The Washington Post

House Democrat confuses her own gun-control proposal

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), one of the lead sponsors in the House of a ban on high-capacity magazines, got a little mixed up Tuesday on just what that would entail.

Speaking at a Denver Post forum, DeGette suggested that if the ban is instituted, high-capacity magazines would disappear eventually because they would be used up. In fact, such magazines can be reloaded.

“To your last question: What's the efficacy of banning these magazine clips? I will tell you, these are ammunition, they’re bullets. So the people who have those now, they’re going to shoot them," DeGette said. "And so if you ban them in the future, the number of these high-capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time, because the bullets will have been shot and there won’t be any more available.”

DeGette's comment was met by audible groans and laughter -- presumably from gun-rights supporters in the crowd.

DeGette's office told Post Politics that the congresswoman misspoke and meant to refer to high-capacity clips, which cannot be reloaded and are disposable. A spokeswoman emphasized that the congresswoman has been working on the issue for years.

“She simply misspoke in referring to ‘magazines,’ when she should have referred to ‘clips,’ which cannot be reused because they don’t have a feeding mechanism," spokeswoman Juliet Johnson said. "But quite frankly, this is just another example of opponents of common-sense gun violence prevention trying to manipulate the facts to distract from the critical issue of keeping our children safe and keeping killing machines out of the hands of disturbed individuals. It’s more political gamesmanship that stands in the way of responsible solutions.”

DeGette's Web site says the congresswoman, in her 16 years, "has led the charge on introducing bills on multiple occasions that would ban these high-capacity clips," and a release on the issue often uses the terms "clip" and "magazine" interchangeably.

(For more on the differences between magazines and clips, see here.)

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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