Pausing to reload

The Tucson assassin managed to kill six people and wound thirteen more, at least one critically, before he ran out of ammunition. When he paused to reload, three heroic unarmed people tackled him. If he’d had a smaller magazine, fewer people would be dead and injured.

The 31-round magazine he bought, legally, along with his 9mm Glock, last November, would have been illegal until the NRA managed to prevent the extension of the assault weapons ban in 2004.

I’m not a huge fan of generic gun control. Making it harder for already ineligible people to get guns – by passing tougher laws on gun trafficking and closing down the private-sale loophole that allows sales without background checks – would have some value, but shrinking the number of guns owned by people allowed to own guns under current law wouldn’t do much about violence. States that make it easier to get a concealed-carry permit don’t find that the permit-holders commit many crimes. And “assault weapons” constitute only a tiny part of the gunfire problem.

Still, this is a case where excessively loose controls permitted avoidable violence. The shooter hadn’t been convicted of any crime or been officially judged a risk to others due to his mental-health problems, but there’s no way he could have passed even a cursory training program for concealed carry; he couldn’t even get through a community-college algebra class without being spotted as a dangerous person. Arizona is one of only three states to allow concealed carry without a special permit.

But even assuming that he would have simply ignored that law, there’s no reason to think that he would have been sufficiently dedicated or knowledgeable to acquire an illegal high-capacity magazine. If he’d had only 10 rounds in his clip rather than 32, some of his victims would be alive and unhurt.

Now can anyone tell me a legitimate use for a 32-round handgun, other than in the exercise of “Second Amendment remedies”? If not, perhaps we should pay tribute to the victims by restoring the quite minor regulation that might have saved their lives.

Comments

  1. says

    Seems reasonable to me. If the 2nd amendment was designed to allow us to protect ourselves from intruders, we could easily keep plenty of ammo at the ready, at home. If it was to protect from the government, well, we lost that arms race a long time ago. The reasons to support such a regulation would seem to outweigh the reasons not to.

  2. Henry says

    "The reasons to support such a regulation would seem to outweigh the reasons not to."

    That's not surprising in light of the fact that there are no reasons not to support it.

  3. sd says

    You might double check that Salon story you've linked to. Its being challenged on basic factual grounds pretty aggressively. Not sure who's right and who's wrong, but there's already a lot of commentary saying that the author gets basic facts wrong.

  4. Brett Bellmore says

    So I can plink longer in the backyard between pauses to reload.

    Can anybody explain to me why printers should hold more than one sheet of paper at a time? Printers holding a whole ream of paper are a clear convenience to counterfeiters, and aren't actually needed for legitimate purposes. I've never done a single printing job at work where I couldn't have stood there feeding the sheets in by hand.

    I LOATH the notion that honest people should be subject to all manner of restrictions to inconvenience the tiny fraction of us intent on evil. When the restriction impacts exercise of a constitutional right, this idea should be anathema.

    "States that make it easier to get a concealed-carry permit don’t find that the permit-holders commit many crimes.

    Arizona is one of only three states to allow concealed carry without a special permit."

    Which three states don't find that people who carry concealed without permits commit many crimes. Hoist by your own logic.

    You're not a huge fan of gun control? Well, not compared to Josh Sugarman, I suppose. Just a fan. Unlike him you need an excuse, it just doesn't have to be a good excuse. How many magazines you'd render illegal are out there, anyway? Hundreds of thousands? Millions, more likely. How many crimes come along where the lack of such a magazine would make a difference? Dozens per decade?

  5. DavidTX says

    "Can anybody explain to me why printers should hold more than one sheet of paper at a time?"

    Mass murder by paper cuts? LOL

  6. DavidTX says

    Or . . . counterfeiting is the moral equivalent of shooting someone in the head point blank and killing a 9 year old girl.

  7. Michael O'Hare says

    Popping a clip out and a new one in is so lame, Brett. But taking your point about the printer, how do you tolerate having to pull a trigger every single round? I think the measured and reflective tone of your posts under the oppression of machine gun denial is a model for all of us. And there's extremely entertaining stuff law abiding people would like to do in their back yards for which anything less than a 37mm or a rocket launcher is just not adequate. How can you blow up your old truck without an explosive shell of some kind? And why should you pay the price of making them a little harder for thugs and armored car robbers to get?

  8. koreyel says

    So I can plink longer in the backyard between pauses to reload.

    Interesting. And this is not a rebuttal:

    In Tucson it is illegal to shoot a gun within city limits. Even a BB gun.

    Where do you live that allows you to plink a 9mm with such Roarkian glee that pausing to reload is a nuisance?

  9. KLG says

    Nobody "plinks" with a 9-mm pistol in the first place, Brett. For that you use a long-barrel .22 revolver, or maybe a pellet gun. The 9-mm Glock exists for one reason and one reason only, especially when attached to a 30-round clip.

