The title of this post may sound a bit harsh, but I don’t mean it to be. I’m trying to ensure this post gets noticed and might result in a written response from the former Connecticut governor concerning his opinion on 30-round, and other high-capacity magazines for rifles and pistols.
Update: Plenty of traffic for this post, but I ask readers to step out of their comfort zone and share this post via Faceboook, social media and email not just with those who agree, but include the gun control crowd and ask for their response. Get the information out there!
During the last week or so, John Rowland’s afternoon radio show on WTIC 1080 has been filled with callers and discussion about high-capacity magazines and the Connecticut law that holds private, the names and addresses of those with Connecticut’s State Permit to Carry Pistols and Revolvers. I’ll admit I have listened to only a few minutes here and there, but it’s clear Rowland thinks permit holder information should remain private, and gun owners who want access to high-capacity magazines are wrong, stubborn, and have been doing such a bad job explaining their point of view, listeners may think it’s a good idea to have the permit information made public.
Rowland’s approach when taking callers who do not want high-capacity limits is pretty straight forward.
- Listen to the caller explain his or her point of view. Many callers do not support a ban on high-capacity magazines and provide a well though out, average or stumbling explanation as to why they should be available to the law-abiding citizen.
- Ask the caller if they think the public should have access to – as an example – automatic rifles, rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) or surface to air missiles (SAMs).
This simple turn in conversation is a diversion and a straw-man argument. Few people – if anyone – advocate citizens should have access to RPGs, SAMs, armed fighter planes, or nuclear weapons. The question throws callers off-message, and some claim they should have access to military weapons to protect themselves against government-sponsored tyranny. Rowland waits for this response, laughing-off the possibility the United States government would attack the people, and concludes the caller has lost the argument in the realm of public opinion because of the “we should have access to [fill in your favorite weapon system]” stance. The caller is doing harm to their own cause.
I too think it unlikely the government will turn arms against it’s citizens, but I also understand the concept of peace through strength. James Madison wrote…
Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.
One may argue history has the nasty habit of repeating itself, as we recall dictators and governments who successfully restricted access to firearms and wreaked havoc on their subjects in modern time, but I suggest the American people have become more comfortable with our representative democracy, and as such, we have compromised on gun control for the last 75 years. The National Firearms Act of 1934, the Federal Firearms Act of 1938, the Gun Control Act of 1968, the creation of the ATF in 1972, the Law Enforcement Act Protection Act of 1986, the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1990, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1994, the Assault Weapon Ban of 1994, and the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 were all federal laws designed to restrict the ownership of specific firearm categories, restrict ownership in general, or make us “more safe.” Of course, state laws have also been implemented as a compromise. The permit process in many states includes high fees, required training, multi-page applications, interviews with officers, interviews with law enforcement administrators, officers visiting your neighbors, yearly reviews, and finger printing in booking rooms among other requirements.
The Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986 and the expiration of the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban came about thanks to the federal government’s infringement on existing rights, and legislation that did not solve anything or protect anyone. In short, I’m pretty certain the 2nd Amendment crowd is done compromising and additional legislation will not make us any more “safe” than we already are. Rowland agrees legislation including a ban on high-capacity magazines would not stop mass shootings but it would make people feel more comfortable.
Why would you want an assault rifle?
First of all, what is an assault rifle? New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks they are fully-automatic rifles, defined as pulling the trigger back and multiple rounds are shot. Many politicians and talking heads suggest the definition revolves around a strange list of evil features and the number of rounds the rifle can shoot prior to reloading. In reality, there is no clear definition of an assault rifle, the gun control crowd likes to use the word “assault” since it sounds bad. I prefer to use the popular term sport rifle, self-defense rifle, or maybe even evil black rifle (EBR) in reference to the popular color and it’s purported evilness. It is strange the media and politicians refer to the same EXACT firearm as a “patrol rifle” when in the hands of law enforcement, and assault weapons while in the hands of civilians.
So back to why you may want one… (in no particular order)…
- The .223/5.56 caliber versions are very good for varmint hunting.
- The .308 versions are very good for all-purpose hunting. And yes, AR-15 type rifles certainly are available in in different calibers including .223/5.56, .308, 6.8mm, .458 SOCOM and 9mm.
- They look cool.
- Ammunition is (normally) readily available and (normally) priced within reason. Present time excluded.
- Since they can be configured and adjusted for different missions, they are appropriate for short-distance shooting (less than 5 yards) as well as long-distance (200+ yards). The platform – by design – is appropriate for everything from personal home defense to military patrols in Afghanistan.
- They are very accurate.
- When properly maintained – just like most firearms – they are very dependable.
- You can purchase and mix/match five round, 10 round, 20 round and 30 round magazines depending on the mission. You may only want a couple of five round mags for hunting, or 20/30 round magazines for target shooting and self defense. The choice is up to you. Yup, you can purchase 60 round magazines and 100 round drums in some states, but from what I understand they are not all that dependable and make the weapon pretty heavy, defeating a primary purpose of the platform (light weight).
- They feature a reasonable recoil, making the gun much more comfortable to shoot as compared to many traditional hunting rifles and shotguns. With less recoil, you can also get back on target faster. A 112 pound female can be comfortable shooting a sport rifle thanks to the adjustable design and buffer tube that helps to reduce recoil.
- They can be customized to “fit” a variety of body types and shooting styles. A wide variety of accessories are available to make the firearm more comfortable to shoot.
I think that’s a pretty reasonable list, but what about using the rifle for home defense? Many of the reasons listed above help to make the sport rifle platform appropriate for home defense, but I’ll add a few.
