The Hill has the story. It’s the magazine ban I think we’re going to have the toughest time with, because I see a lot of reasonable people on the center-right suggesting that maybe that’s reasonable, and we’ll have to give. Granted, I don’t think they are helping, but it’s out there and has to be dealt with. The arguments are thus:
- Criminals will have no difficulty obtaining magazines of any capacity on the black market. There are too many of them out there already, and it will have zero impact on crime or gun violence.
- I agree with John Richardson that these are not “high-capacity.” My Glock was designed to hold 15 rounds. That’s the standard capacity. What McCarthy and DeGette are proposing is a ban on all but reduced capacity magazines. I call it the magazine ban. “High-capacity,” is just allowing the anti-gun people to set the agenda with inflammatory terminology.
- Magazine size is not a critical factor in mass shootings. Most mass shooters plan their assault, bring multiple firearms, and have plenty of time for magazine changes. The shooter in Newtown had a full 20 minutes before the police response. In that amount of time, it matters little if you change a ten round magazine 6 times or a 30 round magazine twice. It would also encourage mass shooters to, at best, substitute deadlier weapons like shotguns.
- Nearly all pistols and rifles today contain more than 10 rounds, and they are overwhelmingly chosen for self defense. Why? Same reason police choose them. For someone being attacked, who doesn’t get to choose the time and manner of his act of self-defense, having more rounds in a magazine stacks the deck in the defenders favor. Magazine capacity is much less meaningful to attackers, who get to choose and plane when and where they attack. If we’re reduced to 10 rounds, I would carry a larger caliber pistol and a magazine change, whereas now I just carry the magazine in the pistol most of the time.
- There are too many magazines out there for meaningful regulation. They are not serial numbered or carefully tracked. The potential to land good people in jail is very high with restrictive laws.
A lot of people who are not shooters are treating this like it’s no big deal. Personally, it’s worse, I think, and affects more gun owners than a straight-up renewal of the federal assault weapons ban. If you communicate with lawmakers on this issue, and you should, feel free to use some of these arguments. They need to understand that magazines which hold more than 10 rounds are the norm these days, rather than the exception. When most people think “high-capacity” they think extended magazines like the Tucson nutjob used (which caused his gun to jam because they are unwieldy) and that the Aurora shooter used (which caused his gun to jam, because the drum mags for ARs are jam-o-matics).
We have a lot of work to do on the magazine issue. Most people, at this point, even pundits and elites, know the “assault weapons” issue is a crock of shit. The magazine issue is a different story.
UPDATE: Thanks to the reader who shared this piece by Massad Ayoob.