When Norwich, Conn. police officers responded to a man-with-a-gun call in late February, they unfortunately had to use lethal force to stop a disturbed man. 41 shots. Six hits. A 15% hit rate. When the Connecticut lawmakers suggest a 10-round magazine limit, that equates to having one or two opportunities to stop a threat. Then, you’re SOL.
I bring up this tragic event – the shooter did not have a real firearm and committed suicide-by-cop – as an example why a magazine capacity limit is not a good idea. I’ve written about law enforcement hit rates before, referencing statistics showing the norm seems to be less than 20 percent – two out of 10 rounds hit the target.
In stressful shooting situations, most studies show “hit rates” of less than 50 percent. A New York Times article from Dec. 2007 noted the hit rate for law enforcement in the city was 17.4 percent in 2005 and 28.3 percent in 2006. Los Angeles law enforcement shot placement was better than New York’s in 2006, with a 40 percent hit rate. Keep in mind these are law enforcement officers, who partake in regular training.
Civilians would be taking a more defensive posture, but the stress level is still there. In a situation where multiple attackers invade a home or attack someone on the street, it would be very reasonable to assume one defending himself or his family may run out of ammunition quickly if they were limited to a ten round magazine capacity. Certainly home invasions or attacks by multiple gun-toting criminals are rare, but mass shootings like Columbine and Tucson are even more rare.
Look, law enforcement does not have magazines with capacities of 12, 15 or 20 rounds in their handguns so they can shoot more bullets, they do so because they know their performance during a real-life shooting incident is unknown, and they do not want to manipulate their firearm (change magazines, rack slides, rack a shotgun…) any more than necessary.
It’s the same for those of us who choose to carry a firearm. We have no idea what our performance will be like during a shooting incident. Of course, we hope every round would be on target, but if law enforcement – in a situation similar to what happened in Norwich – can only preform at 15 percent, how can anyone else expect to do better in a terrifying situation where your life is threatened and you need to stop a threat?
Firing one round in a self-defense senario may stop a threat, but why the hell are we allowing a group of politicians – voting exclusively on emotion – limit our ability to defend ourselves and our families by implementing a 10-round magazine capacity limit? The answer to this question is peer pressure … if you’re not for additional gun control, you don’t care about the children who died in Newtown or their families. It’s better for most people – even many firearm owners – to keep their mouths shut because of the stigma … the peer pressure.
What happens – God forbid – when a shooter takes out more than 30 people using a handgun with multiple 10-round magazines? What will the lawmakers do? Do you think the 10-round limit would eliminate or even reduce the chance of this happening? If so, you’re wrong … it already did happen at Virginia Tech.