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Why Magazine Capacity Limitations Are A Bad Idea

high capacity magazine ban

Why Are Politicians Calling for Magazine Capacity Limitations?

In the words of Joe Biden when speaking about the need for magazine capacity limits after the Newtown Conn shooting, “Maybe if it took longer, maybe one more kid would be alive.” There seems to be a group of people out there who are calling for capacity limitations because they feel us normal people (non-criminals) don’t have any need for high capacity mags and they tend to feel that of all the draconian gun legislation they would like to pass this is one that is lower hanging fruit. Convince the American people that this wouldn’t be an infringement on rights and we can get one step closer to breaking down the constitution.

You should also be aware that there was some successful legislation passed that has since expired. In 1994 President Clinton signed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994. The law, which went away after a failure to renew it in 2004, had a clause to prohibit the manufacturer and/or transfer of “ammunition feeding devices” with a capacity of more than 10 rounds.

Some of the Claims You May Have Heard

Criminals would have to reload more often and would thus be easier to stop.

This sounds fairly easy to believe on the surface. If we limit magazines to only ten rounds (or any other low arbitrary number) then when the criminal hits that capacity he will have to stop what he/she is doing and take a few seconds to reload. During this momentary weakness good guys can pounce and stop further deaths. The problems with this argument are many.

  1. There is the whole thing about criminals getting big magazines even if they are illegal… (sorry had to say it)
  2. It takes less time than you think to reload. Even a poorly trained criminal with limited firearm experience could likely drop a magazine and push in another one in only 2-5 seconds.
  3. Even if criminals were limited to the capacity of any given magazine they wouldn’t be limited to the number of firearms. Mass killing murders have shown that a common strategy for mass killing isn’t in having endless large magazines… it is in having multiple firearms. When one runs empty, pick up the next one and start shooting.
  4. Consider the Columbine High School shooters. This mass killing took place during the 1994 federal ban and they went into that school without a single “high capacity magazine.” They just took turns reloading the large number of “low capacity magazines” they had on hand.
  5. Can anyone provide any examples of shootings where someone was able to rush the shooter when he paused to reload? I can only find one which was the 2011 Tuscan Shooting where the shooter did indeed have a 33 round magazine. Perhaps worth noting that they only had the opportunity to rush the shooter because he dropped his fresh magazine to the ground during the reloading process. If he had performed a functional reload he would not have been rushed at all and the killing would have continued. It seems from my research that almost without exception when someone is firing a gun at other people, those being fired on tend to run or hide… not rush the shooter.

Law abiding individuals have no need for a magazine that can hold more than — rounds.

Another argument that on the surface, may to some make sense. When I’m out in the woods shooting at deer to feed my family I don’t need a 30-something round magazine right? Here are the holes in this common argument:

  1. Guns are for more than hunting and target practice. They are for lawful self-defense and, to borrow wording from the Constitution, for the security of a free state. This often requires more than 5 or 7 or 10 or 15 rounds.
  2. Accuracy is low in life threatening situations. While it may only take a few shots to stop a threat it might take a large number to hit the threat a few times. Depending on what year and what city’s report, police officers generally only enjoy 17 to 40% accuracy on the streets with their handguns (NYtimes 1 2). Considering that most of us don’t have the same level of training or experience (or reliable statistical data) as today’s law enforcement we might fare even worse. Limiting the number of shots you can fire dramatically decreases your odds of hitting the target when your accuracy drops due to the pressure.
  3. Criminals don’t always act alone. It is often necessary to have enough ammunition to hold off multiple assailants. Check out this video footage from a home invasion in May 2015 (footage). How many rounds would you need for that? How about the 2015 San Bernadino shootings. Multiple assailants with multiple firearms. How about the Trolley Square SLC shooter in 2007? One officer with his one gun wasn’t enough to stop the carnage.

Why We Shouldn’t Support This Legislation

To pull the card out of the deck once more let me remind people that laws only effect law abiding people. Criminals ignore magazine capacity limitations wherever possible. Even if the argument were made that somehow limiting access would make it difficult for average criminals to get them assumes that you will also be fully confiscating them from existing owners and not only has that never been proposed but it is also entirely un-enforceable.

