Banning of High Capacity Magazines
In the wake of events in Tucson that left six dead, others wounded, and Congresswoman Giffords clinging to life, one of the usual debates has started making its way around the regular circles: Gun control.
After nearly every criminal mass-shooting, this comes up every time. It’s not so loud this time, though, as the ones usually screaming about gun laws are busy screaming about Sarah Palin, Tea Parties, and “violent rhetoric.” But its out there just the same, and to ignore it would be foolish on our part; while we are all distracted with apologizing for using “crosshairs” and fretting about political “targets,” anti-gun folks may be able to build support for additional useless regulations.
McCarthy has introduced a bill toward this end. Sebastian breaks it down, pointing out some of the inane portions of it. Frankly, to me that one looks like a vast overreach towards her (likely) ultimate goal of outright bans. He has several posts on that, so keep checking for more updates as they become available.
Even former Vice President Dick Cheney suggested that restricting high capacity magazines might be something we should think about. After all, who besides crazed killers need to fire more than a few shots at a time?
Here’s the thing: Who cares? While no number seems hard and fast as to what capacity they should be limited to, a common number seems to be 10. The problem is that many handguns out there today are made to hold more than 10 rounds, such as the Glock used in Arizona, which was made to hold 17 rounds. As high strength polymers have become almost normal for handgun frames and grips, magazine capacities have also risen with the need for thick, heavy steel sections being removed, thus allowing for a wider, ‘double-stacked’ magazine design, allowing more rounds to be in the same vertical space than stacked into a single column.
But rather than prattle on about firearms specifics, I thought I might point out a few things that anyone who leans towards civil libertarian might wish to consider.
Sure, if one is limited to the number of shots that could be fired repeatedly, it goes to reason that fewer people might be harmed or killed in the wake of a maniacal killer. Unless, of course, he has two guns. Or, perhaps, has several loaded magazines on him, and has practiced reloading. Very little amount of practice is needed to get reload times down to about 3 to 5 seconds from last shot of one magazine to first shot of the next. And, in the case of some aftermarket extended magazines, they might not function quite as well as ‘factory’ ones, for example, misfeeding, not dropping free, etc.
So, you might say, in light of those things, what harm would limiting them be? Who actually needs to carry more than, say, ten rounds at any given time? After all, most firearms enthusiasts emphasize accuracy, stopping power of one round over another, and reliability. Revolver die-hards even go as far to say that if you can’t do the job in six shots, then something is wrong. This is, however, misguided thinking.
Suppose there is an agreement on limiting magazine sizes. What number is good? Is 5 rounds enough for most circumstances? Is 10 rounds too many? I want to know just who, and by what criteria, sets that policy. And what happens when someone using a 10 round magazine goes off the deep end, and accurately places shots in a crowd killing eight people? Will we then have to adjust that limit down to 5, or less?
This same thinking can be applied to other areas in peoples lives. For example, President Obama once famously said that “at some point, I think you’ve made enough money.” Just who decides how much is enough? What happens after that?
The fact is that these sort of proposals would simply be a ‘foot in the door’ to removing firearms from perfectly normal, sane, law-abiding citizens. Once it’s accepted that ‘reasonable’ limits can be placed on the size of your magazines, it makes it easier in the future to restrict other things, such as the amount of ammunition you can purchase, or perhaps even the number of magazines you can own. Or even the number or types of currently-legal firearms themselves you are allowed to have.
And no, Micheal Moore: I don’t want guns because I’m “scared” of something. I don’t own guns because I’m a racist, or anything else. And I would venture to say that all but a tiny, likely statistically irrelevant number of gun owners fit into the same category as myself.
The world is a dangerous place. In all likelihood, I will never have to use any firearm, or anything else for that matter, to defend my own life or that of loved ones. But, in the event, however unlikely it may be, that something bad does happen, I simply want to have tools available to take care of the situation. And if by my thoughts and research that tool may include 17 rounds or more of 9mm ammunition, then that is what I want to have available to me.
Jazz Shaw also comments and expands on the Constitutional questions on this over at Hot Air.