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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 6, 2022 02:26 PM
From: Representative Kevin J. Boyle
To: All House members
Subject: Limiting the Capacity of Large Capacity Magazines
A large capacity magazine is an ammunition storage device used in any type of firearm that has an overall capacity of, or can be converted to accept a capacity of, at least 10 rounds. In some cases, large capacity ammunition magazines can hold over 100 rounds of ammunition. That is over 100 bullets able to be fired in rapid succession, one after another, without once having to stop to reload. While typically associated with machine guns or semiautomatic assault weapons, large capacity magazines can be used in nearly any semiautomatic firearm that supports an externally attached magazine. Due to their ability to hold so many rounds of ammunition, large capacity magazines significantly increase the amount of death and destruction that the automatic and semi-automatic firearms that utilize them can inflict.

Tragically, these magazines have a historical precedence of being used time and again in horrendous acts of violence committed in this country and within this state. A prominent example is their use in mass shootings, including those that occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Columbine High School in Colorado, in Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life Synagogue, and recently in Philadelphia at Roxborough High School. As many as two-thirds of mass shootings likely involve large capacity magazines. Mass shootings are far from the only threat posed by these pieces of military hardware as well, where from 2009 to 2013, firearms equipped with a large capacity magazine accounted for forty percent of our country’s law enforcement deaths.

My legislation is former House Bill 2621 of the 2021-2022 Legislative Session. It would prohibit the sale, offering and exposing for sale, use, purchase, possession, and control of a large capacity magazine – which is defined as an automatic ammunition feeding device capable of accepting more than 15 rounds of ammunition or 5 shotgun shells. This legislation would allow Pennsylvania to follow the lead of other states such as California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Colorado, Vermont, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, and New York that have enacted the life-saving measure of limiting the amount of ammunition allowed in firearm magazines.

It is my hope that this legislation will help prevent future mass casualties such as those we have seen in mass shootings, as well as make all of our communities safer overall. Please join me in supporting the addition of this important safety measure.

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Introduced as HB738