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After Aurora: Gun Control, One More Time

Police are pictured outside a movie theater where 12 people were killed and nearly 60 injured in a shooting in Aurora, Colo., on July 20.
Police are pictured outside a movie theater where 12 people were killed and nearly 60 injured in a shooting in Aurora, Colo., on July 20.Photograph by Ed Andrieski/AP Photo

The ritual has become sickeningly familiar. A madman opens fire in a crowded space. Innocent victims fall. Politicians put aside prepared remarks to talk about hugging children more tightly. Lawmakers debate irrelevant gun issues. Nothing happens.

This time, after the Aurora (Colo.) movie theater massacre, we’re going to hear a lot of jibber-jabber about what kind of gun the insane killer used—the local police chief has mentioned an AR-15 rifle, a shotgun, and two Glock pistols—and people who know anything about firearms will sadly shake their heads. That’s because the type of gun is a distraction. When it comes to weaponry and mass shootings, the issue to focus on is magazine capacity. And then there’s more bad news for gun-control advocates: As a matter of practical politics and Second Amendment reality, nothing useful will happen on magazine capacity.