Yesterday's mass shooting at an IHOP in Carson City, Nevada was the latest in the long line of attacks involving the use of high-capacity magazines. In addition to the multiple 30-round magazines, the shooter reportedly employed an AK-47 assault weapon.
The presence of high-capacity magazines was ignored by several media outlets, some not even mentioning the high number of bullets fired. But one witness' account that was widely covered provided insight about how assault weapons can make defensive intervention, armed or unarmed, impossible.
Gun advocates are always quick to take to the airwaves blaming gun free zones and suggest more guns could have prevented virtually any shooting. But like the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) this mass shooting wasn't in a gun free zone and an armed civilian was present but unable to prevent the shooting.
Local store owner Ralph Swagler considered intervening, but was deterred by the assault weapon wielded by the shooter. As reported by The Associated Press:
Ralph Swagler said he grabbed his own weapon, but said it was too late to stop the shooter, who charged into the IHOP through the front doors."
I wish I had shot at him when he was going in the IHOP," said Swagler, who owns Locals BBQ & Grill.
"But when he came at me, when somebody is pointing an automatic weapon at you -- you can't believe the firepower, the kind of rounds coming out of that weapon."
Promoting concealed carry of guns generally and particularly in places such as bars is a primary goal of the gun lobby. Their justification is that more guns would deter or enable intervention against criminals. But they also lobby strongly against prohibitions on assault weapons, such as AK-47s and their variants.
One can clearly see the NRA's goal of promoting easy access to assault weapons and concealed carry come into conflict as a legal assault weapon deterred civilian intervention.
Law enforcement is currently examining if the gun in question was fully automatic or semiautomatic. If Swagler was mistaken it was an understandable mistake.
Popular and low cost AK variant GP WASR-10
Norway mass murder Anders Behring Breivik obtained 10 high-capacity magazines from the United States. In America, high capacity magazines were used in the mass shooting at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Tucson and many others.