As mentioned above, as lawful gun owners we cannot support any legislation that would cripple our own ability to defend ourselves and our families and it is clear that reducing the number of rounds we can carry would limit our ability to do so. While criminals who premeditate crime have an easy time remembering to bring multiple magazines and firearms to the scene, the good guys who respond in self-defense almost never have more ammunition than what is already in the gun.

No proposed number of rounds to which magazines should be limited is viable. 5, 7, 10, and 15 have all been mentioned in the political discussions and local state legislatures. How are we to arrive at the number? There is no appropriate way to determine the correct number.

If we start with any magazine limitation at all… where will that lead us? Once a law has been passed it becomes all to easy to change the number or add to the limitations. It becomes a slippery slope.

Don’t be reassured by the grandfather clause illusion. The majority of proposed laws allow that if you already own said high capacity magazines you can continue to own them and use them. This is the means to an end. Since the grandfather clause doesn’t allow that the owner may transfer ownership to another and doesn’t allow that new magazines can be manufactured inevitably the goal is to eliminate them over time.

It Didn’t Work Last Time. Some research was done to determine if the 1994 law had positive impacts. All the research said the law had essentially no effect.

Research by John Lott found no impact of these bans on violent crime rates

The study by Christopher S. Koper, Daniel J. Woods, and Jeffrey A. Roth of the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology, University of Pennsylvania found no statistically significant evidence that either the assault weapons ban or the ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds had reduced gun murders. However, they concluded that it was “premature to make definitive assessments of the ban’s impact on gun crime,” and argue that if the ban had been in effect for more than nine years, benefits might have begun to appear.

A 2004 critical review of firearms research by a National Research Council committee said that an academic study of the assault weapon ban “did not reveal any clear impacts on gun violence outcomes.” The committee noted that the study’s authors said the guns were used criminally with relative rarity before the ban and that its maximum potential effect on gun violence outcomes would be very small.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence did find in their research that the percent of firearm related deaths involving the firearms banned did decrease. To this I say… duh, of course they decreased if the guns weren’t available. But did the total number of gun related deaths decrease? No. So criminals still killed people with guns regardless.

States That Currently Have Magazine Capacity Limitations or Bans

States shown in RED have existing bans on magazine capacities. Hawaii’s ban is on handguns only and while Virginia doesn’t have a ban they do only allow residents to purchase firearms that have a capacity of more than 20 rounds. Also, while the state of Illinois doesn’t have a state wide ban, one county and several cities have local bans.

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27 Responses to Why Magazine Capacity Limitations Are A Bad Idea

  1. Stuart December 15, 2015 at 4:49 pm #

    even if those wrongly thinking politicians pass laws limiting magazine capacity, the manufacturer would not stop and then only the crooks have those magazines-and they probably load two or three in case one runs dry-did those(blank expletives legislators) ever think of that? no

    andwhy do some of those so-called ligislators have armed guards?

  2. Mikial December 15, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

    The entire magazine capacity concept is A) a ridiculous argument based on a zero understanding of the dynamics of shooting, and B) a Red Herring simply intended to get a further foothold to restrict the rights of lawful gun owners.

    When I was getting ready to deploy to Iraq as a private security contractor in 2004 I competed in PSA meets to train up, among other things. That was back in the 10 round magazine limitation days. I shot in the Production Division, which limited magazine capacity to 10 rounds. Many of the specific lanes we shot required as many as 60 rounds to complete, so i had to invest in a lot of 10 round mags for my G21. Since it was times, I also had to make a lot of quick magazine changes to complete the lane.

    Even though i was far from being a Grand Master and never even finished above the middle of the pack, I could easily blow through a lane that required me to make as many as 5+ magazine changes in a very short time. My point? With even a minimum of practice, especially in one of the stupid Liberal’s favorite Gun Free Zones, an active shooter/terrorist can essentially put almost as many rounds down range with nothing but 10 round mags as someone with 20 or 30. Since the moron Libs have set the general populace up as unarmed victims, it’s not like these murderers are pressed for time.

