Fox News host Steve Doocy told 9-year-old competitive shooter Shyanne Roberts that "she would have to give up her favorite sport" as a result of a New Jersey legislative proposal to restrict high-capacity gun magazines. But Doocy's warning completely misrepresents the legislation in question, which is intended to minimize mass shootings and save lives.
The New Jersey legislature is currently considering a bill, A2006, which would reduce the legal ammunition magazine capacity from 15 rounds down to 10. The bill was motivated by mass shootings that involved high-capacity magazines including the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the 2011 mass shooting at a constituent meeting held by then-Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ).
According to The Star-Ledger, "Parents of Newtown victims have traveled to New Jersey twice to support the bill, saying many students escaped death because the shooter had to reload his magazine." One of the sponsors of the bill noted in an op-ed that 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green was killed by the 13th bullet fired during the Tucson shooting, which claimed five other lives. The shooter in that incident was only stopped when bystanders tackled him as he paused to reload after emptying a 33-round magazine into a crowd in just 16 seconds.
But by misrepresenting the legislation as a threat to competitive shooting on Fox & Friends, Doocy hid the bill's life-saving intentions. According to a report from gun violence prevention group Mayors Against Illegal Guns on mass shootings that occurred between January 2009 and September 2013, shootings involving assault weapons or high-capacity magazines are characterized by a significantly higher death and injury rate:
Doocy introduced the segment by playing footage of Roberts testifying against the bill and stating, "That is 9-year-old Shyanne Roberts, a competitive shooter testifying against a New Jersey state bill that would limit magazine capacities to 10 rounds; it would also mean she would have to give up her favorite sport."
But whatever impression Roberts has been given about the legislation by adults, the New Jersey magazine limitation proposal would not force her "to give up her favorite sport." According to news reports, Roberts -- who is extremely talented at shooting -- participates in competitions with an AR-15 assault weapon and a Glock 19 9 mm handgun.
Whether Roberts uses a .22 caliber or .223 caliber AR-15, 10-round magazines are widely available for both models. If Roberts' AR-15 is registered as a "grandfathered" weapon under New Jersey's assault weapons ban, then large capacity magazines used in some competitive shooting matches are exempt from New Jersey's magazine limiting law.
Roberts' Glock 19 pistol does come with a factory issued 15-round magazine which would run afoul of the new magazine limitation. However New Jersey law allows magazines to be modified to comply with current law, so long as the modification is permanent. To wit, Magblock sells a magazine part that changes a Glock 19's capacity from 15 to 10 rounds that is available for purchase for $5.50. Roberts could also change guns to the multitude of other 9 mm pistols that accept a 10-round or smaller magazine.
In general, states that have a 10-round limitation on magazine size -- including California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York -- all allow their residents to enjoy shooting sports.
Supporters of A2006 have also modified the bill's language to avoid unintended consequences on competitive and target shooting. The National Rifle Association and other critics of the legislation initially argued that the bill would create a de facto ban on .22 caliber rifles that use a 15-round tubular magazine that cannot be modified. In response, the bill was modified in committee on March 13 to specifically exempt such guns. Even after the amendment, conservative media critics of the bill are making now-false charges about the bill's consequences. Writing for the Washington Times on March 18, senior opinion editor Emily Miller, a frequent source of misinformation about gun violence, erroneously wrote that the "gun ban" bill "classifies .22-caliber tube-fed youth rifles as 'assault firearms.'"