient treatment and was denied will you go after these same legislators for their decisions that reduced the number of available beds that may have led to this, or will you just go after that inanimate non-thinking objects?

posted by: Nutmeg87 | April 1, 2013  1:20pm

The most dangerous part of any weapon is the person holding it!!!!!

Not an inanimate object…

posted by: dano860 | April 1, 2013  4:47pm

Nutmeg87, you took the words right out of my mind…
There are the 20 families that have suffered the heinous crime caused by a person in need of help. Help, his family apparently didn’t want him to receive.
The fact remains though, these families should have no more say or should carry anymore validity in their comments than the 20,000 or 200,000 or more families that don’t want to become criminals by virtue of enjoying their sport, hobby or pastime.
The criminals, the crazies they will never care about or abide by the laws. Making a 30 to 50 round magazine is easy, all you need is duct tape.
The making of semi-automatic firearms or large capacity magazines illegal will do nothing to prevent another such atrocity by a deranged person. Nancy Lanza was the problem here, her son should have NEVER been able to access those firearms, never! She knew his issues and they should have been locked up without him being able to get to them.

posted by: againstthis | April 1, 2013  5:16pm

y don’t they tell these families the truth. mag.cap. doesn’t matter.  yes 100 cap., but not 30-6.  fact is it is the ability of the shooter.  The weapons left on the table will surely do the same thing.  Fact is the bullet did the damage, the fact that he was able to get into a so called gun free zone.  the fact that background checks do not include anyone the said buyer lives with.  fact is he changed his mag. 6x and well one got away.  Fact is changing mag., when in the hand of a pro., only takes half a second.  I am not ok with 20 instead of 16, anyway.  Are you?

posted by: saramerica | April 1, 2013  5:55pm


Seriously Joe? Mrs. Lanza was getting over $200K a year in alimony and child support. If she *was* actually trying to get her son a psychiatric placement (which, given the fact that she was also giving him free access to firearms, is somewhat suspect) I don’t think she was worried about getting him into the state run facilities. She’d have called up Silver Hill or Four Winds or any of the other private facilities in the vicinity. This “inanimate non-thinking objects” argument is just ridiculous.

posted by: againstthis | April 1, 2013  5:56pm

why are they taking advantage of these families.  what are there 4 families where out of how many?  It was not the mag., yes if 100 i might agree.  ban anything over 30 and I believe the general public will agree.  They would do it for the children.  However when you go so low and you take what the public rightfully and safely owns, it is wrong.  If it had been a guarantee that no one would get hurt I am sure the support would be there.  However, professionals and those who have chosen to listen to facts know the mag. cap. and the weapon had nothing to do with it.  The bullet, the background check excluding the person said buyer lives with and the lack of surveillance at our schools allowed this to happen.  Even in Ohio, he walked past so many (could have been security) and into the cafeteria, where he shot 3.  Nothing except a metal detector and officers could have stopped that.  No one is suggesting we ban the hand gun.  So why ban more weapons here, it was not the weapon.  He would have done it with any gun.  Any of the 2200 left.  Mag. capacity theory was thrown out when i found out he changed his mag, what 6 times.  We know one child got away when he changed his mag., how do we know that.  How do we know this child was not just lucky.  As the lady in Tuscon was when she was able to grab the mag.  He didn’t use all 30 in Sandyhook.  He used 10-15 only and well, fact still remains.  20 is not better than 26.  So mag. cap. does not matter.  I say allow mags. 30 and under.  this does not touch your neighbors, your family or our handicapped and our woman living alone.

posted by: againstthis | April 1, 2013  5:58pm

and the bullet was the most dangerous part of the weapon that day.  Hollow point bullets are meant to tear apart the target.

posted by: sofaman | April 1, 2013  6:58pm

A near tragedy occurred in China the same day as Newtown. A mentally disturbed man attacked 20 children with a knife. While these children will carry that memory forever, they are all alive.

An assault weapon is something a mentally disturbed person should never have access to. There is no reason the mental health issue can’t be addressed the same time as the gun issue. This isn’t an ‘either / or’ problem. If gun zealots want to tackle the mental health issue in this country, then everyone would be behind them. But sadly, it’s become a smokescreen to avoid doing ANYTHING about the insanely loose gun laws this country suffers from.

