“Gun Control” – Why We Care About Magazine Capacity, Semi-Auto Actions and More

Over the last few years, we have seen several shootings highly publicized in the media.  Yet, as a country, we have been growing more and more pro Second Amendment or “gun friendly” if you will. Many Americans have recognized that guns themselves are not the problem.  This, in spite of media dramatics over shootings of a congresswoman, school shootings and the Trevon Martin incident, to name a few.

Favorable Gun Statistics

On the other hand, Senator Dianne Feinstein and others have been pushing relentlessly for gun bans for decades.  President Obama has a consistent record of standing against guns in the hands of average Americans.  Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have both pursued anti-gun causes like the 1994 assault weapon ban, and the UN Small Arms Treaty.  Still, over the last few years the United States has become increasingly free when it comes to gun ownership.

Even considering the 1994 assault weapon ban, it seems we now face the biggest and most credible threat to the Second Amendment we’ve ever seen.  While the media has targeted the Bushmaster AR-15 lately, Senator Feinstein and other “gun control” proponents are after a whole lot more.  According to Feinstein’s own website, this is what they are now pursuing:

Summary of 2013 legislation

  • Bans the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of:
    • 120 specifically-named firearms;
    • Certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one or more military characteristics; and
    • Semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds.
  • Strengthens the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and various state bans by:
    • Moving from a 2-characteristic test to a 1-characteristic test;
    • Eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test; and
    • Banning firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons” to address attempts to “work around” prior bans.
  • Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds. 
  • Protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by:
    • Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment;
    • Exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes; and
    • Exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons.
  • Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered under the National Firearms Act, to include:
    • Background check of owner and any transferee;
    • Type and serial number of the firearm;
    • Positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint;
    • Certification from local law enforcement of identity and that possession would not violate State or local law; and
    • Dedicated funding for ATF to implement registration.

Gun Control Proponent

With that in mind, this might really surprise you: Senator Feinstein, sponsor of this bill to enact the above agenda, obtained her own concealed carry permit in 1995.  “I know the sense of helplessness that people feel,” she’s said. “I know the urge to arm yourself, because that’s what I did. I was trained in firearms.”

AR-15 and Other Semi-Automatic Rifles

Let’s look at the numbers. Are the AR-15 or other semi-auto rifles as dangerous and the source of as many murders as some in the media and politics would lead us to believe?  The facts are that AR-15 rifles simply aren’t used to commit murder very often.  For that matter, rifles in general are not commonly used in this context.

According to the FBI, there were 58,604 murders in the US over the five-year period covering 2005 through 2009.  Of those, 2,064 were committed with rifles.  That’s only 3.5% of murders.  And not all of those rifles were AR-15s.

Compare that to the 9,280 murders committed using knives or bladed objects (4 ½ times the use of rifles) and the 4,291 murders committed using “hands, fists, feet, etc” (2 times the use of rifles).  So, are we supposed to ban all knives, bladed objects, hands, fists, feet, and other unnamed body parts?

Clearly not, but then there is no logical way to say that the AR-15 or other semi-automatic rifles are more dangerous than blades, hands or feet. This remains true even if you argue that the gun is the real problem, not the person. It’s simple logic and simple math.

The point is further validated by another piece of hard data from the great state of California, a state with some of the strictest gun laws in the country. It’s a place where standard AR-15 rifles cannot legally be owned. With fifty-nine murders committed using rifles, California leads the nation in that statistic by a significant margin.  It’s hard to argue that their stricter “gun control” laws are making a positive impact. The converse will be easier to prove.

If the facts and statistics don’t point to AR-15 rifles and other mislabeled “Assault Weapons” as the crime culprits, why all the focus from the “gun control” establishment? The AR-15 is merely a convenient target for those wanting to ban guns. It turns out, it’s nothing new.

Let’s go all the way back to 1988.

Josh Sugarmann, the former communications director of the National Coalition to Ban Handguns makes the point clearly. “The semi-automatic weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons” (“Assault Weapons and Accessories in America,” Education Fund to End Handgun Violence and New Right Watch, Sept. 1988).

The same “gun control” advocates often compare the USA to European countries, like Great Britain. Our friends across the pond are subject to the kind of restrictions on gun ownership and access that are now being thrust upon us here. The comparisons are deeply flawed, as the included video illustrates.

Magazine Capacity

Yet another “gun control” talking point is this: Do we really need AR-15s, AK patterned rifles, Glock, Sig Sauer, H&K, Walther, Smith & Wesson, and many other similar guns?  You know, those semi-automatic guns that hold more than a handful of bullets… Or are ten rounds really enough?

In our world of feral hog population control, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”  When you are in a wheat field with a dozen or more wild hogs 40 yards away that need exterminating, your grandfather’s bolt gun doesn’t have the ergonomics or magazine capacity to do the trick.  Check off the hunting box. But what about outside of hog hunting?  What about the real world of defense that our Second Amendment facilitates?

Let’s look at the defensive side of the equation.  According to an article in the New York Times by Al Baker, in 2005 New York Police officers fired 472 times, hitting the intended target 82 times, for a 17.4 percent hit rate.  Across the country in Los Angeles, the police shot 67 times in 2006 with 27 hits, a 40 percent hit rate.  While better than New York’s, it still shows that they miss targets more often than they hit them.  Are they incompetent shooters?  In the same article, Al Baker says:

Police officials and law enforcement experts say no, contending that the number of misses underscores the tense and unpredictable nature of these situations. For example, a 43 percent hit rate for shots fired from zero to six feet might seem low, but at that range it is very likely that something has already gone wrong: perhaps an officer got surprised, or had no cover, or was wrestling with the suspect.  When you factor in all of the other elements that are involved in shooting at an adversary, that’s a high hit rate,” said Raymond W. Kelly, the New York police commissioner. “The adrenaline flow, the movement of the target, the movement of the shooter, the officer, the lighting conditions, the weather … I think it is a high rate when you consider all of the variables.”