  10. says

    Brett, is it not interesting to you that no one wants to regulate printer paper? I mean, it may be hard to believe, but it isn't about making your life inconvenient. It is about sacrificing a tiny bit of your inconvenience for something really important. Now, we can argue about whether or not gun regulation is effective. But assuming it is, then whether or not you have to reload twice as often would seem a small price to pay.

  11. Roger says

    This article is false and misleading. During the entire time that the "assault weapons ban" was in force, high-capacity magazines were legally obtainable. The law merely kept *new* ones from being manufactured and sold. A little fact-checking next time, please.

  12. Bob Carlson says

    I think Jerry Coyne has it right:

    It’s time for America to do what most of our counterparts do: ban guns or put them under the tightest of restrictions. We may not be able to get rid of crazies, but we can get rid of guns.

    There are two embarrassing ways that America differs from what the ABA calls “our economic counterparts” in the rest of the world: we are way more religious, and we have way more guns. The combination, of course, is toxic.

  13. larry birnbaum says

    Look, we're talking about penises here. Rationality doesn't have much to do with why people want these weapons.

  14. says

    (Klieman): "Now can anyone tell me a legitimate use for a 32-round handgun, other than in the exercise of 'Second Amendment remedies'?"

    Defense against a pack of feral dogs? Against a large predator for which 10 9 mm rounds would not suffice? I recall an account of someone who saved his life and his girlfriend's life by emptying the magazine of his .45 into a brown bear. He was lucky that worked.

    (Klieman): "If not, perhaps we should pay tribute to the victims by restoring the quite minor regulation that might have saved their lives."

    I'm open to suggestions.

  15. Warren Terra says

    Roger, I assume you're right. But you're ignoring the main point: should 31-round magazines be legal? Do they have a legitimate purpose? Should we ban them, maybe gradually by banning only new ones?

  16. Warren Terra says

    Malcolm, you do realize we're measuring an actual nine-year old girl against your hypothetical pack of feral dogs that isn't even fazed by the first ten shots?

    And how many bullets did that .45 hold?

  17. Mark Kleiman says

    Brett, states that allow people to carry concealed after passing a background check and safety course encounter no problems. That doesn't mean that allowing concealed carry to lunatics like the Tucson assassin is a good idea.

  18. MobiusKlein says

    Brett, you shame yourself with the silly slippery slope equivalence.

    If Mark proposed only permitting flintlock single shot guns, you would have a point.

    I'm also assuming various courts actually reviewed the restrictions in the law, and found it passed 2nd amendment strictures. Which would not be the case for a single page printer law.

  19. R. Johnston says

    "Now can anyone tell me a legitimate use for a 32-round handgun"

    Well, you've got a 25 man roster, a manager, a batting coach, a pitching coach, a first base coach, a third base coach, a bench coach, and a bullpen coach on a typical Major League Baseball roster and coaching staff. If the Mets want to commit ritual suicide they should be able to do so without reloading.

  20. fred says

    Opponents of gun control, health care reform, regulation of toxins, etc. seem to view these things through a theoretical lens. There is an unstated assumption that the consequenses of all these things being left to the whim of chance or the few crazies among us will always fall on some other theoretical schmuck and that's just a shame for them but hey it's a big bad world.

    I've known a few conservatives who had the occasion to see how it is to be that unlucky guy and it is instructive to see how they react. A case in point is Jim Brady, who I know through our work with a non-profit. When Jim's life was turned upside down by a nut with a gun he and his wife began to campaign to stop the madness of easily available guns. In short they became Democrats.

    As I say Jim is not the only conservative I've known who has had this epiphany after the theoretical became the personal. It's a hard lesson to learn that "there but for the grace of God go I" is not just a homily, it is something we all should consider when we perch ourselves up on our walls of theory.

  21. Brett Bellmore says

    "Brett, you shame yourself with the silly slippery slope equivalence. If Mark proposed only permitting flintlock single shot guns, you would have a point."

    If Mark proposed only permitting flintlocks single shot guns, we wouldn't be talking about a slippery slope, now, would we? We'd bet talking about a single step directly into the abyss. But, in any event, that was an analogy, not a slippery slope argument. You shame yourself by not understanding the difference. ;)

    I think it is typical of gun controllers, and Mark exemplifies this, that they place no particular value on the liberty of gun owners. And so, some extreme outlier crime comes along, they suggest a regulation that might have impeded it, at the mere (Unconsidered!) cost of restrictions on millions of innocent people per criminal inconvenienced. It is also typical that they don't count among those costs any problems of enforcement. Millions of magazines he'd ban. Millions of owners of such magazines. Mark has to posit that the guy was sufficiently nutso that he couldn't locate an article in legal commerce, as such magazines were all through the much despised 'Assault weapon" ban's tenure. And yet, he WAS able to buy a gun.

