Legislation on High Capacity Magazines

BY Herschel Smith
13 years, 3 months ago

Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) has introduced legislation to “restore the prohibition on large capacity ammunition feeding devices in the United States.”  She intones, “Though it will remain impossible to estimate, I believe that the increased difficulty in obtaining these devices will reduce their use and ultimately save lives.”  Law abiding citizens who want to obtain the high capacity magazines through legal means will be prohibited from doing so under her new laws, and the criminals will still obtain whatever they want by any means that they want.  Representative McCarthy is a stooge.

Her legislation goes even further than the assault weapon ban that expired in 2004, outlawing the sale or transfer of clips that hold more than ten rounds, even those obtained before the law takes effect.  Proponents have argued that there is no “need” for such magazines.  Neither is there a “need” for me to eat steak, but it tastes good.  When a politician uses the phrase “there is no need” in the context of firearms, it only goes to show that they don’t yet acquiesce to the notion of rights.

But let’s play this silly game of “need” for a moment.  Could you tell Ramon Castillo in Houston, Texas, that there was no need for a high capacity magazine after having to save himself and his wife by killing three assailants?  According to the police:

Investigators said so many shots were fired inside the jewelry shop in a two- or three-minute span that they could not estimate the number of rounds. “We’ve got bullet fragments all over the place, casings all over the place, shotgun slugs all over the place, so it’s really hard to determine at this point how many rounds were actually fired – but quite a few.”

Castillo used at least three different firearms: a 9mm, .380, and a shotgun.  Or how about feral hogs?  Ask the dog boys around Abbeville and parts of Northern Georgia how threatening 400 – 500 pound feral hogs can be to children and even adults, and how, at times, dozens of rounds have to be fired to take them down.  If a 400 pound feral hog was running towards your child, do you think you might want a high capacity magazine?  Oh, and they’re in about 40 states now, and after breeding with imported and violent Eurasian boars, there are about six million of them.

In Des Moines they apparently believe that the framers never figured on a right to bear a Glock, and elsewhere the phrase killing machines has taken on an evil connotation.  In Knoxville, Jack McElroy gets his numbers wrong, talking about a 31-round clip.  I have a 30 round magazine, but you know, you have to count that one in the chamber (30 +1), if you go to the trouble of putting it there.

But none of these individuals has had to defend his life like Ramon Castillo, or had children attacked by feral hogs.  So this silly need game that we just played is a Red Herring.  Can we get back to talking about rights?

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  1. On January 18, 2011 at 8:22 am, Mr. Mark said:

    What if Carolyn McCarthy sat in the legislature of a new country that included only her like-minded fellow north-easterners? Then, they pass all the idiotic, control-freak laws they want to and affect only themselves. What if those areas of the country that still value the rights and the principles expressed in the Constitution of the United States had a new government that did not include representatives from places like New York? Decades ago it would have been crazy-talk, but today….why not? What benefit do we get from the political input of people who have abandoned individualism and liberty and embraced socialism instead? I see no advantage. We have irreconcilable differences; let’s just divorce.

  2. On January 18, 2011 at 9:39 am, Eric2211 said:

    Rep. Carolyn McCarthy has turned into a ghoul. Her political career began when both her husband (died) and son (severely injured) were shot on December 7, 1993, while riding on LIRR by Colin Ferguson. She campaigned on gun control in her district and won the sympathy vote. Her raison d’etre is getting as old as a Stradivarius.

    Over the years she has failed to concede that NY’s (NYC and LI) stringent gun control laws played a large part in Ferguson’s success in hurting so many passengers. Ferguson had all day long to shoot the captive passengers using standard magazines, having all the time in the world to keep reloading for the one simple reason. No other citizen was armed because that is the way NYC likes its citizens to be, unarmed. Survivors have testified the oft repeated “if I only had a gun” refrain, all the sane that survived were adamant that Ferguson would’ve have been easily stopped by an armed citizen.

    Anyway, like the sleaziest ambulance chaser McCarthy is always on the scene of a tragic shooting with gun control proposals so absurd that the Brady Bunch have wet dreams about them. In almost every instance, it is the lack of armed citizens that make these shootings possible in the first place and much worse in those cases where multiple people are shot because there is no one armed to put an end to the shooters’ rampages.

