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Little surprise that popular Glock 19 was used in Arizona shooting

The extended magazine for a Glock 19 can hold 33 rounds and is twice the length of the standard 15-round magazine.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

The extended magazine for a Glock 19 can hold 33 rounds and is twice the length of the standard 15-round magazine.

TAMPA — Of course it was a Glock 19. Of course it had an extended magazine.

The semiautomatic handgun Jared Lee Loughner allegedly used in Tucson, Ariz., on Saturday to shoot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others can fire 33 bullets without being reloaded.

In 15 seconds. About the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday.

"I don't think anyone was surprised it was a Glock 19," says Scott Patrick, owner of Shoot Straight gun shop in Tampa. "That's our most popular gun. We sell about 30 a month."

Glock 19s are light, weighing about as much as a glass of water. They're affordable: around $500. Small enough to slide behind your belt or drop into a purse. Easy to load. Durable enough to fall from a three-story building and still fire. Without the pesky safety found on many handguns to slow you down.

For many owners, the biggest draw is the extended magazine. The standard Glock 19 clip can hold 15 bullets. For $60 more, you can add an 8-inch extension.

And double the ammunition.

• • •

This week, as gun enthusiasts learned that a Glock 19 had been used in the Arizona shooting, some started worrying about another ban. In 1994, Congress limited handgun magazines to 10 rounds. A decade later, lawmakers let the legislation expire.

Since then, magazines have gotten bigger and bigger: more bullets, less loading.

"I know it's early in the investigation … but apparently he used one of our most beloved firearms," someone wrote on glock.pro shortly after Saturday's shooting.

"The left will still try to use it against us," someone responded.

Afraid their favorite firearm might be repealed — or forced to fire fewer rounds — some people rushed to stock up on arms and ammo. The number of people across the country who sought background checks to buy a gun Monday ticked up about 5 percent compared with a year earlier. In Arizona alone, the checks jumped 60 percent.

• • •

At his sprawling store and shooting range near the Tampa fairgrounds, Patrick says he hasn't seen a rush on Glock 19s or ammo clips. He has sold five of the guns since Monday, about average. Owners of other area gun shops refused to cite their sales.

Some of Patrick's customers have "expressed concern" that new legislation might limit their choices, he says. But no one is putting out petitions or stockpiling arsenals. He tells people not to panic.

But he has noticed assault rifles and extended magazines are getting harder to find. Last week, he said, he could buy 200 at a time. Now, he can find only 30.

"Glock magazines have been scarce the last few months, anyway," he said. "But this week there has been a big drop in what's available for assault rifles. Other retailers are sucking up all the extended magazines, in case something happens."

Patrick says he isn't worried about another ban — or running out of Glocks or clips. He still has 50 of the extended magazines in stock.

He is more worried about "how to stop crazy people from buying guns."

"No one wants to be the guy who sold that guy the Glock."

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report, which includes information from Bloomberg News.

Little surprise that popular Glock 19 was used in Arizona shooting 01/13/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 14, 2011 11:39am]
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