    That's a pretty sharply defined degree of lunacy you've restricted the efficacy of your proposed law to, Mark. Maybe dozens of crimes a decade was an exaggeration, perhaps one or two would be more realistic.

    But, of course, that isn't what Mark means, he means full stop illegality, "turn 'em in if you've got 'em", become a felon if you don't, BATF goon squads killing people over it illegality. People piling up in federal prison illegality. Militia movement recovering it's numbers illegality. Because gun controllers just assume that they pass a law, everybody, including the millions who view such laws as grossly illegitimate, will jump to obey. Just like we do all the other gun laws you clowns manage to get enacted, right? And so, they don't consider any costs of enforcement.

    "Brett, states that allow people to carry concealed after passing a background check and safety course encounter no problems. That doesn’t mean that allowing concealed carry to lunatics like the Tucson assassin is a good idea."

    Cough up some evidence that the states that allow people to carry concealed without that crap encounter problems at a significantly higher rate. Otherwise you got nothing. Actually, you've got nothing, anyway, unless you figure this dude was crazy enough that he wouldn't have concealed a gun on the way to a mass murder if it had been illegal to do so. Which does seem to be a pretty common assumption on the part of opponents of concealed carry reform…

    This is the same, pathetic attempt to get some increment of gun control any time a tragedy comes along, even if it wouldn't have done anything about that tragedy, even if the cost/benefit analysis is a total fail, that we're used to. The fact that you're still trying to pull it after the tide has turned, the gun control movement has imploded after having it's funding yanked, and the prospect of getting new gun laws passed has declined to something like zero, just goes to show that it's more of a spinal reflex than a considered tactic.

  22. Brett Bellmore says

    "The 9-mm Glock exists for one reason and one reason only, especially when attached to a 30-round clip."

    This statement deserves special attention. 9mm Glocks exist in vast quantities. 30-round clips? Not quite so common, but still plentiful. If 9mm Glocks have only "one use", I suppose it must be punching holes in pieces of paper, or being used as paperweights, because if their only use were the one you're implying, our murder rate would have to be a lot higher, no?

    When somebody says ""X" exists for one reason, and one reason only.", when "X" is manifestly used almost exclusively for OTHER things, they're not telling us about "X". They're telling us about themselves. What a fortunate world it is, that the vast majority of gun owners don't have your issues, KLG. That we don't instantly think mass murder when we see a gun, and come up empty for other uses.

  23. Warren Terra says

    Ok, Brett, they have two uses: killing humans and shooting targets as many times as possible without reloading. For either, the only purpose of a thirty round magazine – barring not merely zombies but actual zombie hordes – is mass murder. You haven't even bothered to argue otherwise. I'm not well acquainted with sport shooting, but I don't think it usually involves sending out thirty-two bullets with minimum pausing.

    So basically, you're left with one argument: the slippery slope, an invocation of the jackbooted thugs of the ATF (in the memorable phrase of right-wing syndicated radio host G Gordon Liddy, a convicted felon who remains proud of his deliberate attempts to use state power for political ends, in essence an undermining of American democracy). You picture them kicking in doors to take away first your mass-murder tool and then your other basic liberties. But that's pretty silly. I'm guessing a lot of them are veterans and gun owners. We've got a Supreme Court that, as we saw with their ruling on DC's handgun ban, is about a gnat's leg from disallowing all regulation of firearms, and we've got no-one proposing anything approaching the scenario you describe. Indeed, the post specifically mentioned the lapsed Assault Weapons law, which (as pointed out upthread) only banned the sale of brand new purpose-designed mass-murder implements; it didn't even ban the sale of older ones, much less mandate their confiscation.

    But tgen, this slow-moving, deliberately moderate approach to reducing the supply of these mass-murder tools over a very long time was too much for your Republican friends in Congress, people who demand the right to own any mass-murder tool they fancy, the right to drill for oil anywhere and to waste it anyhow, the right to pollute without thought of consequence, the right to invade Iraq with no plan and no purpose, and of course the right of the poor to die in a ditch with no healthcare. Its all about Freedom.

  24. Brett Bellmore says

    I haven't even bothered to argue otherwise? What, are you selectively blind?

    Objects don't have purposes, let alone exclusive purposes. People have purposes for objects. The claim that objects have purposes, (And at that, only one.) is an effort to impute that purpose to the people who own them, even though their actions demonstrate the contrary.

    The only purpose of claiming an object has only one purpose, is to impute evil motives to the owner, in the absence of evidence. It's a pathetic rhetorical tactic, and a logical fallacy.

