As more information continues to be released about the weapons employed by the mass shooter in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday night, in which almost 60 people died and over 500 were wounded, we took note of one of the first photos released of one of the high-powered semiautomatic rifles modified to inflict rapid-fire destruction from 400 yards away:
Inserted into the weapon, and also lying on the floor next to it, are high-capacity AR-15 magazines that we do believe were manufactured by Magpul Industries:
Why is this detail in the flood of news about the worst mass shooting in American history worth noting? That’s because in 2013, then-Colorado based Magpul declared its intention to leave the state following the passage of gun safety legislation that, among other things, limited the capacity of magazines sold in the state to 15 rounds. The limitation on capacity of magazines sold retail in the state didn’t affect their manufacture, of course, but Magpul regarded any such limit as an unacceptable infringement on the Second Amendment rights of Coloradans. It came out that Magpul had in truth been shopping for incentive deals from other states a year before the gun bills were ever proposed, and was most likely playing the people of Colorado like fiddles. Nonetheless, it’s an article of faith among gun-rights zealots in this state that Magpul was “driven out.”
In November of 2013, it also emerged with the final report on the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that Magpul PMAG magazines were used in that shooting to kill 20 six and seven year old kids and six teachers and staff members. That detail wasn’t known when the debate over Colorado magazine limit law took place the previous spring–but for Democratic legislators who sacrificed their careers to pass these laws, it was a potent reminder of why their action was so important. In legislative testimony in subsequent years on perennial legislation to repeal the magazine limit, the sister of one of the teachers killed at Newtown, Jane Dougherty, tells the story of how the shooter’s pause to reload his weapon gave children a chance to get away.
Now we have another moment in which a Magpul product fulfilled its designed purpose according to specifications–and to horrifying effect. As Colorado Senate Democrats said in March of 2013:
— Colorado Senate Dems (@COSenDem) March 19, 2013
For ourselves, we will not lose a wink of sleep knowing that the manufacturer of the high-capacity magazines used in both the Newtown and now Las Vegas mass murders is no longer located in Colorado.
In fact, we will sleep better.