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Old February 2, 2013, 12:46 PM   #1
Ralgha
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How's this argument against magazine capacity limits?

I don't believe I've seen this particular argument crop up here before. Before I throw it in a letter to politicians, I thought I'd run it by here and see what people think. Tell me if it's good, bad, crazy, stupid, whatever. It's only a draft, don't worry about grammar, I'm just after thoughts on the idea itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by My Idea
Let's assume that the criminal will abide by a 10 round limit on magazines, so instead of one 30 round magazine that he would prefer, he brings 3 10 round magazines. There is an unexpected benefit to the criminal in doing this. The weakest point of most guns is the magazine itself, most malfunctions can be attributed to the magazine, it's so common that one of the first things you do when faced with a malfunction is switch magazines.

Let's look at a mass shooting scenario with a magazine malfunction. In a place with no magazine capacity limits, the shooting only brought one magazine with 30 rounds in it. After firing one shot, it jams, the magazine has malfunctioned. He doesn't have another one to use, so it's over.

Now, take the same situation in a place with a 10 round limit (and assume that the criminal followed this law), the criminal would have 3 10 round magazines. The first one malfunctions after the first shot, but now he has two more with him as a direct result of the 10 round limit law. He simply swaps out magazines and resumes his shooting spree, down only 9 bullets instead of 29.
So what do you think? Obviously it would need editing and such, but how's the idea itself? Factual problems? Is the whole thing just a bad idea that I'm not seeing?
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Old February 2, 2013, 12:56 PM   #2
maestro pistolero
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The problem is that it is the exception to the rule. Firearms generally DON'T jam, but sometimes they do. If it were truly a tactical advantage, police and military would train that way. But of course, they don't. They DO teach and drill magazine changes, however.

A better argument, in my opinion, is that the nature of criminal attacks is that they are always unexpected, and often involve multiple suspects who have prepared for their crime, and who may have multiple weapons or standard full capacity magazines.

Whatever ammo is on board the one gun you access is all you are going to be able to use. Even if you carry an extra mag when out and about, you aren't going to have it in your pajamas.

This argument cuts to the very function of the amendment, which is that it is meant to guarantee a leveling of the playing field against unlawful violence. A 7 or 10 round magazine simply cannot be relied upon as sufficient to overcome a disparity of force, a surprise attack, or multiple assailants.
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Old February 2, 2013, 01:54 PM   #3
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Inconsequential point. Lets say the criminal brings 3 legally purchased 30 rd magazines... Or 3 illegally purchased ones.

If he has a magazine malfunction he's still better off (from his viewpoint) than having three ten round magazines.

Plus, no matter how fast you can change a magazine, it's still slower than not changing one. Compare USPSA single stack times vs unlimited capacity when one has to change mags and the other doesn't.

The single magazine malfunction has saved bacon at least once, I admit that, but I don't feel we should pin our arguments to mostly contrived scenarios that go against the odds. They are not strong enough.

Admittedly, I don't have a strong logical reason beyond there is no limit in the 2A. I feel that is strong enough, however... The antis could counter that they didn't have semi auto firearms with 30 rd magazines when the 2A was written. I think a logical answer to that would be useful.

If we are going to beat them with rhetoric alone (we aren't) our points have to make sense to them (they aren't).

Keeping the right people in office (might makes right) is how we come out on top. They'll never convince me = a two way street.
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Old February 2, 2013, 02:48 PM   #4
maestro pistolero
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Quote:
Admittedly, I don't have a strong logical reason beyond there is no limit in the 2A. I feel that is strong enough, however...
I'd be interested to hear your assessment of my argument in post #2.

Quote:
The antis could counter that they didn't have semi auto firearms with 30 rd magazines when the 2A was written. I think a logical answer to that would be useful.
Perhaps the obvious answer is that once a certain firepower capability is ubiquitously present in the population, then possession of that firepower by lawful citizens is necessary to preserve the primary function of the 2nd amendment of equalizing the force available to citizens. Since equalizing force is the function and purpose of the amendment, any laws which undermine that purpose must be unconstitutional.
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Old February 2, 2013, 03:22 PM   #5
Ralgha
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Quote:
Admittedly, I don't have a strong logical reason beyond there is no limit in the 2A. I feel that is strong enough, however...
I actually don't think that's a good logical argument. The 2A doesn't address it one way or another.