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 1, 2013  8:05pm

Sara, gun magazines are inanimate objects. They can be made on 3d printers, they can be hidden in a bag the size of a sandwich bag, and they can be taped together. Very few people will register magazines. They may register a few for the range but if someone ever used an illegal magazine to protect their family from a home invasion there is no way the state will prosecute them.

Also her son was over 18 so she could not commit him without the state getting involved. 200k after taxes and livng expenses doesn’t leave much for paying for a bed in a private facility.

The issue is nothing should be voted on until we can stop speculating and have all the facts.

I do have one fact for you and if you don’t agree then please be specific on why. Nothing that has been leaked today as a proposal would have prevented sandy hook nor would it prevent a drug addict in the suburbs buying a gun for his dealer as payment.

posted by: ASTANVET | April 1, 2013  8:42pm

I would be all for this legislation if it addressed just once taking guns from criminals…  I for one would like to see the criminals who commit crime worry more about their future than I do about mine.

posted by: saramerica | April 2, 2013  1:28pm


If she was getting that much in alimony and child support, she presumably also had health insurance, which 20 year son could still be on, thanks to ACA which GOP legislators working so hard very to overturn. Trust me, I know about the cost of mental health care. I have dealt with these issues. On that income, with insurance, even with the copays, she could afford it. Or (shock, horror) she could spend less on guns and ammo and more on mental healthcare. Priorities. Choices. We all have to make them.

posted by: anuddaCTresident | April 2, 2013  2:08pm

Well said, Dano860 and Nutmeg87

posted by: Joebigjoe | April 2, 2013  2:15pm

Sara how do you know there were beds in those facilities and being that he was 20, wouldnt it take a legal proceeding to get him in there?

Recall all the rumors early on that he found out that she was trying to get him committed?

posted by: ASTANVET | April 2, 2013  3:32pm

you know sara - I don’t think Mrs. Lanza wanted to get shot in the face.  I don’t think she thought her son was able to do that… I don’t really know what she thought, but I am fairly confident she didn’t want to get shot in the face.  I remember a kid in highschool Slight build, very shy, socially inept, super smart, social outcast.  Should he have been put in a mental facility too?  Should we lock up all the veterans in case they might have PTSD?  what about those police?  should we take their guns because they may get PTSD too?  depression? You would strip peoples rights who have committed no crime (kinda like this proposed legislation) - again, if you want to go after crminals, be my guest - but I don’t think you know the difference between rights and privilages.

posted by: NoNonsense2013 | April 2, 2013  6:46pm

Yes, Joebigjoe, you said it—RUMORS. That’s what you’re going on?

posted by: ALD | April 2, 2013  7:29pm

I don’t own any guns and never plan to. I am not a member of the NRA nor ever plan to be so I have no gun axes to grind in this discussion.

But using Sara’s comment below:

“Priorities. Choices. We all have to make them.”

I then ask:

Do the choices and priorities of Adam Lanaz’s mother sound like the choices and priorities any clear thinking, sane person would have made?

Were the typical activities of Adam Lanza that we already know of, and his clearly demonstrated interest in this sort of crime, in any way typical of any normal, and sane person?

Would Adam Lanza’s mother not still pass any new background check we currently know of?

Would even the complete removal of all kinds of guns in our society prevent anyone with Adam’s Lanza’s ability, and determination to not find other even more horrific ways to carry out his perverted plans?

The bottom line to me is clear, you don’t solve problems if you don’t deal with the root causes. In this case like so many other examples of these sort of crimes the gun is at best, only the last part of the problem. 

Yes, I understand, the guns are the easy target for our media focused politicians, but then as Sara says, we all have our priorities. 

I have no idea how any clear thinking person can in anyway feel what are being called the strongest gun control laws in the country are in any way going to make any of us one bit safer.  But if it gets our politicians their time in front of the TV cameras beating their chests for us, at least they must feel their jobs are safer.

There is much more work to do on this issue than what they seem only concerned about.

posted by: JH_1 | April 3, 2013  7:34am

ALD - Well said.  This is exactly what gun owners have been saying all along.

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