Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To save lives, shrink gun magazines

I found an exceptionally bad article about gun control at the Washington Post.

Let's take a look (his writing is italicized, mine is not):

To save lives, shrink gun magazines
by Jason Ross

With the White House poised to announce gun restrictions, many are wondering about the possibilities. Banning assault-style weapons is a no-brainer for many Americans. The argument practically makes itself: Assault? No, thank you!

Do you see why the anti gun people invented the term "assault weapon"?

Which of these questions is more likely to get the answer anti-gun people want:
  1. Do you want to ban "assault weapons"?
  2. Do you want to ban deer rifles and duck guns?
The fine writer Philip Caputo, a Vietnam veteran who was shot by an AK-47 while reporting in Lebanon, attested in The Post last month: “I am intimately familiar with what these weapons are designed to do, and that is to kill people.” 

The gun that wounded that guy was designed to kill people, but it didn't.  In any case let's compare his stats to mine:

guns bad: 0 killed, 1 wounded (P. Caputo)
guns good: 734 lived saved in U.S. since 8/30/11

Indeed. But AK-47s and AR-15s are hardly alone in that regard. The technology of firearms owes its existence to man’s desire to kill other men. For many years, combat guns and hunting guns were one and the same. 

...and still are, for the most part.  Hunting weapons have followed the history of the weapons of war.  Since 1934 however, civilians have not been allowed to buy the fully automatic weapons that our military uses.

That changed after World War II with the creation of the assault rifle. But the breakthrough innovation of these guns — their use of medium-powered cartridges — actually makes them less lethal than many other rifles. In fact, their civilian variants typically bear just one indisputably sinister element: high-capacity magazines. 

Look at his link, read it and ask yourself, "what is an 'assault rifle'? What is its definition?  The article gives what it thinks is the first "assault rifle."  But how is it different from any similar gun, for purposes of banning?

"indisputably sinister"  I don't know about that.  If anything is indisputable, then its the fact that having the government ban some, or any guns, is tyranny.

A more aggressive approach is also gaining steam among the left: banning all semiautomatic weapons, the large group to which assault-style rifles belong. This century-old technology allows guns to be cocked only once, thereafter firing a single shot for every pull of the trigger. Is such rapid-fire capability too great to allow in civilian hands? Perhaps. But, then, what should we do about manually actuated weapons that shoot almost as fast? Remington offers a black, pump-action .223-caliber rifle to police departments. Anyone looking at it — or being shot at by it — could be excused for mistaking it for an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. 

There are two options when considering banning all semi automatics.
  1. Grandfather those already owned past the law (those that already exist will stay legal)
  2. Ban all ownership
The problem with #1 is: If we already have several tens of millions (at least) semi automatics, then what would banning future production do? Guns last indefinitely.

The problem with #2 is that many people may keep their banned guns.  The U.S. already has a higher percentage of its population behind bars than any other country, what good will it do to create more criminals out of currently law abiding citizens?

The difference in the firing rate between a pump and a semi-automatic is negligible.  Therefore, a criminal can use a different gun, with essentially the same firepower, and still own a legal gun.  So what good is a semi-automatic ban?

All of these guns fire one round each time the trigger is pulled.

Unfortunately, by targeting guns’ form rather than their function, the efficacy of type-specific gun bans is questionable. The enforcement prospects, though, are downright frightening. There are probably at least 3 million assault-style weapons in American hands. As for semiautomatics in general — shotguns, rifles, pistols — the number is many times that. Buying them back would cost billions. Seizing them would provoke violent clashes as the “Come and take it” crowd lived out its wildest fantasies. 

"Seizing them would provoke violent clashes as the “Come and take it” crowd lived out its wildest fantasies."


I propose that anyone who supports gun control be personally responsible for confiscating any banned gun from their neighbors.

The country needs a solution that limits the killing power of civilian weapons across the board — regardless of action type — while keeping enforcement costs and social unrest to a minimum. Luckily, we already have it: magazine control. 
In the "probably useless" realm is a ban on ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds, which was part of the 1994 assault weapons ban. A mass shooter can overcome the restriction by carrying multiple magazines or multiple guns—as many of them do anyway. The notion that an attacker can be subdued when he stops to reload works better in movies than in real life, where it is virtually unknown.

The magazine is the part of the gun that holds the cartridges. The standard magazine for a 9mm semiautomatic handgun holds 17 rounds. Assault-weapon magazines typically carry 30. Those magazines drop out at the press of a button, to be replaced by fresh ones. 

I like how he writes: "The standard magazine for a 9mm semiautomatic handgun" as if he knew what that meant.

