Special Report

States With High-Capacity Magazine Bans

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Gun control is one of the most divisive political issues in the United States. And in recent years, partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill has precluded any meaningful reform. In the absence of federal legislation, lawmakers in states across the country have implemented measures aimed at reducing the scourge of gun violence to different effect. 

State-level laws, designed to keep firearms out of the wrong hands and reduce the likelihood of mass shootings, include strengthened background check regulations and assault-style weapons bans. (Here is a look at the states that have banned assault weapons.)

Some states have gone even further, enacting laws that are perhaps not as prominent in the public discourse but serve a similar purpose. One such law is restrictions on high-capacity magazines. 

High-capacity, or large-capacity, magazines allow a shooter to fire more rounds before having to stop and reload. In an active-shooter situation, this creates fewer opportunities for victims to escape or for law enforcement to intervene. According to the Giffords Law Center, a gun violence prevention group, high-capacity magazines were used in each of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in the last decade. 

Reviewing data compiled by the Giffords Law Center, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states that have imposed restrictions on high-capacity magazines. Washington D.C. was also included in our analysis. 

Of the 15 jurisdictions on this list, only two do not explicitly ban possession of a high-capacity magazine. In these two states – Maryland and Washington – restrictions on high-capacity magazines generally apply only to their manufacture, sale, and distribution.

In many more states on this list, residents who owned high-capacity magazines before bans went into effect are still permitted to possess them, though in some cases this requires a special permit or registration. (Here is a look at every state’s grade on gun laws.)

It is important to note that there is no universally accepted definition of exactly what constitutes a high-capacity magazine. In most states on this list, only those capable of holding over 10 rounds of ammunition qualify. Other states, however, set a higher threshold of 15 or even 17.

Click here to see the states with the high-capacity magazine bans.

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California
> Legal magazine capacity limit: 10 rounds for all firearms
> Restrictions apply to: Manufacture, importation, keeping for sale, offering and exposing for sale, giving, lending, and possession
> Personal ownership of legacy high-capacity magazines: Allowed until a new, more restrictive, law goes into effect

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Colorado
> Legal magazine capacity limit: 15 rounds for all firearms
> Restrictions apply to: Sale, transfer, and possession
> Personal ownership of legacy high-capacity magazines: Allowed – previously owned high-capacity magazines are exempt from ban

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Connecticut
> Legal magazine capacity limit: 10 rounds for all firearms
> Restrictions apply to: Distribution, importation, keeping for sale, offering and exposing for sale, purchase, and possession
> Personal ownership of legacy high-capacity magazines: Allowed, but must be registered

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Delaware
> Legal magazine capacity limit: 17 rounds for all firearms
> Restrictions apply to: Manufacture, sale, purchase, receipt, transfer, or possession
> Personal ownership of legacy high-capacity magazines: Not allowed – but concealed carry permit holders are exempt

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Washington D.C.
> Legal magazine capacity limit: 10 rounds for all firearms
> Restrictions apply to: Possession, sale and other transfer
> Personal ownership of legacy high-capacity magazines: Not allowed

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Hawaii
> Legal magazine capacity limit: 10 rounds rounds for handguns only
> Restrictions apply to: Manufacture, possession, sale, barter, trade, gift, transfer, and acquisition
> Personal ownership of legacy high-capacity magazines: Not allowed

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Illinois
> Legal magazine capacity limit: 10 rounds for long guns; 15 rounds for handguns
> Restrictions apply to: Manufacture, sale, delivery, purchase, or causing another to manufacture, sell, or deliver, and possession
> Personal ownership of legacy high-capacity magazines: Allowed – previously owned or inherited high-capacity magazines are exempt from ban, but their use is limited to specific circumstances and locations

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Maryland
> Legal magazine capacity limit: 10 rounds for all firearms
> Restrictions apply to: Manufacture, sale, offering for sale, purchase, receipt, and transfer
> Personal ownership of legacy high-capacity magazines: Allowed – there is no ban on possession

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Massachusetts
> Legal magazine capacity limit: 10 rounds for all firearms
> Restrictions apply to: Sale, offering for sale, transfer, and possession
> Personal ownership of legacy high-capacity magazines: Allowed – previously owned high-capacity magazines are exempt from ban

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New Jersey
> Legal magazine capacity limit: 10 rounds for all firearms
> Restrictions apply to: Manufacture, transportation, shipment, sale, disposal, and possession
> Personal ownership of legacy high-capacity magazines: Not allowed – unless capable of holding 11-15 rounds and registered before July 13, 2019

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New York
> Legal magazine capacity limit: 10 rounds for all firearms
> Restrictions apply to: Manufacture, transportation, disposal, and possession
> Personal ownership of legacy high-capacity magazines: Not allowed

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Oregon
> Legal magazine capacity limit: 10 rounds for all firearms
> Restrictions apply to: Manufacture, sale, transfer, importation, use, possession, and purchase
> Personal ownership of legacy high-capacity magazines: Allowed – previously owned or inherited high-capacity magazines are exempt from ban, but their use is limited to specific circumstances and locations

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Rhode Island
> Legal magazine capacity limit: 10 rounds for all firearms
> Restrictions apply to: Manufacture, sale, offer to sell, transfer, purchase, possession, and have under one’s control
> Personal ownership of legacy high-capacity magazines: Not allowed

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Vermont
> Legal magazine capacity limit: 10 rounds for long guns; 15 rounds for handguns rounds for All Firearms
> Restrictions apply to: Manufacture, sale, offering for sale, purchase, receipt, transfer, and possession
> Personal ownership of legacy high-capacity magazines: Allowed – previously owned high-capacity magazines are exempt from ban

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Washington
> Legal magazine capacity limit: 10 rounds for all firearms
> Restrictions apply to: Manufacture, import, distribution, and sale
> Personal ownership of legacy high-capacity magazines: Allowed – there is no ban on possession

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