The difference between a 'clip' and a 'magazine'
Ammunition clip (right)
The Kansas City Star
The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz recently drew jeers for talking about banning “high-magazine clips,” an amusing reminder that many in the media don’t know the difference between an ammo “clip” and a “magazine” — just as many are hot to ban assault weapons without a clear idea of what it is they want to prohibit.
A clip holds ammo a bit like those black, spring-steel binders used to hold fat reports.
The only weapon I know of that’s clip-fed is the old World War II M1 Garand, although there are probably more. You open the bolt and push a clip of eight rounds down into into a cavity. Then you try to get your thumb out of the way to keep it from being smooshed by the bolt.
A magazine is a box-like container open at the top that feeds the ammo as it’s fired, thanks to an internal spring.
Banning high-capacity magazines may or may not have merit, but it’s more likely to end up as another exercise in futility, given how widely available they are.
They’re banned in Washington D.C, but David Gregory of Meet the Press got one with no trouble, and created a flap when he waved it under the nose of the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre.
The main effect of a ban would probably result in high-capacity magazines migrating into the hands of criminal elements.
As for assault weapons, the problem is definition. If you’re for it, you’ve got to say with specificity what you’re talking about. Remember, the weapon used by the Sandy Hook shooter was a semi-automatic, magazine-fed rifle that was in full compliance with Connecticut’s assault-weapons ban.