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Bill Could Ease Restrictions on Semi-Automatic Magazines

By Hannah McCartney · June 19th, 2013 · City Desk

A new Ohio House Bill introduced on June 4 by State Rep. John Becker (R-Union Township) could, if passed, allow gun owners to purchase high-round magazines for semi-automatic weapons, removing language from the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) that currently restricts use of magazines exceeding 31 rounds for semi-automatic weapons. 

Specifically, the proposed bill would remove a portion of the definition of “automatic firearm” that currently qualifies semi-automatic firearms (operated by firing only once for each pull of the trigger) as automatic by law when used with a magazine holding greater than 31 rounds of ammunition.

Automatic firearms are subject to stricter permit regulations and purchasing standards under Ohio law.

Supporters of the bill say the current wording prevents them from purchasing high-capacity magazines, an issue Jim Irvine, Chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, says is mostly one of convenience for most gun owners. Opponents of the bill argue easing up the restrictions would make it easier for offenders to carry out violent shootings when large amounts of ammunition are more quickly accessible. 

Toby Hoover, executive director for the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, says that grouping together semi-automatic and automatic firearms using the current magazine restriction is a common-sense way to define them both as dangerous, unnecessary forms of firearms that simply shouldn’t be readily accessible to the average gun owner, even though it’s clear the two are disparate weapons that function differently. 

The bill has been assigned to the House’s Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security committee, where it currently awaits hearing.



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