by Matthew Brooks
Let’s assume for the moment that there is a re-enactment of the federal assault weapons ban that was in effect from 1994-2004.
This ban, among other things, restricted further manufacture and sale of standard capacity magazines with the exception of those manufactured for “GOV/LE USE ONLY”. After the enactment of this law, the only persons who could purchase factory-new standard capacity magazines were government employees bearing the appropriate letterhead and approval from their agency.
For ten years no civilian could purchase a new standard capacity magazine, and any standard capacity magazine manufactured was required to bear the LEO-only stamp. However, in the build up to this legislation becoming law, firearms manufacturers ramped up their production of standard capacity magazines and sold them to anyone who wanted to purchase them.
When the ban was signed into law there were already hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of standard capacity magazines already in the hands of tens of millions of gun owners. These magazines varied in size from ten rounds on up to 100 round magazines. They were still readily available to any person who wished to purchase them, and they freely did so, albeit it at a fairly substantial premium in price.
The point I am trying to make here is that short of adding even more unconstitutional and draconian language to the law, there was nothing that the government could do to actually reduce the availability of these magazines. Had they tried, they were certain to run into even more constitutionally-based objections with violations of the fourth amendment sure to lead the way.
Not anxious to get into any more legal trouble than they anticipated, law makers instead passed what they could claim as a success: not much more than renaming standard capacity magazines to the evil and dreaded “high-capacity magazines”.
Springing to my mind here is my very own duty weapon, the venerable GLOCK model 21. This firearm, in its standard configuration, has a magazine capacity of 13 rounds, plus one in the chamber when carried in it’s ready-to-use capacity – for a total of 14 rounds. Three bullets. The entire law could reasonably be boiled down to three bullets. That’s it. The other items restricted in the law did nothing to alter or restrict the lethality of any weapon at all. A muzzle shroud? Surely having unburned hands and fingers would stop crime in its tracks? As did the vertical fore-grip and adjustable stocks that I’m sure made it much more difficult for those with dexterity problems and other disabilities to commit the atrocities they otherwise would.
Today’s police officer, and many knowledgeable citizens are also no doubt well-versed in pre-Columbine tactics when dealing with incidents such as Columbine: surround, contain and wait for SWAT or other high-speed, low-drag units to address the situation. In the time it takes for a spree-killer to begin their rampage, how long (again, pre-Columbine) would it have taken for a police response to actually engage the shooter? 5 minutes? 10? 30? An hour? More? Considering these amounts of time, and the amount of time it takes for an average, untrained, person to change magazines and reload his weapon, how many rounds could be fired? Dozens, hundreds, thousands? Tens of thousands? Would being restricted to ten round magazines have slowed the dealers of death in any appreciable way in these situations? Unlikely.
Fast-forward to today. Or, rather, two weeks ago. We on the west coast awoke to horrible, horrible news. An atrocity had been committed. The anger and rage of the worst kind, taken out on the youngest of us. As the hours passed into days following the events at Newtown, Ct. it became clear that even in the post-Columbine law enforcement world, police officers simply can’t get there fast enough. Sources differ in the specifics, but it is safe to say that from the time the first call was dispatched, it was in the area of nearly 20 minutes before boots were on the ground and moving toward this coward. In the end, the damage was done. He had chosen the path of the lowest scum: he acted against the weak and then took his own life prior to facing the music he knew was coming his way.
20 minutes. 20 long, agonizing minutes where he was, for all intents and purposes, free to impose his murderous and evil will upon the most innocent of victims. I have not read the specifics of the current laws in the state of Connecticut, but I understand it to have some of the most restrictive laws in the country regarding firearms. They even suffer from their own version of an “assault weapon” ban. And yet evil triumphed again.
Had this monster been carrying only ten round magazines, would his spree have been any less deadly or vicious? Not with 20 minutes to roam freely, executing children and relentlessly pushing bullet after bullet forth from his gun. The mother, father or child who has been shot knows no difference in their pain or death whether they died at the hands of a five shot .38-special or a 100 round drum magazine attached to a M249 SAW.
It is terrible. It is agonizing. To those who have volunteered to stand in harm’s way and die for others if necessary, we agonize over what we could do to change this. So that there won’t be another Columbine, Virginia Tech, Paducah, Jonesboro, Moses Lake, Springfield, Omaha, Clackamas, Foss High School, Forza Coffee Shop, or Newtwon, Connecticut.
If giving up our 13, 15, 17, 30 and 100 round magazines would truly ensure that no one would ever again need to use a gun in the defense of self or others, than I would gladly do so. The truth of the matter is that no law, no regulation, and no ordinance will change the hearts of men. There will always be those who choose to do evil. It’s at the root of mankind. It’s in our nature. Short of divine intervention and a complete change in the hearts of mankind, there will always be a need to defend one’s self or others.
Criminals will be criminals. It’s what they do. They ignore laws and visit violence upon others. Rules, laws and regulations only stop those predisposed to follow the laws.
To those who proclaim loudly and arrogantly that I and others like me are too enamored with the Second Amendment, I would ask you this: Shouldn’t we all be enamored with our rights? Our God-given, unalienable, and un-infringeable rights? Our right to speak our mind, to assemble, to protest, to petition, to be secure in our persons and possessions, to be able to face our accuser in a speedy trial, our right to not incriminate ourselves and our right to worship freely? And our right to secure ourselves and our freedom by keeping and bearing arms?
Calling those of us who believe in what the founding fathers of this nation firmly established for all time selfish? A little broad and overreaching, isn’t it? What is the right to feel safe? If someone feels safe shrouding themselves in an illusion of police protection and a government-sponsored nanny state, then they are free to do so. However, when those moments of clarity are brought to the them at the end of the smoking barrel of a murderous coward, when they are brought back to the sharp reality of life, that the government and the police cannot protect everyone in every situation, it is up to them to try to reason the cause of their lack of safety.
…who have already had this moment of clarity;
…who have thought about the logical conclusion of what a under-armed or disarmed society really represents;
…who have acted to take steps they deem appropriate to secure for themselves their lives and their enjoyment of liberty;
I would only ask to be left alone by those who wish to impose their social engineering schemes upon us.
We have the right to defend ourselves and if we choose to do so with a GLOCK 17 with a 33 round magazine attached to it we are free, and should remain free, to do so.
For those who wish to take them from us who continue to live peaceably and without harming others, have you been honest with yourself? What are you trying to accomplish? History has shown without ambiguity that disarming society has the opposite of the advertised claim of reducing crime or danger.
Everyone is responsible for themselves.