    It's nonsense. I have several 100 round magazines. I didn't buy them to commit mass murder. I bought them because,

    1. A Calico looks stupid with a 10 round magazine.

    and,

    2. I could get through an entire session of plinking with one magazine swap.

    Look, almost all shots fired in this country are practice shots. By a 50 or 100 to one ratio, I'd guess, at least. Regardless of whether the person was practicing to kill people, (Sometimes a legitimate thing to do.) practicing to kill animals, or practicing to hit targets better. Large capacity magazines make practice shooting more convenient. Therefore large capacity magazines have a legitimate purpose.

    And they have a legitimate purpose even if people like you don't like them.

  25. says

    Another reason people need 30 round magazines is because they exist and criminals have them and use them against innocent civilians. People you need to wake up. I am a former homicide detective and SWAT officer and people need guns equal and greater to what criminals have and will always have so they can protect themselves. I have watched way too many autopsies of innocent people that could have protected themselves and stayed alive if they had a gun.

    Get your head out of the ground. This is 2011 and times have changed. Mulberry or Mayberry or whatever mid-America 1950s mentality you live in will get you or someone you love killed. You need to either get a concealed weapons permit and carry a gun. If you don't know anything about guns or how things really are on the streets, and from you posts many of you don't, either learn about guns or shut up about them.

  26. fred says

    @Jeff Morelock- What you advocate sounds a lot like Mutually Assured Destruction. Being armed and dangerous may sound like a solution but be honest: How many people, even if trained to handle a gun could pull a trigger with the kind of reflexes that would accomplish anything but force a gun wielding criminal's hand to shoot them first? Mores the point how many people can be trusted to use the judgement to not shoot an inocent person by mistake, not kill someone in a drunken rage or to keep the wepon away from someome irresponsible enough to do such things.

    People who have a set of skills and training often project their ability onto others. When you see how easy it is to cook or fix a car or make a realistic drawing or sing in tune it is hard to see how other people don't have those skills. You are obviously well trained in handling dangerous weapons and more importantly in assesing the proper response in dangerous situations. Most of us are not so trained nor do we have the reflexes and temprament for such skills. The most dangerous aspect of this reality is that a lifetime of watching action movies has planted the fantasy in many unskilled peoples minds that they could do such things if faced with the situation. Placing a gun in the hand of such a person is asking for disater.

  27. MobiusKlein says

    Jeff, you know that the murder rate has gone down a whole, whole lot since 1980?

    And Brett, you do have no shame you made the analogy of "Can anybody explain to me why printers should hold more than one sheet of paper at a time?" As the similar restriction to restricting sale of high capacity ammo clips.

    And the ratio of practice / non practice shot is kinda silly. Now you say high capacity ammo clips are needed to keep you from looking silly? That's a far cry from "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The clause at the front serves to explain and constrain the right at the end. Because if it was meant to be an unfettered right, they would have omitted the 'well regulated Militia' part. Unless you propose ignoring parts of the Constitution you dislike.

  28. NCG says

    So, Brett, what *would* you do to prevent events like this? Would you do anything differently? Or is what happened more or less inevitable in your view?

  29. Brett Bellmore says

    What I would do is view it as an extremely low probability event, and extremely low probablity events don't merit a lot of effort to avert, unless the consequences are rather extreme. So I'm not going to sweat it. I'm sorry she got shot. I'm more sorry about the little girl. But it's not happening often enough to justify doing much of anything about.

    And I think the only reason you believe it DOES justify going berserk, is that these are things you'd like to do anyway.

  30. says

    (Warren): "Malcolm, you do realize we’re measuring an actual nine-year old girl against your hypothetical pack of feral dogs that isn’t even fazed by the first ten shots?"

    Sure. Same as if she was killed in a crosswalk, and I'm measuring her life against the convenience of driving to the grocery store. So,…let's give up cars?

    I might get five or so dogs with those ten shots.

    (Warren): "And how many bullets did that .45 hold?"

    Nine, probably, but .45 is a lot bigger than 9 mm.

  31. says

    (Moebius): "The clause at the front serves to explain and constrain the right at the end."

    Logically, no. Historically, no.

    Try this: "A well-fed army being necessary to the defense of the nation, the right of independent farmers to raise the crops that generate the greatest revenue shall not be infringed." This suggests a faith in markets, not that farmers be enlisted in the Army. Armed citizens (A) supply the "well-regulated militia" (B). B is a proper subset of A.

    Justice Joseph Storey, __Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States__ (1833): " The next amendment is: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." {[In Story's Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States (1840), the following two sentences are also added:] One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offence to keep arms, and by substituting a regular army in the stead of a resort to the militia. The friends of a free government cannot be too watchful, to overcome the dangerous tendency of the public mind to sacrifice, for the sake of mere private convenience, this powerful check upon the designs of ambitious men.

    The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them."

    Chief Justice Roger Taney, Dred Scott versus John Sanford(1857)

    "…it cannot be believed that the large slaveholding States regarded them (blacks) as included in the word citizens, or would have consented to a Constitution which might compel them to receive them in that character from another State. For if they were so received, and entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens, it would exempt them from the operation of the special laws and from the police regulations which they considered to be necessary for their own safety.

