On December 17, 2012, just days after the gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, a guest opinion piece in the Southwest Daily News entitled “In the wake of Newtown massacre, it’s time to act,” was published by Keith Hoven, CEO of Southcoast Health where he states his support for common-sense gun safety reform:
“Weapons like those used in Newtown and in so many other killing sprees have no purpose but to murder men, women and children. Weapons that hold 30, 50 or 100 rounds? All you really need to know is this: One of the weapons that killed the children in Sandy Hook School is described as a semi-automatic version of a military grade weapon similar to those our troops carry in combat in Afghanistan. What is a weapon like that doing in suburban Connecticut or in any of our communities?”
A Colossal Flip-Flop
Fast forward to November 2021, when Rochester, Massachusetts police charge Hovan with possessing 83 illegal high capacity magazines, including a 100-round drum. The discovery of the magazines occured while police were investigating a domestic disturbance incident that resulted in Hovan’s arrest; the charge was later dismissed when Hovan’s wife refused to testify.
The question of how this man ended up with an arsenal of over 50 firearms (most “high-end, high-quality firearms,” according to Rochester Police Officer Sgt. Nathan Valente), and 19,514 rounds of ammunition, in addition to the illegal magazines will most likely go unanswered.
One things is crystal clear: when a shooter uses a High Capacity Magazine and/or an Assault Weapon victim counts skyrocket.
Incidents and Casualties Continue to Escalate
Since Hovan’s op-ed in 2012 there have been scores of mass shootings that have included High Capacity Magazines (HCM) and/or Assault Weapons (AW).
Unfortunately there is no generally accepted definition of what constitutes a “mass shooting.” Regardless of the criteria used to count these horrific incidents, in the final analysis the fact remains that the quickest and easiest way to kill a lot of people at one time is to use High Capacity Magazines.
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, from 2009 to 2021 there have been 267 mass shootings in the U.S. resulting in 1499 people killed and 977 wounded by guns. (In this analysis a mass shooting was defined as one that included at least four people killed):
- 18.7% of the incidents included HCM and/or AW (50 incidents)
- 51.3% of the total number of people shot were during one of the 50 incidents that had a confirmed use of HCM and/or AW
In the Everytown analysis 13 out of the 15 deadliest mass shootings from 2009 to 2021 have included high capacity magazines and/or assault weapons.