  3. On January 18, 2011 at 11:34 am, Burk said:

    Hi, Cap’n! After Tucson, I thought.. cat got your tongue? Where were the blog posts? Now you write about wild boars, trying to salvage the pro-gun position. Perhaps artillery and air support would be useful against wild boars as well? Certainly automatic machine guns are a no-brainer, eh? Places like Tucson should be a free-fire zone- that would take care of any of those schizophrenics who dare to get out of line!

    To be serious for a moment, it might be helpful if you could think about ways to reduce the incidence of killings like the Tucson event, other than bromides about personal responsibility.

  4. On January 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Oh Burk, Burk, my atheist friend.

    You don’t believe in the constitution, do you? No, you don’t. Here is what you believe. You believe in the right, power, authority, duty and ability of the state to right every wrong, correct every malfeasance, rehabilitate every criminal, prevent every evil, and provide for every need. You see, as R. J. Rushdoony points out so well in “The One and the Many,” you do indeed have a god after all. It’s the state. But your god doesn’t work, is completely dysfunctional, and fails you all of the time. Therefore, you must remake this god in your own image. It is your idol and you bow before it, but it is, after all, just an image. It can’t help you.

    Gun control, when implemented anywhere on earth, fails to reduce violence. Facts are stubborn things, Burk, and I know you wish that this wasn’t so, but there is no amount of gun control that you can legislate that can prevent this sort of thing. I challenge you. Come up with a piece, or pieces, of gun control legislation that works, and that has a proven track record of reducing violence.

    You see, criminals don’t obey your laws, Burk. Only law abiding citizens obey your laws, so you may as well not make them. If this man was intent on perpetrating that violence, no law would have prevented it.

    In the end, right wing rhetoric isn’t responsible. Neither is left wing rhetoric. The idiot Sheriff isn’t responsible either, any more than his school or parents are responsible. And your god will fail you every day, in so many ways that you would lose count. You worship at the altar of the almighty state, but it’s a hollow worship.

    As for “cat got your tongue,” are you joking? Seriously? There are only so many hours in the day. You think I have been silent on the shootings because I somehow believe policies I advocate are responsible?

    Is that a joke?

  5. On January 20, 2011 at 2:45 am, sofa said:

    Freemen choose. Slaves are told.

    She is proposing to take something from people against their will, and send enforcers to make them comply with her decree.
    And she endevours to wage war against the Constitution, to do it.

    McCarthy is an “Anti-Freedom Extremist”.

  6. On January 20, 2011 at 10:23 am, Gary said:

    I have a question that I never seem to be able to get an answer for when I ask the NRA crowd, to use a simple group description. (probably less than accurate)
    What is the limits to the right to bear arms? Are there any? Bazooka’s OK?
    Live hand grenades?
    It appears to me that there is a knee jerk reaction to reject any regulation of firearms or associated accessories.
    Are there limits?

  7. On January 20, 2011 at 11:04 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Allow me to turn the question on you Gary. Tell me – in very specific terms and with detail – what you think you or anyone else gains by limiting the capacity of magazines?

    Let’s not throw chaos at the discussion. Don’t just come up with rules, laws, stipulations and limitations on everything for the sake of it.

    Very specifically. What good does it do to enact a law that limits the capacity of magazines? Be circumspect in your response, considering facts like it’s possible to purchase fabrication equipment for home use (at least there is no law against metal working yet), and considering questions like “who obeys laws anyway?”

    Finally, describe why it would make you feel good, safer or better – if in fact it does – to have such a law on the books?

  8. On January 20, 2011 at 11:45 am, RRK said:

    To the anti-cap magazine crowd banning them now does not take any out of circulation and never will nor will it do any good and those who think it will obviously do not know anything about 1)firearms and 2) the mind of criminals. Maj. Hassan did not use hi-cap magazines during his killing spree at Ft. Hood they are not needed. Also do some internet searches on Palestinians engaging in knife attacks in Israel their carnage will suprise you. so what do your propose then banning knives. Do some research and you will find that the more murders in the US are committed with weapons other than firearms every year.