    It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognised as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went."

    Arguments advanced in Congress after the Civil War in support of the 14th Amendmend referred to Southern States using local forces to disarm free blacks. The State Militia were used against the right of individuals to "keep and bear arms". Post-war Northern State Republicans supported the individual right of all citizens to "keep and bear", against the Southern Democrats' "State militia" interpretation.

    (Moebius): "Because if it was meant to be an unfettered right, they would have omitted the ‘well regulated Militia’ part. Unless you propose ignoring parts of the Constitution you dislike."

    Unless you propose omitting history you dislike.

  32. Barry says

    larry birnbaum says:

    "Look, we’re talking about penises here. Rationality doesn’t have much to do with why people want these weapons."

    The one and probably only time I'll agree with larry.

  33. Ben M says

    If you think that it's unreasonable to mildly-inconvenience someone's backyard plinking hobby—well, you must be outraged at the inconveniences heaped on home chemistry-set hobbyists. You can't buy ricin, cyanide or arsenic at the druggists' shop anymore! All of America's law-abiding home chemists are shackled by this law, because every once in a while some lone nutcase wants to poison someone.

    Cyanide doesn't kill people—cyanide-laced coffee kills people.

  34. Phil says

    Brett: I LOATH the notion that honest people should be subject to all manner of restrictions to inconvenience the tiny fraction of us intent on evil. When the restriction impacts exercise of a constitutional right, this idea should be anathema.

    Wow. You are really, really a mendacious piece of shit. You would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, not in a trillion years, let someone you disagreed with politically get away with that weasel-ass word "impact" in there doing all the heavy lifting for you. Never. You certainly don't think the EPA should be allowed — even though they are not only legally permitted but legally compelled — to regulate emissions that "impact" climate.

    So don't even try to get away with that weak stuff here. Would a ban on 31-round clips prevent you from exercising any Constitutional right at all? No, no it would not. So you have to reload more often when "plinking?" Boo-hoo. You're in your 50s. Grow up.

    Jeff: I am a former homicide detective and SWAT officer and people need guns equal and greater to what criminals have and will always have so they can protect themselves.

    You are the only cop I've ever met who thinks so, and my best friend of 20 years is a police chief.

    I have watched way too many autopsies of innocent people that could have protected themselves and stayed alive if they had a gun.

    And you know this how? It's easy to claim a counterfactual without being able to prove it.

    Mark: Brett, states that allow people to carry concealed after passing a background check and safety course encounter no problems.

    Well, let's not go nuts. In northeast Ohio alone in the last two years, two CCW permit holders have killed innocent people in cold blood. One shot a parking attendant in a dispute over a space in a garage, the other killed a cop.

    Notable fact: The victim in the former case was ALSO a CCW holder, and had his gun on him at the time, and never even had a chance to fire it. Just as an example of how useful such a thing might or might not be.

  35. Anderson says

    "So I can plink longer in the backyard between pauses to reload."

    Moral idiocy, exemplified. SIX PEOPLE DEAD, and we're supposed to care about "plinking longer"?

  36. Warren Terra says

    @Malcolm

    (Warren): “Malcolm, you do realize we’re measuring an actual nine-year old girl against your hypothetical pack of feral dogs that isn’t even fazed by the first ten shots?”

    Sure. Same as if she was killed in a crosswalk, and I’m measuring her life against the convenience of driving to the grocery store. So,…let’s give up cars?

    I might get five or so dogs with those ten shots.

    And after you've gotten the first five or so of your hypothetical six or more slavering hell-hounds, the others won't even be startled by the noise or the carnage? This, in your hypothetical situation which you're still measuring against an actual nine-year-old?

    Remember, we're not questioning your right to carry a firearm for self defense, fun, or manhood-enhancement. We're questioning your ability to carry a version specifically optimized to kill masses of people. Comparing this to driving to the grocery store is inappropriate; the comparison would be more apt if your car had spikes or knives sticking out of it, so it would look cool or something. The answer isn't to give up cars, it's to give up cars specifically designed to leave a trail of carnage in their wake. Take a real-world example: metal "Roo Bars". Metal "Roo bars" were briefly popular on cars sold for urban transport in the US because they "looked cool", but in the absence of large fauna wandering onto rural roads their only actual purpose was to maximize the damage inflicted in collisions with pedestrians. They were banned in the EU for this reason; public disapproval and possible civil liability largely wiped them out here in the US.

    (Warren): “And how many bullets did that .45 hold?”

    Nine, probably, but .45 is a lot bigger than 9 mm.

    This debate is about clips carrying many more than nine bullets – so your whole bear-encounter he-man example is moot. No one is questioning the right of Grizzly Adams to carry his hand cannon; they're just doubting his need to shoot several bears a half-dozen times each without reloading.