If there is such thing as a "standard magazine for a semi automatic handgun," then it is known as a Colt 1911.

Why do you suppose he picked his idea of a standard 9mm handgun rather than a standard semiautomatic handgun?  My guess is that he is armed with the information from a 5min google search.

BTW, some magazines are removed from the gun by a button and some by use of a lever.

Why would anyone care that "Those magazines drop out at the press of a button,"?  My guess remains: he has a small amount of information and he wants to show it off.

Let’s replace them with smaller ones. Lower-capacity magazines will fundamentally transform the character of these guns. Put a five-round magazine in an AR-15 and you no longer have an assault-style weapon. You have the world’s ugliest varmint rifle. A Glock becomes a plastic six-shooter, capable of holding a burglar at bay but not capable of a Virginia Tech-style rampage
"You have the world’s ugliest varmint rifle."  For some reason, he sure wants to show that he has a very small amount of gun knowledge.

"A Glock becomes a plastic six-shooter" Glocks aren't made out of plastic.  Even if a few parts are, then parts that do the work (the barrel, etc) are made out of metal.  He has a small amount of knowledge and he wants to show it off.

"...but not capable of a Virginia Tech-style rampage." 

"At Virginia Tech in 2007, Seung-Hui Cho once again showed the futility of regulating magazine capacity when he carried nineteen ten- and fifteen-round magazines in his backpack as part of a carefully planned massacre."  - The Truth About Assault Weapons

So he thinks he knows what is best to hold off a burglar, but does not know anything about his own example.

Most hunting rifles and shotguns would be unaffected, as they typically hold five rounds or fewer. Some existing guns with firmly attached magazines exceeding the limit could be exempted without creating a loophole for new guns. Others would need to be modified by gunsmiths to remain legal. 

"Most hunting rifles and shotguns would be unaffected"  How does he know that?

How nice of him to say, "Go get your gun 'fixed' or go to jail."  That's lots better than just banning all guns outright.

The federal assault-weapons ban passed in the 1990s capped the magazines of some guns but not others — an inevitable result of focusing on gun types rather than gun capabilities. The poor results gave Congress cover to let the law expire in 2004. Today, just six states limit magazines in some way. 

He admits that the last ban did nothing and yet wants to try again.  Maybe we should admire his dedication...before seeing if he wants to personally take our guns.

He doesn't say, and his link doesn't say which those 6 states are.  My guess is Illinois is one of them.  What's Chicago's murder count up to so far this year?  The link does say 6 states and D.C.  Washington D.C. does have the highest murder rate per capita in the country.

Perhaps: magazine size limits = more murders?

The politics of passing such a law are uncertain. What’s clear is that a limit on magazine capacity undercuts the hardest punch of the pro-gun side — “They’re taking away your guns!” — and leaves most hunters unmolested. Can New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) say the same about his proposal to ban assault weapons

He admits that some guns will be banned, but says  banning only some guns isn't banning guns.

And he admits that the new New York gun ban won't be effictive.

In fact, the biggest threat to magazine control might be from my allies in this fight: liberals. Few of my Wilco-listening brethren own guns. Many don’t understand how they work, and some actively loathe them. Will they see magazine control as a half-measure to be spurned? Or will they realize that the most effective assault-weapons law might be the one that melts down a grand total of zero assault weapons?

According to the government how effective was the last magazine band?

2004 Department of Justice study

"[I]t is not clear how often the outcomes of gun attacks depend on the ability of offenders to fire more than ten shots (the current magazine capacity limit) without reloading."

That's what the government said.  When he says "most effective" what is he basing that on?

According to Senator Feinstein, so-called assault weapons have been used in 385 murders since the AWB expired in 2004, or about 48 murders per year.

But there were 8,583 total murders with guns in the United States in 2011, meaning so-called assault weapons were used 0.6% of the time.

This represents a decrease in murders from so-called assault weapons compared to the decade when the AWB was in effect, even though such weapons are more common today.

Further illustrating the small role so-called assault weapons play in crime, FBI data shows that 323 murders were committed with rifles of any kind in 2011. In comparison, 496 murders were commited with hammers and clubs, and 1,694 murders were perpetrated with knives.
- The Truth about Assault Weapons
Bring on the hammer/club/knife bans.


  1. Once again,outstanding perspective and retort.
    Well done

  2. Great beat ! I wish to apprentice even as you amend your web site,
    how can i subscribe for a weblog website?

    The account aided me a appropriate deal. I have been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered vivid clear idea

    Review my blog post; Klimatyzacja Legnica