We should ban magazines over X number of shots!
I’ve seen this one pop up a lot. It sounds good to the ear and really satisfies that we’ve got to do something need. It sounds simple. Bad guys shoot a lot of people in a mass shooting. So if he has magazines that hold fewer rounds, ergo then he’ll not be able to shoot as many people.
Wrong. And I’ll break it down, first why my side wants more rounds in our gun, second why tactically it doesn’t really stop the problem, and third, why stopping them is a logistical impossibility.
First off, why do gun owners want magazines that hold more rounds? Because sometimes you miss. Because usually—contrary to the movies—you have to hit an opponent multiple times in order to make them stop. Because sometimes you may have multiple assailants. We don’t have more rounds in the magazine so we can shoot more, we have more rounds in the magazine so we are forced to manipulate our gun less if we have to shoot more.
The last assault weapons ban capped capacities at ten rounds. You quickly realize ten rounds sucks when you take a wound ballistics class like I have and go over case after case after case after case of enraged, drug addled, prison hardened, perpetrators who soaked up five, seven, nine, even fifteen bullets and still walked under their own power to the ambulance. That isn’t uncommon at all. Legally, you can shoot them until they cease to be a threat, and keep in mind that what normally causes a person to stop is loss of blood pressure, so I used to tell my students that anybody worth
shooting once was worth shooting five or seven times. You shoot them until they leave you alone.
Also, you’re going to miss. It is going to happen. If you can shoot pretty little groups at the range, those groups are going to expand dramatically under the stress and adrenalin. The more you train, the better you will do, but you can still may miss, or the bad guy may end up hiding behind something which your bullets don’t penetrate. Nobody has ever survived a gunfight and then said afterwards, “Darn, I wish I hadn’t brought all that extra ammo.”
So having more rounds in the gun is a good thing for self-defense use.
Now tactically, let’s say a mass shooter is on a rampage in a school. Unless his brain has turned to mush and he’s a complete idiot, he’s not going to walk up right next to you while he reloads anyway. Unlike the CCW holder who gets attacked and has to defend himself in whatever crappy situation he finds himself in, the mass shooter is the aggressor. He’s picked the engagement range. They are cowards who are murdering running and hiding children, but don’t for a second make the mistake of thinking they are dumb. Many of these scumbags are actually very intelligent. They’re just broken and evil.
In the cases that I’m aware of where the shooter had guns that held fewer rounds they just positioned themselves back a bit while firing or they brought more guns, and simply switched guns and kept on shooting, and then reloaded before they moved to the next planned firing position. Unless you are a fumble fingered idiot, anybody who practices in front of a mirror a few dozen times can get to where they can insert a new magazine into a gun in a few seconds.
A good friend of mine (who happens to be a very reasonable democrat) was very hung up on this, sure that he would be able to take advantage of the time in which it took for the bad guy to reload his gun. That’s a bad assumption, and here’s yet another article that addresses that sort of misconception that I wrote several years ago which has sort of made the rounds on firearm’s forums. So that’s awesome if it happens, but good luck with that.
Finally, let’s look at the logistical ramifications of another magazine ban. The AWB banned the production of all magazines over ten rounds except those marked for military or law enforcement use, and it was a felony to possess those.
Over the ten years of the ban, we never ran out. Not even close. Magazines are cheap and basic. Most of them are pieces of sheet metal with some wire. That’s it. Magazines are considered disposable so most gun people accumulate a ton of them. All it did was make magazines more expensive, ticked off law abiding citizens, and didn’t so much as inconvenience a single criminal.
Meanwhile, bad guys didn’t run out either. And if they did, like I said, they are cheap and basic, so you just get or make more. If you can cook meth, you can make a functioning magazine. My old company designed a rifle magazine once, and I’m no engineer. I paid a CAD guy, spent $20,000 and churned out several thousand 20 round Saiga .308 mags. This could’ve been done out of my garage.
Ten years. No difference. Meanwhile, we had bad guys turning up all the time committing crimes, and guess what was marked on the mags found in their guns? MILITARY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT USE ONLY. Because once again, if you’re already breaking a bunch of laws, they can only hang you once. Criminals simply don’t care.