    - – - -

    @Jeff Morelock,

    Another reason people need 30 round magazines is because they exist and criminals have them and use them against innocent civilians. People you need to wake up. I am a former homicide detective and SWAT officer and people need guns equal and greater to what criminals have and will always have so they can protect themselves. I have watched way too many autopsies of innocent people that could have protected themselves and stayed alive if they had a gun.

    Is this meant as some sort of a spoof? Has there ever been a sustained firefight between criminals and victims? What is the purpose of that thirtieth bullet in your hypothetical? I'm not terribly enamored of guns, and I think the pro-gun side spins some absurd fantasies about the ability of a gun owner to stop crime, but I'm willing to concede that having a gun might prevent someone from becoming a victim. But we're not discussing civilian gun-carrying here: we're discussing 30-round clips. <a href="http://www.google.com/images?&q=glock+with+30+round+clip&quot; rel="nofollow">Looking at Google, I'm not sure you could even comfortably carry a Glock concealed if it was holding a 30 round clip – much less the 100-round magazines Brett apparently has several of (in Brett's case, 100-round magazines for a weapon you'd have to be built like a linebacker to carry subtly, much less carry concealed). What crime scenario do you imagine someone in where that thirtieth bullet (without reloading, mind you) would make a difference? Malcolm at least has the courtesy to imagine massive hordes of slavering dumb beasts undaunted by the first dozen bullets and first half-dozen casualties; what's your excuse for fantasizing the same unreasoning behavior committed by human criminals just looking to make a few bucks?

  37. Leo says

    I suggest to you all: Prohibition. How well did that pan out? The only people being punished by 'gun control' laws are the innocents. If a crazy wants to get his/her hands on a 30 round magazine, they will. Let's let history be our teacher.

  38. Russell L. Carter says

    Hmm, seems to be a problem with Leo's comment.

    "I suggest to you all: Prohibition. How well did that pan out? The only people being punished by ‘gun control’ laws are the innocents. If a crazy wants to get his/her hands on a rocket launcher, they will. Let’s let history be our teacher."

    Fixed.

    You're welcome.

  39. Brett Bellmore says

    "If you think that it’s unreasonable to mildly-inconvenience someone’s backyard plinking hobby"

    You know, if we were talking about mildly-inconveniencing someone, I'd feel differently. If you could establish that me, alone, ceasing to target shoot, would somehow save the lives of five or six people who couldn't be otherwise saved, I'd never touch a gun again, and feel no regrets. If you could establish that twenty people ceasing to target shoot would save five or six lives, I'd muster every bit of eloquence I could to get them to stop, and I expect I'd have some success.

    But we're not talking about mildly inconveniencing someone, we're talking about mildly inconveniencing somemillions of people. And not to prevent the death of five or six people. No, to inconvenience somebody intent on mass murder. That's Mark's notion: That somebody who set out to commit mass murder, apparently planned it for years, would be foiled by a slight increase in the difficulty of obtaining a larger capacity magazine.

    The late, unlamented 'assault weapon' ban did not, after all, make such magazines disappear. It just prohibited sales of newly manufactured ones to the public. Anybody with the mental acumen to buy a gun, could as easily get the magazine. If Mark just wanted that regulation reimposed, he's mildly inconveniencing a hell of a lot of people in order to… mildly inconvenience the rare mass murderer.

    So, let's assume that Mark misunderstood that expired law, (Gun controllers frequently opine concerning gun laws they're ignorant of the details of, after all.) and really mean he wanted such magazines banned. As in, turn them all in or become a criminal. That he wanted a serious drive to make them unavailable to the public.

    Given how widely such laws are despised, and how many such magazines are in circulation, just how much violence would have to be perpetrated to make that ban effective? I dare say a hell of a lot more lives would have to be shed convincing the gun owning public to knuckle under, than would ever be saved.

    But, as I say, the true gun controller doesn't consider costs like that, because they either assume gun owners will instantly obey any law they manage to get enacted, (And how delusional is that?) or just don't count gun owners harmed in the process of generating enough fear to achieve effective enforcement a cost.

  40. Warren Terra says

    Brett, sauce for the goose: if infrequent reloading is so critical to your backyard plinking (and I hope you either have no near neighbors or aren't actually doing it in your backyard, just on account of the noise), you could make the extra effort to find a high-capacity magazine.

    The arguments here from people demanding unrestrained access to accessories specifically designed to turn their legal firearms into instruments of mass murder (plus infrequent-reloading-mass-plinking) are circular. Confronted with a question about whether there's a legitimate purpose for these mass-murder accessories, they concoct a slippery slope argument that if magazine capacity is regulated doors will be kicked in across the country. When to spare their delicate feelings it is proposed that existing high-capacity magazines should be grandfathered in, and only the sale of new ones be banned, they sneer that this will be ineffective.