I'm trying to find a logical argument that will get past the emotional arguments made for magazine restrictions. Maybe there isn't one, though the argument about Joe Citizen carrying a gun for self-defense while out and about doesn't have the practical carrying capacity to pack a bunch of extra magazines around combined with how many shots it takes to stop a Joe Crazy might be the best one to run with.
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Old February 2, 2013, 03:26 PM   #6
Glenn E. Meyer
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Devil's advocate - Congresswoman Gifford's husband made the point that with 10 round mags, you can tackle the guy at the reload.

That actually has happened a few times. Thus, a practical argument doesn't speak to the RKBA.

If you play that game - you lose.
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Old February 2, 2013, 03:35 PM   #7
terzmo
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the last thing I would think about in regards to a crime or mass murder would be magazine size. I believe the badguys would want the maximum and no law is going to stop them from getting them. There will always be a "black market"...ie: illegal drugs...speak easy's in prohibition...as said a million times...bad guys don't respect laws...good guys do...so in the infinite wisdom of cuomo...."restrict the good guys and vote for me"...
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Old February 2, 2013, 03:47 PM   #8
maestro pistolero
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Quote:
Devil's advocate - Congresswoman Gifford's husband made the point that with 10 round mags, you can tackle the guy at the reload.

That actually has happened a few times. Thus, a practical argument doesn't speak to the RKBA.

If you play that game - you lose.
Don't agree that's a losing argument, because it cuts equally both ways. A citizen under attack may also be tackled by a BG during a reload because he was restricted to a ten-round magazine. The point of 2A is keep the citizen from being disadvantaged.
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Old February 2, 2013, 03:50 PM   #9
wyobohunter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero View Post
I'd be interested to hear your assessment of my argument in post #2.
That is a good point, and one I fully agree with. Of course Pierce Morgan and friends would have us not fight back. I don't even know how to address that kind of thinking.


Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero View Post
Perhaps the obvious answer is that once a certain firepower capability is ubiquitously present in the population, then possession of that firepower by lawful citizens is necessary to preserve the primary function of the 2nd amendment of equalizing the force available to citizens. Since equalizing force is the function and purpose of the amendment, any laws which undermine that purpose must be unconstitutional.
Yes, and I feel the statement "ubiquitously present in the population" answers the question "then shouldn't you be allowed nuclear weapons... Etc" very nicely.

I've heard the slippery slope nukes argument. Sheesh
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Old February 2, 2013, 03:51 PM   #10
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I think a much better argument is the one that Mas Ayoob proposed in his column in a recent issue of one the several magazines he writes for. (Sorry, if I could remember which magazine and which issue I would tell you -- but I don't recall.)

IIRC, he started out citing the statistic that the average hit rate for police officers in Officer-Involved-Shootings (OIS) is now around 29 percent (which is UP considerably from years past). I think Mas proposed a scenario with three assailants, and it happens that about two hours ago I read in a local newspaper a story about a guy who was attacked by ... THREE ... assailants. The victim was carrying, and he used his legally-carried handgun to end the attack.

In the article I read, just drawing the pistol ended the attack. Score one for concealed carry. But ... suppose it had NOT? What if he had to shoot it out with three assailants? Start with a 10-round magazine. If ... IF ... the armed victim is as good as the average police officer, out of those ten rounds he'll score 2.9 hits. Call it three. That's either ONE hit per assailant, or maybe two hits on one and the third is unscathed, and able to continue the attack.

In the article, Mas cited the infamous FBI shootout in which two bad guys killed two FBI agents and critically wounded two more. He mentioned how many hits each of the two bad guys absorbed, and were still able to keep fighting.

There's a reason police officers carry sidearms with capacities greater than ten rounds. We need them for the same reason. And we don't have an armed partner, a patrol car with a rifle, and a radio to call for back-up.
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Old February 2, 2013, 04:04 PM   #11
maestro pistolero
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I would add to Aguilla Blanca's point and anticipate a counter argument.

Some will argue that police are far more likely to encounter violent suspects therefore have a greater need for standard, full capacity magazines.