These are police officers that are trained to be prepared, alert and cool under duress.  What about you and me?  If we achieve the same results as New York’s Finest, we will need to fire an average of five shots to achieve one hit.  But how many times does one really need to hit an assailant to stop a threat?  If Rambo shot somebody once, they might automatically be stopped, but real life says otherwise.  Consider this.  In an article published on Foxnews.com this week, a man broke into a home occupied by a mother and her children.  The invader (with a crow bar) found them hiding in the home office.  Fox News continues:

Top Ten KillersThe woman fired six bullets, five of which hit Paul Ali Slater in the face and neck area, Chapman said. But Slater, who has arrests dating to 2008 and was released from jail in August, was still conscious. “The guy’s face down, crying,” the sheriff said. The woman told him to stay down or she’d shoot again. While down, the woman and her children ran to a neighbor’s house, and the injured intruder made it out of the home and into his car, the paper reported. Authorities found Slater a short time later bleeding profusely in a neighbor’s driveway.

I’d say that’s pretty good shooting and she was using a .38 not a .22.  But if you were simply on par with LAPD’s or NYPD’s hit rate, you would have to fire between 13 and 28 shots to just hit the invader the same five times.

Don’t forget that though the home invader had been shot five times in the face and neck, he was still mobile and presumably capable of being a threat.  So the ten rounds that the proposed gun ban law limits you to would present a challenge in your ability to defend yourself.  This example is a bit anecdotal because there are so many variables, but the point is that ten rounds for all law abiding citizens is not sufficient.  While it might be enough for one person in one incident, it could mean running out of bullets and getting killed for someone else in another incident.

Consider the following from Eric Pratt of Gun Owners of America:

When Matthew Murray entered the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, intent on killing hundreds of people, it was Jeanne Assam (one of the worshipers there) who fired off 10 rounds before Maury was critically injured enough to halt the attack and end his own life.

Good thing there was only one attacker. If Assam had used a reduced-capacity magazine or there were multiple attackers, she would have been out of luck. As would have those New Orleans residents who, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, discharged more than two dozen rounds during one firefight, where they fended off a roving gang in the Algiers neighborhood.

Self-defense expert Massad Ayoob talks about an Arkansas drunk who opened fire on an officer, who then responded by firing 29 shots. It was only the last bullet which finally killed the drunk and stopped him from shooting. Same with an Illinois criminal who was shot 33 times by the police before the druggie finally dropped and was unable to shoot any longer.

In the real world we live in, there are violent gangs who get high on drugs and are resistant to pain when they attack. Banning the tens of millions of “high capacity” magazines that are already in circulation won’t keep them out of dangerous hands. But infringing the Second Amendment will threaten our safety and our other liberties, as well.

The Second Amendment

Hammers vs GunsThere are a myriad of logical, statistical, and factual reasons that Senator Feinstein’s gun ban bill should not be passed. One fundamental reason our freedom to own and access these guns and magazines should be preserved – “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.”  This is the Second Amendment to our constitution.

Not to be deterred, some gun control advocates say that our nation’s founding fathers did not know what kind of weapons would be available 200 plus years later. Consequently, they couldn’t foresee the need to ban them. This violates the founders’ reasoning and intent. When the Second Amendment was written, the guns the common people had were the same guns the military had. They were just as lethal.  The people and the military were on equal footing, and the founders saw that as a real plus in the future of preventing governmental abuse.

Take Action

Do we need to address issues in our society that lead to murders?  Without question, we must.  But “gun control” is not the answer.  Whether you want to own the guns on the proposed ban list for hunting, self-defense, target shooting or any other legal activity, your rights to have them should not be infringed upon.

There are many other questions that remain about the proposed gun ban bill.  We’ve been told that the guns we have will be grandfathered in, but will the red tape and cost of registration be prohibitive?  Will we be able to sell them later if we want to or need to raise some cash?  Will we even be able to leave them to our spouses or children when we die or will they be confiscated as a non-transferable gun?

When it comes to a ban on guns that can accept magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, how will they implement the rule?  Will they ban all Glocks because you can put a 10 round or a 30 round mag in it, or with they ban just the magazines?

With so many questions outstanding and so many politicians and media outlets, pushing for a ban without understanding guns, gun owners, or the facts surrounding them (or just plain ignoring them), we must do all we can to educate as many people as possible.

We must slow this gun ban train down, showing as many people as we can the facts.  I’ve talked to gun owners who say they would give their life to keep their gun, but they haven’t contacted their legislators to voice their opinion.

Are we as hypocritical as gun carrying/gun banning Senator Dianne Feinstein?  We must contact our legislators and let them know we are passionate about our freedom.  We must let them know we are not a special interest group.  We must let them know we are America. Respectfully contact your Representatives and Senators today: http://www.usa.gov


Resources:

 

http://www.gallup.com/poll/1645/guns.aspx

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10tbl20.xls

http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/should-high-capacity-ammunition-magazines-be-banned/infringing-on-second-amendment-threatens-our-safety-and-liberty

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/12/19/Flashback-Dianne-Feinstein-s-own-conceal-carry-permit-story

http://www.nrapublications.org/index.php/12717/the-ar-15-and-the-second-amendment-no-respect/

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/weekinreview/09baker.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/01/06/georgia-mom-home-alone-with-kids-shoots-ex-con-intruder/

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