    I think everyone concedes that a ban on the sale only of brand-new accessories that convert legal handguns into implements of mass murder will take years or decades to have any effect – but is that a reason not to start now? I remind you that – according to Wikipedia – it is perfectly legal to buy a fully automatic firearm manufactured before 1986. I'm sure that in 1985 the argument was made that it was a deprivation of liberty to ban the sale of new machine guns, and that criminals would get their hands on existing ones anyhow. 25 years later, I think we are all glad that Loughner's local gun shop didn't have a rack full of cheap, easily available machine guns. Maybe not all of us; I suspect Jeff Morelock is worried that when a small army of fearless, death-defying criminals wants his wallet he might find himself without a machine gun ready to hand.

  41. MobiusKlein says

    So by falling back to the effectiveness angle, you are giving up on the single sheet printer analogy, right?

    Just want to hear you retract it.

  42. Brett Bellmore says

    "Brett, sauce for the goose: if infrequent reloading is so critical to your backyard plinking (and I hope you either have no near neighbors or aren’t actually doing it in your backyard, just on account of the noise), you could make the extra effort to find a high-capacity magazine."

    No extra effort was required, and I purchased them while that ban Mark wants reimposed was in effect. (Notice that Mark STILL hasn't admitted he was wrong about that law.) And my backyard was 16 acres, what part of my living in a rural area didn't you get? My neighor with the cannon, now HE was a bit noisy, but he never fired it off on a weekend morning, so nobody minded.

    "I think everyone concedes that a ban on the sale only of brand-new accessories that convert legal handguns into implements of mass murder "

    Hold it right there, you just tried, and rather blatantly, to sneak in exactly the disputed conclusion. A gun, with a large capacity magazine, is no more an "implement of mass murder" in the hands of somebody not planning to shoot multiple people, than a car is an implement of mass murder in the hands of somebody not intending to drive it through a crowd. I categorically reject the idea that you're entitled to attribute purposes to inanimate objects, which purposes virtually all of them are never put to, and having done so, attribute matching motives to those who own them for other purposes. It's just a way of slandering people who own things you don't like.

    A gun with a large capacity magazine is no more an implement of mass murder than a printer that holds a ream of paper is an implement of mass counterfeiting, or mass libel. They can both be used for such nefarious purposes, and both are almost never so used. The analogy is exact.

  43. Warren Terra says

    Brett, a gun carrying 30 bullets is transformed from something with several legitimate purposes (sport, defense, maybe signaling for rescue) to something with all of those purposes plus shooting up an entire crowd of people (and, as you say, plinking a bit more efficiently). Killing a large number of people without interruption is the entire purpose of that oversized magazine. I wasn't sneaking that assertion by you in my comment: it's been the entire theme of this comment thread, and your more efficient plinking is the only counter argument anyone's come up with that didn't involve scenarios seen only in B movies and comic books. If I wanted to sneak it by you, I might not have used words like "mass murder"; people tend to notice those.

    Sure, I drive a car with which I could commit atrocities. But it's when I start making modifications to that car whose designed purpose is the committing of atrocities that I've crossed the line. My car doesn't have spikes coming out of it, however nifty they might be and however pleasing some driver might find them, and it's legally required to be registered in my name, fully insured, and identifiable by its license plate. You seem perfectly comfortable with the sale of accessories designed for mass carnage, and only such for mass carnage.

    Do you recall the TEC-9 case, quite some time ago now? A company was making a semi-automatic high-capacity handgun with styling (some apparently purely cosmetic) designed to make it look as scary and as much like the guns seen in B movies as possible, and the company advertised the gun's "fingerprint-resistant finish". The first version of the gun was designed to be converted to fully automatic fire as easily as possible, with kits for the conversion readily available; kits for conversion to fully-automatic fire were found on the premises of the gun's manufacturer fully ten years later, and were advertised alongside the gun itself. The gun had a threaded barrel, for the easy installation of silencers; as I understand it, silencers aren't legal. This was a gun designed to appeal to criminals and marketed to criminals, and at least one legal case surrounding it started with someone using one to shoot up a workplace, killing 8 and injuring 6 more. But I'm sure that the inconvenience of more frequent polishing of your firearm explains the selling power of their claim about the fingerprint-resistant finish, just as the inconvenience of reloading at the firing range explains the TEC-9's 32 round capacity.

  44. Russell L. Carter says

    "A gun, with a large capacity magazine, is no more an “implement of mass murder” in the hands of somebody not planning to shoot multiple people, than a car is an implement of mass murder in the hands of somebody not intending to drive it through a crowd."

    While I admit that I think that Brett is an even worse person than Phil observes above, I should also admit that I don't actually care about gun control one way or another. I'm a classic double barreled shotgunner, who shoots game birds, and finds no use for handguns. With moral cretins like Brett who simply must have manhood extenders I never have to worry about my shotgun, thanks Brett!