While that may be true enough, the fact remains that once a citizen is confronted by violent criminals, they are the same criminals, just as dangerous, and the need for sufficient firepower for the citizen is even greater due to the absence of protective gear, emergency radio availability, multiple force options, and heavily armed backup that's only minutes away.
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Old February 2, 2013, 04:20 PM   #12
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Both very strong arguments.
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Old February 2, 2013, 04:20 PM   #13
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The scenario in the OP is kind of a silly, extremely narrow and unlikely event. If such a thing were to occur, fine, but here in reality, maestro pistolero & wyobohunter showed us it's kinda pointless.

wyobohunter:
Quote:
The antis could counter that they didn't have semi auto firearms with 30 rd magazines when the 2A was written.
We are beyond this. Heller's common use test shows us that whatever firearms were available in 1791 has no bearing on how the 2A effects us today.

Quote:
Devil's advocate - Congresswoman Gifford's husband made the point that with 10 round mags, you can tackle the guy at the reload.
Heard this a few times, and it always stuns me with it's stupidity. I guess Gabby's husband can be forgiven; he's been through more than his brain can handle already. Among the many flaws from which is suffers (that have not already been mentioned) are:

1) You don't necessarily know when the bad guy runs out of ammo and is about to reload, nor might you be reasonably expected to know how long it will take the bad guy to effect a reload / reaquisition of targets

2) Requiring heroism (tackling a murderer with a gun when you are unarmed == heroism) as a baseline is ridiculous beyond words. Heroes are awesome, we love them, but cowards have rights, too.

3) Any argument getting into "tactics" (as this one obviously does) are for rational basis scrutiny. Heller clearly established that the RKBA will receive higher than rational basis scrutiny.

wyobohunter:
Quote:
Yes, and I feel the statement "ubiquitously present in the population" answers the question "then shouldn't you be allowed nuclear weapons... Etc" very nicely.

I've heard the slippery slope nukes argument. Sheesh
Gura says the "ubiquitously present in the population" argument is flawed, and not to be used. If we follow it, then what happens when a new model of gun comes out? What about a brilliant new gun that's invented and is safer, more reliable and more accurate? It's OK to stop forward technological progress? No. Gura says to read Heller's common use test as "in common use or would be in common use".

Also, Heller defined for us the meaning of "bear" in RKBA, and it does mean to carry. If you can carry a cruise missile or an aircraft carrier, maybe you're beyond the rule of law.

Lastly, Heller did remind us of limits on "dangerous and unusual" weapons, so even if you had a backpack nuke that could be carried, still not protected by the 2A.

Last edited by speedrrracer; February 2, 2013 at 04:29 PM.
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Old February 2, 2013, 04:57 PM   #14
maestro pistolero
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Quote:
Quote:
Gura says the "ubiquitously present in the population" argument is flawed, and not to be used.
If we follow it, then what happens when a new model of gun comes out? What about a brilliant new gun that's invented and is safer, more reliable and more accurate? It's OK to stop forward technological progress? No. Gura says to read Heller's common use test as "in common use or would be in common use".
I haven't seen any statement from Gura that directly contravenes the Supreme Court. He's much too deft for a frontal assault on the high court. But your point is well taken.

But, in my opinion, common use is not so much flawed as it is incomplete. The common use test, properly applied, is merely a step along the way to determining protected status.

In other words, if a gun, with all its performance characteristics, is already in common use, it's protected and there's no need for further analysis.

I am in agreement that future weapons that are developed cannot be exempt from 2A protection. I think the SCOTUS is of the same opinion. But I am unaware of any standard beyond 'common use' which has been employed to date. Heller even reads Miller to mean common use. It will be interesting (in, say, 2025, ) to see what standard has been applied to new technology.
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Old February 2, 2013, 05:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
I haven't seen any statement from Gura that directly contravenes the Supreme Court. He's much too deft for a frontal assault on the high court. But your point is well taken.
Nor have I (and I hope I do not).