    According to the FBI
    In 2009, 11,451 law enforcement agencies reported that 57,268 officers were assaulted while performing their duties. Of the officers assaulted, 26.2 percent were injured. The largest percentage of victim officers (32.6) were assaulted while responding to disturbance calls (family quarrels, bar fights, etc.). Assailants used personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) in 81.4 percent of the incidents, firearms in 3.5 percent of incidents, and knives or other cutting instruments in 1.5 percent of the incidents. Other types of dangerous weapons were used in 13.6 percent of assaults.

  9. On January 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm, Gary said:

    Herschel, I actually do not have a strong opinion either way on this particular proposed law. In general I believe that the good created out weighs the bad in this case.
    It seems there can be no law proposed restricting, in any way, the right to bear arms, or accessories that does not bring out the fringe on both sides.
    I did not intend to throw chaos at the discussion. I am told that I am being crazy when I ask the hand grenade and bazooka question, but they are specific questions.
    I have a shotgun and rifle collecting rust in my closet. Being less than skilled with either, I am not sure why. I do know that I am less likely to act on my impulses when cut off by idiots in traffic, know they may very well be “packing”. That may be a good thing, I guess.
    Living in AZ and NV most of my adult life has exposed me to the gun culture and I actually understand the male urge to fire the latest and most powerful weapons out there, but I am happy to do so in a controlled, regulated environment.

  10. On January 20, 2011 at 1:41 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Can you stipulate, very spefically, the “good” that you see coming from this proposed legislation? Tell me what’s “good” about it, or what “good” it will bring?

  11. On January 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm, Gary said:

    Good: If I am in a crowd with a deranged assassin I am less likely to be shot, as are others. It would not interfere with my ability to enjoy the sporting aspects of my weapon.
    Bad: If I am trying to kill some one or something my chances of success are less.

    I also can not legally drive with studded tires in many areas in July. I personally am more apt to run into ice on the street in July in Las Vegas than I am a feral hog.

    Now about the hand grenades and bazookas?

  12. On January 20, 2011 at 3:15 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    How did you reach the conclusion that a ban on high capacity magazines makes it less likely that you will be shot in a crowd with a deranged assassin? I want to understand your logic. If you would, please outline it for me in terms of a syllogism or immediate inference.

    Or perhaps this isn’t the conclusion of an argument; perhaps it’s your presupposition – your axiom because you heard it elsewhere?

  13. On January 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm, Gary said:

    I have been asking the same question as my original post for years. I am not fanatical about the subject. I just wonder if it is possible for NRA supporters to agree that there may be a limit to the right to bear arms? I again have not received an answer. I have been told the question is foolish. It must be a hard one in any case. I get asked a lot of questions when I ask, but never seem to get an answer. I will try a simple question in the comments section of today’s post.

  14. On January 20, 2011 at 5:27 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    I’m not being pedantic with you Gary. I feel as if we’re doing a Kabuki dance, and you still haven’t explained your logic to me.

    Let’s take one thing at a time. I will respond to your questions IFF (if and only if) you can explain your logic to me by which you concluded that you are safer if such-and-such a law is enacted (and explain it compellingly and convincingly).

    So before we get to the issue of limitations, let’s not pretend that such-and-such a law, whatever it might be (in this case bans on certain magazines), makes you safer, until and unless we reach that conclusion logically. That’s what I meant by injecting chaos into the discussion. Let’s be measured in our rhetoric and formal in our pathway to conclusions. Let’s not make up things as if by a random number generator. Laws should have a firmer basis than that.

    So explain to me how this law would make you safer?

  15. On January 21, 2011 at 4:19 pm, Gary said:

    I can not explain how this law will make me safer, to your standards. The same Constitution applies to free speech and the right to bear arms. I also can not explain where the limits should be drawn when it comes to pornography and flag burning. I am certainly uncomfortable with no limits in those cases, just as I am uncomfortable with no limits in gun control.
    I support our representatives enacting laws that are supported by the people of this country, even if I may oppose some of the individual laws. The only way that can happen is by debating and voting. I don’t profess to trying to educate anyone. I do like to hear views that differ from mine. That is why I read your blog daily. I seldom post a comment, though I was rewarded in the case of my comment to section on The Bienart Approach. Well reasoned and helpful responses. Nicer than getting beat up for having an opposing view.

  16. On January 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Gary, you aren’t getting beat (sic – beaten) up for having an opposing view. I said before: this isn’t mere pedantry. This is important stuff.