    But I have never understood how anyone could take seriously the above quoted argument. It depends on an exactly confined logic that ignores all other examples except the one the arguer is currently discussing. So I simply don't understand why Brett doesn't require a machine gun to salvage his self esteem from not being particularly blessed in the original equipment department. Or a howitzer. Or unlimited access to dynamite. Or various large caliber artillery. Etc. etc.

    Of course, Brett wouldn't actually admit that there's no limit, that once you give him his 500 round magazine, he'll need 1000. Then next he'll need that machine gun. A little poison gas, sure, why not? Brett's manhood is important!

    So Brett, where does the limit lie? You're happy with 100 round clips? You don't need 200? It seems like your simpering and whining about the burdens of a 30 round clip would seem to imply that a 100 round clip is similarly flawed.

    As I said, I'm a hunter. None of my hunting companions over the last 40 years have ever complained about the effort it takes to reload. It's a point of pride to be good at it. It's really weird to me that Brett has a hard time with it, being the expert and all. But then, noted firearms expert Sarah Palin doesn't appear to be able to handle the mechanics of firearms competently, either.

  45. MobiusKlein says

    Analogy breakdown:

    Regulation on street legal cars – high, with an eye to rider safety. Brakes, tires, lights all regulated.

    Guns – much less regulation.

    Printers – probably not much at all. Certainly none about how much paper can fit.

    why? Because a printer differs from a gun in that printers don't cause immediate death when used illegally.

    Guns present a threat of immediate, irreparable harm quite unlike a printer.

  46. Cranky Observer says

    > Brett @5:14

    > So I can plink longer in the backyard between pauses to reload.

    >

    > Can anybody explain to me why printers should hold more than one sheet of paper

    > at a time? Printers holding a whole ream of paper are a clear convenience to

    > counterfeiters, and aren’t actually needed for legitimate purposes. I’ve never

    > done a single printing job at work where I couldn’t have stood there feeding the

    > sheets in by hand.

    >

    > I LOATH the notion that honest people should be subject to all manner of restrictions

    > to inconvenience the tiny fraction of us intent on evil. When the restriction impacts

    > exercise of a constitutional right, this idea should be anathema.

    Interestingly, high resolution color printers sold in the United States since at least the year 2000 all print a microscopic yellow mark on the page identifying the printer model and serial number.

    For reference:
    http://www.eff.org/wp/investigating-machine-ident

    Cranky

  47. Sick Puppy says

    Aren't there better ways of controlling packs of feral dogs?

    Is a machine gun really a substitute for a town leash law? Or a county dogcatcher?

  48. Brett Bellmore says

    Russel, you can't discuss this without impugning my manhood? That's so lame… Typical, but lame. I'd say it's projection, but I don't think it rises to even that significance, it's just a sort of rhetorical habit the gun control community has fallen into, and can't reassess because they don't approach these things rationally enough to reconsider tactics that don't work.

    The difference between us is just exactly that I see a gun for what it is: An inanimate object, having no significance beyond whatever you feel like doing with it. Not an instrument of mass murder, not a sexual symbol, just a lump of steel and plastic.

    The reason I object to Mark's proposal is not that I see it as some kind of symbolic castration. I'm not that irrational about guns, unlike most people here. The reason I object to Mark's proposal is because nobody in their right mind would think it was a reasonable response to what just happened.

    1. The ban he wants reinstated didn't make the magazines unavailable, or even hard to get. Apparently Mark was unaware of that, apparently he doesn't care to correct himself on that point. So, if we're to take him at his word, all he wants to do is very slightly inconvenience mass murderers. And, in order to do so, wants to reimpose a law which similarly inconvenienced millions. That just doesn't seem to me like it passes any rational cost/benefit analysis.

    2. If we assume Mark thought the expired ban was a ban on possession, and that he wants that, then he's trying to slightly more inconvenience mass murderers, but, again, to similarly inconvenience millions for each mass murderer he effects. Again, the ratio between the number of those impacted, and the number of mass murderers, is simply unreasonably high.

    3. Again, taking that assumption, we must remember that laws are enforced, or they do nothing, and enforcement is not without costs of it's own, in human suffering. If you're enforcing a law, particularly a law a lot of people think is illegitimate, and will resist, upon millions of people, for every ill act you seek to avert, you're almost certainly going to cause more harm than you prevent. (Granted, given Mark's position on drug Prohibition, his resistance to this point isn't limited to gun control…)

    It's just a stupid proposal, which you folks would not take seriously were it not for your pre-existing desire to do whatever you can, no matter how pointless, to attack gun ownership. It's almost on a par with reacting to somebody getting hit in the head with a meteor by proposing to mandate that everyone wear hard hats.

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