  3. Onthe Wall December 15, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

    I find it funny when I talk to people about large capacity magazines. I asked him what is that supposed to stop, they say it will help prevent criminals from having too much ammunition capacity. My return in this country you have hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of drugs, some people think it’s in the billions. What makes you think this is going to stop the bad guys from throwing in a few thousand hi-capacity magazines and a few thousand guns and a few hundred thousand rounds ammunition. The guys who send the drugs to the dealers in the USA all of this firepower is a little park to help you sell the drugs and fight other gangs or whoever. Almost any LEO will tell you it seems to be impossible to stop even a small percent of the drugs coming in. So all these bad guys here will laugh all the way to the bank carrying all the firepower they need while you and I have to fumble around with eventually single shot magazines. Just to make sure someone who is not on my side of these issues gets the truth, the bozo potus and the rest of the dems cannot figure out why crime rates have lowered in the past couple of years but they don’t believe their own statistics which show every where in the USA where there is high legal gun ownership crime is low, Daaaa 2+2=? The dems cant figure this out.

  4. Alan Schultz December 15, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

    A good, practical, sensible idea has yet to come forth from this Anti Gun/Anti Gun Rights cabal and likely never will.

  5. Harry Frank December 15, 2015 at 6:49 pm #

    I don’t particularly care for large-capacity magazines. I have a small hand, and double-banked handgun magazines make a pistol feel like a brick. On my AK-47, even the standard banana clip unbalances the rifle, and I prefer to shoot with the 5-round clip. But, this is a meaningless piece of legislation. I purchased all of my AK magazines, including a 75-round drum, perfectly legally during the “assault-rifle ban.” More importantly, such restrictions are very easy to overcome: As far back as WWII, troops learned to tape a pair of M1-carbine magazines together “head to foot” so that all you had to do to double your magazine capacity was kick out the mag and flip it over. What comes next, prohibiting sale of duct tape?

    • Dynamicdave December 16, 2015 at 2:34 am #

      I own a .357. I have a quick load. Used to own a 9mm Beretta. I still think that the Government will be hard pressed forcing someone to relinquish their 15-16 shot sidearm. Civil war is right around the corner. I pity the liberals who get in the way.

    • Kichirou September 13, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

      magazine* not “clip”. clips haven’t been used in a looong time… unless you own a really old gun.

  6. Greyguy December 15, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

    Read the literature and statistics, Close to 30% of the time it takes more than 10 rounds from the good guy to end a confrontation with a perp with a gun whether you are a private citizen or a pro. Those are verifiable published statistics.

    • Dynamicdave December 16, 2015 at 2:36 am #

      Depends on how good of a shot you are and how many perps there are. ?

  7. Charles Stusek December 15, 2015 at 7:36 pm #

    It sounds like you have hit all the points. I still feel that politicians just are not smart enough to figure out that if the bad guys plan to shoot innocent people there is no way to stop them. So, lets stop the good guys so it will look like their doing something to solve the problem that they are actually making up themselves.

  8. James Andrews December 15, 2015 at 8:32 pm #

    It’s crap; nothing but terrible “feel good” legislation, that could actually further endanger the citizenry, not the other way around, as the idiots believe.

  9. Dynamicdave December 15, 2015 at 8:45 pm #

    So, for those who have a 15 round Barretta, you would have to sell your gun, or turn it in? Not likely. What next, to say I can’t carry a quick load for my .357? Asinine liberals. Run back to your sheltered lives, your caves and let the people who ate realistic and live in the real world, survive. Bass ackwards morons. De oppresso liber.

  10. John December 15, 2015 at 9:05 pm #

    The government is out of control and NOT operating within the Constitution and I will operate in like manor. They want us DEAD- I want myself and wife to live and will use any and all means to keep us that way irregardless what laws are passed-period.
    Some talk of hiding guns,mags,ammo encase there is some form of confiscation. BS stand and fight or kneel and suck-serve. The line in the sand for me is at the end of my toes.

    • camaroqb March 19, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

      Right with you!! Couldn’t agree more!!