Sidebar: During a home defense situation or if you think someone is in the house, it’s best to stay put and call for help. Depending on your home’s configuration, you may need to move or re-position family members to a safe location, but you definitely do not want to walk around with your pistol or rifle to “clear” your home. Even trained law enforcement officers will not clear their own home. They want at least two, preferably three or four trained professionals to clear small to moderate size homes or businesses. To continue, again in no particular order…
- You can mount a light and/or a red dot sight to the rifle to make it easy to used and aim during the day or night.
- It is easy to load and reload a magazine as needed.
- The most popular self-defense round in .223/5.56 is very appropriate for self defense situations within the home, even in an urban environment. Ballistic experts have found the rounds from these calibers “dump energy” quickly and break apart or begin to tumble after penetrating the first barrier. Will rifle rounds go through walls? You bet. Will pistol calibers like 9mm, .40 and .45 go through walls? You bet. That said, there is significant evidence the .223/5.56 self-defense rounds penetrate no more than, and often less than traditional handgun calibers and many shotgun rounds. (The type of round you select is important. Don’t use a full metal jacket target round for self-defense.)
- A rifle is much more capable of stopping a threat as compared to a pistol. Emergency response teams and law enforcement have been replacing shotguns and MP-5 (9mm carbine variants) with the patrol rifle (AR-15) for many years. If LEOs enter an active shooting scene they bring patrol rifles as their primary weapon because they are more accurate, are less likely to penetrate through multiple walls, and more likely to stop a threat with fewer rounds.
- Those rifles with pronounced magazines are a pretty good deterrent during an out-of-control riot. You may recall pictures of shop owners on the roofs of their businesses during the LA Riots in 1992.
Why in the world would you need a 30-round magazine?
I’m not sure I ever would – and I hope I never do – need a 30-round rifle magazine or a high-capacity pistol magazine in a self-defense situation. God, I shiver at the thought. That said, I’m certain that if you speak with anyone in law enforcement or the military who has been part of a two-way shooting gallery and asked them if they would have brought extra ammunition and magazines with them if they could, the answer would be a resounding YES … even if they only fired half of one magazine. I recently read…
Nobody has ever survived a gunfight and then said afterwards, “Darn, I wish I hadn’t brought all that extra ammo.”
- In a self-defense situation, you want to avoid manipulating the weapon at all except for pulling the trigger straight back. You’re concentrating on the target, the availability of the target, the space between you and the target, the space beyond the target, and your sights. By introducing additional firearm manipulation – clearing a jam or reloading – more things can go wrong and that’s not a good thing. Law enforcement and civilians do not favor high-capacity magazines so they can shoot more rounds, they favor them so they can manipulate their weapon less.
- One, two, three, four or even more rounds may not stop the threat. One mother shot a home intruder five times earlier this month and the guy was able to walk away to his car. She did stop the threat, but she only had a revolver and luckily she did not have to reload. What if she was limited to a 10 round magazine and was unable to stop the threat with 10 rounds? What if there were multiple home invaders? Ask any experienced ER docs, EMTs or nurses who have worked on patients who have been shot. Have they seen people with multiple gunshot wounds continue to be alert and combative? The answer will be yes.
- I’m not sure how my accuracy would be. I would hope that I would be on-target all of the time, but I really have no clue as to how I would preform in a situation like that. Neither do cops, and that’s where we find pretty good data indicating law enforcement hit rates are not as good as you would expect. Ten rounds may certainly not be enough. The numbers usually are less than 50 percent, with current law enforcement training referencing less than 20 percent.
- In training sessions or just plinking for fun, it’s a pain-in-the-ass to keep reloading 10 round magazines every few minutes.
If you take the above information to heart, you’ll have to admit reasons 1, 2 and 3 provide a strong case for completely avoiding magazine capacity limits. It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. If you still think it does not make any sense, may I suggest you go ask law enforcement why they need 30-round magazines for their patrol rifles? It is extremely rare – here is one example – for law enforcement to be in a defensive situation where they have used a full magazine or more, and it would certainly be extremely rare for a civilian in a home-defense situation to need the same. Explain why law enforcement can have multiple 30-round magazines for self-defense while civilians would never need the same?
When four armed men rush you in your house – again extremely rare – I’d rather not be limited concerning the number of rounds in my handgun or rifle thank you.
Those 30-round magazines make it too easy for mass shooters to kill people.
What has been totally missed during the past three weeks is the fact mass shooters have used pistols with standard capacity magazines (nothing more than 15 rounds). The Virginia Tech shooter killed 32 people and wounded 17 while carrying a Glock 17, 9mm pistol with 10-round and 15-round magazines and a Walther P22 (.22 caliber) handgun. This was the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in American history. The shooter had access to and could have purchased 17-round, 19-round and 33-round magazines via the Internet without a background check. The shooter just had more magazines; it’s reported he had 19 of them. There are many more similar stories.
If the Newtown shooter used the Sig Sauer 9mm handgun he carried that day with 10 round magazines to kill 26, what would we be discussing right now?
I encourage you to share this post via social media, not just with the like-minded, but reach out to those who would like to see additional gun control restrictions. Rowland has mentioned 80 percent of the people out there don’t think high-capacity magazines should be available, but I firmly believe there is a significant education and information problem concerning the subject. It does not help that gun control activists are telling viewers fully automatic weapons are used in crimes or are even easily available. I’m certain a significant number of those 80 percent – if that is a valid figure – would have a different opinion after reading this post … so share it!