    Let’s take an example. Suppose you had said something like “I believe that making high capacity magazines illegal to sell makes them much less likely to be in the hands of criminals, and thus makes me less likely to be shot by one of them attempting to commit a crime.”

    That would be helpful. At least it’s a starting point for the debate. I might respond something like the following: “But Gary, that’s not a rational conclusion. You are missing several key steps in the syllogism, such as (b) a criminal hell bent on committing a crime only gets his equipment through legal means, (c) all criminals are incapable of operating tool and die equipment, (d) no criminal can perform fast reloading of magazines, etc. Of course, all of these are demonstrably false since they do not comport with the evidence. All your law does is make it impossible for law-abiding citizens to purchase such a magazine in order to defend himself and his family. You have done nothing whatsoever to make yourself any safer from a person who intends to harm you. Furthermore, you have the unstated assumption that it’s okay for ten people to be killed, but above ten, say at twenty, or twenty five, but especially at thirty, the threshold becomes too high for you and society to tolerate. This seems to me to be completely arbitrary and utterly capricious.”

    Or something like that. The point is that we need to think through this thing clearly in order to reach rational conclusions. If you cannot explain why this law makes you safer, it baffles me why you would support it?

  17. On January 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm, Corsair8X said:

    “Though it will remain impossible to estimate, I believe that the increased difficulty in obtaining these devices will reduce their use and ultimately save lives.”

    So she has no evidence but she’s pretty sure. She is wrong. The numbers will actually stay the same. There weren’t any problems in this regard with lawful people. So there is nothing to reduce. And criminals, well they rarely bought their weapons anyway so they will just obtain their “hi-cap” mags in the same manner that they optained their guns.

    The notion of debating whether citizens “really need” anything that they already had is the very essense of the nanny state. There are many more important things for politicians to focus their time on.

    It is possible that in the Tuscon incident the inability to easily aquire a 30 round magazine may have resulted in less deaths. But it is also possible that just one other individual with a weapon could have put an end to that incident as well. And that initial notion is based on his inability to seek out a higher capacity magazine through less legal means. He planned it. It was not random.

  18. On January 25, 2011 at 10:00 am, Delobius said:

    Gary, how’s this for an answer: the limit is small arms, up to and including weapons in .50 BMG. Bazookas, grenades, and other weapons of that type are explosives, and should indeed be out of private hands for many reasons, not least of which their special storage and handling requirements.

    Glad I could answer your question after so many years of asking.

  19. On May 11, 2011 at 11:20 am, Dave said:

    To Gary –

    Who put you in charge of defining the limits to the freedom of others ?

    Do you really think there needs to be a limit for freedom ?

    Don’t you like freedom ?

    You are free, aren’t you ? (i.e., not incarcerated…)

    Is “the Truth” your friend or not ?

    You seem reasonable – How are these for reasonable questions ?

    You said “It appears to me that there is a knee-jerk reaction to reject any regulation of firearms or the associated accesories”…

    Well, it appears to me that your perceptions serve you well.

    There is and should be a reaction of that nature here in our still-great country.

    The founders were so adamant that there would not be any limit to this particular freedom / right that they gave us the second amendment.

    (Thanks, gents.)

    I believe this is why you’d like to get the “NRA crowd” to “admit that there’s a limit” to this freedom – since that would be the first step in imposing it.

    The second amendment says:

    “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.”

    They were so darn determined to make sure that no limit on this right (which, contrary to the opinion of many is not granted us by this amendment) is ever put into place that they created this amendment; And it is that sentence which provides the answer to your question “Are there limits ?”, my friend. In this case, no.

    No limits. Not even an infringement, which I believe is infinitesimally smaller.

    Am I saying it’s un-American to suggest that “a little” infringement – even a minor, administrative, well-intended, possibly misguided, might-save-your- sorry-soul-in-a-gunfight-someday-if-the-stars-are-aligned-or-your-gods-are malign piece of legislation (Like Rep. McCarthy’s) might in reality be worth considering ?


    For those readers that would appreciate it, here’s rule #1 from the USMC’s “Rules For A Gunfight”:

    1. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.

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You are currently reading "Legislation on High Capacity Magazines", entry #6006 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Federal Firearms Laws,Firearms,Second Amendment and was published January 18th, 2011 by Herschel Smith.

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