There’s a growing movement in the gun-control community that wants to see other states follow the lead of New York, California, Connecticut, among others, and ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
The logic behind the argument is that banning 10-plus round magazines will save lives, potentially taking the “mass” out of “mass shooter.”
Unfortunately, advocates of this policy lack the knowledge and reason to see why prohibiting law-abiding citizens from possessing these commonly owned and widely popular magazines would do nothing to curb gun-related violence or prevent mass shootings.
So, in an effort to educate these folks, here are five irrefutable reasons why banning so-called “high-capacity” magazines makes absolutely zero sense:
There are millions and millions of 10-plus round magazines currently in circulation. Suppose a ban went into effect. Short of going door-to-door and rounding up all these of magazines, they would still be readily available to criminals and sociopaths via theft, the black market or friends, family who lawfully possess them.
So, unless the government is willing to confiscate the magazines now in the hands of law-abiding gun owners, banning them will not have an effect.
But this is not my argument, but the one of Greg Ridgeway, the Deputy Director of the National Institute of Justice, an independent research arm of the Department of Justice.
In his “Summary of Select Firearm Violence Prevention Strategies,” published on Jan. 4, 2013, Ridgeway wrote the following:
The 1994 ban on large capacity magazines had limited effectiveness because 1) Large capacity clips are a durable good 2) There were an estimated 25 million guns with large capacity magazines in 1995 3) The 1994 law exempted magazines manufactured before 1994 so that the importation of large capacity magazines manufactured overseas before 1994 continued through the ban 4) while the price of the clips increased dramatically (80 percent during the ban) they were not unaffordable. A 2004 study of the 1994 law found: “because the ban has not yet reduced the use of [large capacity magazines] in crime, we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence.” The 1994 ban essentially did little to affect the supply of large capacity magazines.
In order to have an impact, large capacity magazine regulation needs to sharply curtail their availability to include restrictions on importation, manufacture, sale, and possession. An exemption for previously owned magazines would nearly eliminate any impact. The program would need to be coupled with an extensive buyback of existing large capacity magazines. With an exemption the impact of the restrictions would only be felt when the magazines degrade or when they no longer are compatible with guns in circulation. This would take decades to realize.
2. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s slippery slope
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill last week that would have lowered the state’s magazine capacity limit from 15 rounds down to 10.
Following the veto, Christie came under fire from gun-control advocates for nixing the bill, specifically from the family of one of the first graders fatally wounded during the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
In responding to the criticism, the Republican governor challenged the logic of their argument.
“Why 10? Why not 6? Why not 2? Why not 1? Why not zero? Why not just ban guns completely?” said a visibly passionated Christie,”The logical conclusion of their argument is that you get to zero eventually.”
Indeed. If it’s the inanimate object that is the causal force behind the rampage, why not just ban them altogether. But while we’re at it, we mine as well ban rope, hammers, all cutlery, cars, alcohol, among the millions of other objects people use to perpetrate violence.
3. Multiple guns
In hearing the arguments for banning so-called “high-capacity magazines,” one of the recurring themes is that the ban has the potential to take the “mass” out of “mass shooter.”
While it’s true that mass shooters have equipped themselves with magazines holding more than 10 rounds, it’s also true that many have multiple firearms with them, revealing that they are prepared to drop one weapon and grab another should the firearm malfunction or should they face resistance.
Elliot Rodger, the deranged Isla Vista spree killer, wrote about this in his manifesto, saying, “First, I needed to buy a third handgun, just in case one of them jams.”
Mass shooters may be crazy, but some of them aren’t stupid. Ban 10-plus round magazines, and they can just carry multiple firearms.
4. The argument for the ban is the argument against the ban
Fact: Good guys use guns to stop bad guys more often than bad guys use guns to victimize good guys.
According to a 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Defensive uses of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed. Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.”
If one is willing to accept this fact, then why would one want to hinder one’s ability to protect oneself, one’s family or one’s property?
If a mass shooter is more deadly with a 10-plus round magazine, then by the same logic a good guy with a gun protecting his family from multiple home invaders is more deadly and better equipped to eliminate the threat.
Thankfully, there are more good guys in the world than bad guys. Ergo, why prohibit an accessory that has the capacity [forgive the pun] to save lives?
This is an argument that gun-control advocate are unwilling to acknowledge, mainly because they view firearms as only a force for evil in the world. They rarely acknowledge that guns are more often than not a means to help good guys keep evil in check.
Banning “high-capacity” magazines will only mar the self-defense postures of law-abiding citizens. It will not, in any way, stop bad people from doing bad things.
5. Easy to produce
A plastic box and some springs, that’s really all a magazine is. Given this, anyone with half a brain can assemble one or at least take an existing one and modify it so that it holds more ammunition.
Not only that, 3D printers have made the manufacturing of “high-capacity” magazines a household enterprise (see video):
At the end of the day, the genie is out of the bottle when it comes to 10-plus round magazines (and firearms for that matter). Criminals know they exist. They know they’re widely available. And they know they’re relatively easy to produce with today’s technology.
Congress or state legislatures can enact whatever bans they want, but they can’t put that genie back in the bottle.