In my view, it’s time to stop obsessing over the nebulous term “assault weapon,” as well as the cosmetic features that are employed to define exactly what type of firearm might qualify as such a weapon. All too often, proposals seeking to regulate or ban “assault weapons” focus on cosmetic characteristics, such as the existence of flash suppressors, pistol grips, bayonet lugs, external magazines or overall “military styling.” These add-ons and designs do not meaningfully impact the firearm’s functionality or how potentially deadly the firearm might be. …
There is one functional feature of many so-called “assault weapons” that, if regulated, could substantially reduce injuries and fatalities during mass-shooting situations — high-capacity magazines. Unlike regulating cosmetic features such as flash suppressors, a ban on high-capacity magazines would be a functionally meaningful step to reduce the potential damage that a firearm can cause in a mass-shooting scenario.
There is no legitimate sporting or self-defense need for someone with proper marksmanship training to possess a 10-plus-round magazine for his or her firearm of choice. Moving to create a regulatory environment where the possession, sale and manufacture of such magazines could be legally phased out over time would be a substantial advancement from a harm-reduction standpoint. Such a move could include a multi-year plan where low-capacity magazines would be made widely available to law-abiding gun owners before anything was banned outright.
— Mat Gendle in To Reduce Gun Violence, Focus On Function Instead Of Form