Prolly just a miscommunication here. The point I was trying to make is that "ubiquitously present in the population" is not the same as, and is inferior to, the "common use" test, at least when the common use test is read as Gura says it must be, which is to include the "or would be" thinking.
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Old February 2, 2013, 05:37 PM   #16
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I feel like a good argument is a combination of aguilas post and some of glenns. If one has to begin an engagement with 3 or more assailants and is as good as the average police officer he'll only achieve 2.3 hits to his ten rounds realisticaly. And since people have been tackled while reloading before whats stopping one of the multiple bad guys from tackling someone acting in self defense while having to reload because of the ten round that he/she is now limited to by law?
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Old February 2, 2013, 05:49 PM   #17
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Wyobohunter--
Quote:
Admittedly, I don't have a strong logical reason beyond there is no limit in the 2A. I feel that is strong enough, however... The antis could counter that they didn't have semi auto firearms with 30 rd magazines when the 2A was written. I think a logical answer to that would be useful
I would turn that comment around. The people only had single shot muskets which is exactly what the government had at the time. It would be a fair argument for allowing auto weapons and far more for the common person.
Maybe this is the time to go on the offensive (legally) and start proposing bills that extend our gun rights far beyond what we currently have. Then we can reconcile things with the anti's and meet exactly where we currently are. They feel as is they beet our full auto legislation while we feel that we beet there magazine limitation. Everyone is happy.
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Old February 2, 2013, 07:55 PM   #18
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My argument for standard magazines is that a mass shooter or career criminal has the advantage of foresight. He can pick the location and target, bring extra magazines, multiple weapons, accomplices, etc. His victims will be suddenly and unexpectedly thrust into a life or death situation, and will likely be limited to whatever is contained in the gun. Also, home invasions and robberies involving multiple perps seem to be much more common than mass shootings.
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Old February 2, 2013, 08:03 PM   #19
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It will not be an effective argument because it is too complicated. You'll lose most politicians after the first paragraph. ....that is if the politician actually reads it. Most likely it will be read by an aide and will end up as a hash mark on the "what stuff did people write me about?" report.
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Old February 2, 2013, 10:17 PM   #20
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Maybe the "argument" is already the wrong way around. Maybe it should be why someone should go to federal prison for 10-20 years for having a box with a spring in it.

Failing that, maybe something along these lines. . . . that mass shootings are generally slow affairs with static targets, and in exchange they're arbitrarily dictating a reduced usefulness of many defensive weapons.

I wonder if any hay can be made out of what NY just did: "Look at that, their next stop is 7"
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Old February 2, 2013, 11:55 PM   #21
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I think the most cogent argument boils down to, "If the police need that many "bullets" to chase the guys who robbed me, why is it that I'm not allowed at least as many to protect myself from the robbers in the first place?"
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Old February 3, 2013, 06:14 PM   #22
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I personally llike the "common use" argument. The "standard" AR mag, as designed, issued and regularly purchased is a 30 round mag. Anything less than that is a reduced cap mag.

What we need to do is correct the terminology evey chance we have. 30 rd mags are not "high cap" they are "standard cap". 100rd mag may be a "high cap" but they are so unreliable, very few use them.
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Old February 3, 2013, 06:27 PM   #23
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hermannr
I personally llike the "common use" argument. The "standard" AR mag, as designed, issued and regularly purchased is a 30 round mag. Anything less than that is a reduced cap mag.

What we need to do is correct the terminology evey chance we have. 30 rd mags are not "high cap" they are "standard cap". 100rd mag may be a "high cap" but they are so unreliable, very few use them.
I agree completely. And the same applies to handguns. A Glock pistol with a capacity of 15 rounds or a CZ-75B with a capacity of 16 rounds is not a "high-capacity" pistol or magazine. That's what it was designed to hold, so that's the "standard" capacity.

The whole reason police departments converted from revolvers to double-stack semi-autos was to increase capacity. Double-stack semi-automatic pistols ARE what is in "common use" today (to rely on language straight from the Heller decision). To tell us we can't use them is in direct opposition to the Heller decision.

Last edited by Aguila Blanca; February 3, 2013 at 08:37 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old February 3, 2013, 07:54 PM   #24
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You could not (as easily) tackle the guy on the reload if he does not shoot the gun dry - then there is still one in the chamber during the reload.

(one more to add to the list of scenarios, actions and outcomes being listed on this thread)
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Old February 3, 2013, 08:25 PM   #25
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"You could not (as easily) tackle the guy on the reload if he does not shoot the gun dry - then there is still one in the chamber during the reload."
It is all but impossible for one to count the shots fired under the stress induced by a defense situation and/or attack. Rest assured when a person in either position notices a gun stop firing and sees a slide locked back he can well assume the chamber is empty. Unless his slide locked open with a round in the mag and/or chamber which makes the gun inoperable reguardless.
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