The Price of Pleasure
Tony Comstock has a really excellent post up on the Tucson shootings, gun control, and the thirty-round magazine:
Buried in the Federal Assault Weapons Ban’s meaningless restrictions on cosmetic features was a ban on magazines of over a 10-round capacity.
The ban was porous. It did not include magazines manufactured before the ban, and such magazines were widely available. It was derided by gun-rights advocates as a meaningless imposition on the gun rights of law-abiding citizens.
But the 30-shot magazines carried by Loughner were not manufactured before 1994. The 30-shot magazines Loughner carried were manufactured after the AWB sun-downed in 2004.
Glocks are popular with law enforcement and as military sidearms. But 30-shot magazines for them are not; people who really own semi-automatic pistols for law enforcement and self-defense find the protruding magazine an encumbrance that is more trouble than the added firepower is worth, even in a life-or-death situation. For a Glock, or any weapon outside the battlefield, a 30-shot magazine is a novelty, an amusement; a chance to make a lot of noise and smoke and send a lot of lead down range. I have a 30-shot magazine for my Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic rifle.
It’s fun. You set up a bunch of cans down range and then knock them all down — firing off 30 rounds just as fast as you can pull the trigger.
After the Tucson shooting, I wondered how things might have been different if, instead of focusing on things like pistol grips and bayonet mounts and flash-suppressors, the proponents of the ban had simple stuck to one thing: the abolishment of high-capacity magazines for civilian weapons.
I don’t think such a ban would stop a determined person from acquiring a high-capacity magazine. Certainly such a ban would not have stopped Loughner from acquiring a semi-automatic pistol, and there’s nothing to suggest the sort of ban that would have stopped Loughner from acquiring a weapon is something this country is willing to consider any time soon. As Jim pointed out in his post “What We Take for Granted”, it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world does. Here in America, we like our guns and tolerate the mayhem that comes with them.
But if the high capacity magazine provision of the 1994 AWB had not sun-downed in 2004, I believe Loughner would have fired only 10 shots, not 30, before being wrestled to the ground.
And I believe that would have made a difference.
Read the whole thing. I’m not typically swayed by a lot of gun-rights arguments. Reasonable limits are necessary and prudent, and the notion that people should be allowed to own any weapon they want because we have the right to bear arms in our Constitution is not only silly, it’s not true. You don’t see a lot of people driving around in tanks, or going out to the range with rocket launchers. And taking away 30-round magazines doesn’t infringe on the right to bear arms at all – just the right to bear 30-round magazines which, if I’m not mistaken, isn’t in the Constitution. I think it’s a lot more about pleasure than about liberty in cases like this. Nobody needs a thirty-round magazine. But it’s a lot of fun to fire off that many shots without reloading.