  11. Tionico December 15, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

    I seem to recall reading multiple times that that shooter who killed I can’t remember how many at Virginia Tech used low capacity mags for his handgun…. and changed them as he went along his route of mayhem. Can’t remember for sure, but I think he killed over thirty, wounded more than that, and went through eight or ten mags before he was stopped.

    Besides, what about then that perp has ME in view… and I, being a law abiding little robot, only have the mag in the gun and one spare? To his ten standard capacity (that means thirty round) mags? Unless I get off a very lucky shot, who wil win?

  12. Mastermech48 December 15, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

    There is not only a problem with elected officials vs common sense self defense measures, it also lies with those in the voting mass who “ELECT” THE OFFICIALS. How can this group of individuals be so dedicated to the handi-capping of honest freedom seeking people while simultaneously supporting those who wish to do harm to us. This situation appears to me that both parties are anti constitution and do NOT deserve to live in a place such as the United States was originally designed to be. Basically they are covert terrorists living amongst us, the enemy. It is as if they really believe the bad guys should be in control, what a thought….

  13. Jeff Miller December 15, 2015 at 10:32 pm #

    Limiting the rounds in a magazine is ridiculous; it’s the same mentality of banning guns, the bad guys will always have the guns, ammunition and magazines to carry out their mission. The American citizens should not (never) be limited or out of compliance with the law to carry or have the proper magazines to protect themselves, their family or other innocent people.

  14. Carroll Earl Griffin December 16, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

    As I read the constitution “WE THE PEOPLE” denied any group the right to infringe on our rights to “KEEP and BEAR ARMS”. Any added restriction to those already on the books is anti-civil rights acts designed to create a population of helpless victims denied the right of self defense. In fact I feel that any one sponsering such legistration is bent on helping create killing fields of lawabiding citizens, which I deem a criminal act in itself. Such laws make defending one’s self more of a crime than the mugger that assults you, and if you defend yourself with a weapon having a larger capacity magazine than the law allows, YOU WILL BE PROSECUTED for using an illegal weapon!! The Prosecuter will make it seam that you are more of a criminal than the person beating, robbing, raping, and murdering you, and that you “bad person’ should
    not have used an illegal weapon simply to save your, or rights some other innocent life. Magazine limitations are hate laws against human survival rights.

  15. Mikial March 5, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    Some points . . .

    1. Note that many of the states with mag capacity bans also have the highest murder rates . . guess that isn’t working out too well for them.

    2. When in a “Gun Free Zone” a criminal doesn’t have to worry very much about the 2-5 seconds it takes to change mags since no one has the means to defend themselves anyway. There will always be plenty of sheep to slaughter for someone like that.

    3. Any legal gun owner who doesn’t have at least 15-20 mags for their AR, AK, Mini 14, etc., and at least 5-6 for each of their handguns should be buying more magazines.

    4. The obvious . . criminals and crazies do not obey gun laws.

    5. Very few . . extremely few by FBI stats, gun murders are carried out with rifles of any kind. In fact, more people are beat to death with clubs than are shot with rifles. Magazine bans are absolutely useless.

  16. Johnny Nightrider March 19, 2016 at 8:41 pm #

    I live in California and your handguns are sold with ten round magazines.Your AR-15’s are sold with a ten round magazine and you have a bullet button.Easy fix.You could go to another state like Nevada and buy what your firearm is supposed to have if it’s more than a ten round magazine.Like a 15 round,17 round,or a 33 round magazine.A hundred round drum for a Ar-15.20,30,40,60 round magazines for Ar-15/M4’s.Buy a Mag Magnet and use the Mag Magnet and higher Capacity Magazines for when you travel outside of California like to Nevada.iT’s not illegal to own them just don’t use the mags or mag magnet in California.Only when you leave California and are in another state like Nevada.Your Rifles in California are limited to ten round Magazines.Though if you have a tubular magazine .22lr Rifle like a Marlin 60 it can hold 15 .22Lr’s in it legally.The Kel Tec in .223 remington semi-auto rifle is allowed without a bullet button because it’s not a AR-15/M4 design.Also the Ruger Mini 14 in .223 remington and Mini thirty in 7.62mmmx39mm don’t need bullet buttons.California gun laws are a liberal mess.If I was the Governor and had a Republican House and Senate majority in California.We would put California back to a organized Republican conservative Agenda without all these silly Magazine limits and bullet button nonsense.And have Rifles and handguns sold with what the manufacturer designed the magazine of the firearm to hold.Ar-15/M4’s sold with 2 30 round magazines.Pistols with 15,16,17,18,19,30 round magazines.What the manufacturer made them to hold.a Mini thirty with 20 round mags.Mini 14 with 20.30.or 40 round mags.Manufacturers would be happy.Gun Owners would be happy.And the bad guys would be scared as I would make California a shall issue CCW State.All you have to do is be a U.S. Citizen with no felonies or domestic abuse convictions or current restraining orders.I wouldn’t issue permits to green card holders as so many have been forged and that’s not good.Also California would go on the insta-check F.B.I. background check.Where you have to sell a firearm right now if you pass or if nothing is found after 3 days.No more waiting period.In Los Angeles City.No more California I.D. and thumb print signature checks to buy ammo.No more have to take a firearm test and have a handgun card to buy a handgun.No more in Los Angeles city limits that certain firearms are too small to sell in city limits.No more infringement on the Second Amendment in California.Also I would ask Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein to tenure their resignations.We would California right again.Also what’s with all these Marijuana medical shops.Either legalize it like Colorado or ban these Medical Marijuana places.I see these young people with a Medical card to buy Marijuana with B.S excuses to purchase it.If you have cancer or Glaucoma or a real medical problem okay.But it helps me sleep or I feel more adjusted.Get out of here.Bogus nonsense that is going to make people Lazy and unproductive.

  17. Robert April 5, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

    There is no reason for a law abiding citizen to have a weapon with a capacity greater than 10-15 rounds. Anything greater than that should be left for law enforcement or specific private security needs. We don’t need to make higher capacity weapons available so the bad guys can increase collateral damage. A bad guy walking into a bank or pointing an empty weapon at you is very effective. I carry but if the bad guy has a gun pointed at me and I can’t get to safety or my weapon, he gets what he wants and hopefully it is not my life. I would like to see federal standardized legislation regarding CWP’s so at least we can carry and not find ourselves in jail because a state that I entered does not reciprocate with my home state. To me the legislation would be just like CDL trucker licenses, it’s federal and standardized. If guns are purchased legally thru a gun dealer, the sales information is already being made available to law enforcement, so guys stop crying about supplying the weapon type and SN if you’ve purchased a gun legally. If you sell a gun privately, to me it’s like selling a car, all states are title states for the registration, so what’s the big deal? The big deal is the bad guys or the nuts that think they need to have an arsenal are the ones complaining. Just don’t take my 2nd amendment rights away!

    • Kichirou September 13, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

      There is no reason for a law abiding citizen to have a weapon with a capacity greater than 10-15 rounds. Anything greater than that should be left for law enforcement or specific private security needs

      LEO’s are just law abiding citizens too.why should they be allowed to have something I’m not? because they have some stupid shiny piece of metal? lol bullsh*t

      • Walt December 8, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

        High speed pursuit, cop runs out of fuel, any aerodynamic car is now illegal. And no more than 2 gallons of fuel in a vehicle at any time.

  18. Edward June 28, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

    This is not really about limitations on magazine capacity. This is really about finding ways to remove arms from everyone. This is nothing new. As far back as 1774 the British tried to remove anything and everything that would allow gun ownership by anyone but the crowns forces. You don’t need gunpowder, you don’t need your smooth bore rifle. The crown will provide and take care of you all…

    The fact is. At some point and time.. your 2nd amendment rights will be taken away. People around you (friends and family members in some cases) will report you. It is just a matter of when it is going to happen.

    Best thing you can do is prepare for it. Because it is coming…

  19. Jim August 12, 2016 at 9:02 am #

    Don,t vote for Hillary !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Jim Seramur August 12, 2016 at 9:04 am #

    Vote for Trump

    • Lawrence September 9, 2016 at 1:08 am #

      Early and often.

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