Aurora Shootings Will Not Lead To Restrictions On Gun Ownership

Don't look for an effort to enact new gun laws in the wake of the Aurora shootings.

On Friday, mere hours after the shootings at the Cinemark 16 in Aurora, Colorado had first become news, The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza made the point that the event was unlikely to lead to any significant changes to in America’s gun laws:

In 1990, almost eight in ten Americans said that the “laws covering the sales of firearms” should be made “more strict” while just 10 percent said they should be made “less strict” or “kept as they are now”. By 2010, those numbers had drastically shifted with 54 percent preferring less strict or no change in guns laws and 44 percent believing gun laws should be made more strict.

Public opinion has also proven immune to past high profile tragedies involving guns.

In 1999, when Gallup asked the question six times after the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, the number of those in favor of stricter laws ranged from 60 to 66 percent. The “less strict” number ranged from 5 to 9 percent and the “stay the same” number ranged from 25 to 31 percent.

The opinions were similar after the shootings at Virginia Tech in April 2007. By October of that year, 51 percent favored stricter gun laws, a 5 percent decline from a similar Gallup survey taken in the fall of 2006. (Here’s more on how Virginia Tech didn’t move the needle on gun control.)

And, in the wake of the attempted assassination of Giffords, that pattern played out again — with little obvious change in how people view society’s relationship with guns.

A Pew Research Center poll conducted in April of this year showed that 49 percent of people said the right to own guns was more important while 45 percent said it was more important to control gun ownership. Those numbers were unchanged from a Pew survey conducted Jan. 13-16, 2011 — just days after Giffords was shot in Tucson.

That the numbers on gun control remain steady even in the aftermath of such high profile events like Columbine, Virginia Tech and the Giffords shooting suggests that people simply don’t equate these incidents of violence with the broader debate over the right role for guns in our society. They view them as entirely separate conversations — and that’s why the tragedy in Aurora isn’t likely to change the political conversation over guns either.

I was critical of Cillizzaa at the time this article as posted mostly because I thought thought that it was a bit crass to be moving on to the political arguments less than five hours after 12 people (at the time we thought it was 14) had been killed while trying to watch a movie. Nonetheless, he’s largely correct here. Indeed, what one sees in the polls is that the shift toward favoring fewer restrictions on the the right to own guns has taken place even while these high profile shootings were taking place. There was some pause after the Columbine incident, of course, but that’s largely because it involved children. There was a similar pause after the Virginia Tech shootings, again the fact that young people were the victims was likely the reason for that. Even in those cases, though, there was no groundswell of support for, say, reviving the ban on so-called “assault weapons,” or any other such restrictions advocated by gun control proponents. Additionally, as Rachel Werner points out, opposition to gun control has increased significantly since President Obama was elected. Indeed, shortly after the election there was a fear in the gun rights community that an Obama Presidency, combined with a Democratic Congress, would lead to significant new federal legislation. Of course, it did not.

One of the first gun control proponents to speak out after the Aurora shootings was New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who called on both Presidential candidates to make their position on gun control clear. However, as The New York Times notes today, both President Obama and Mitt Romney have avoided using the event as an opportunity to revive the gun control debate:

President Obama and his challenger, Mitt Romney, echoed each other in embracing the role of national grief counselor in the wake of the deadly rampage in Colorado last week, offering stirring words of condolence and comfort.

But neither has responded to calls for a renewed debate over how to prevent gun violence. Asked on Sunday whether Mr. Obama favored new gun control initiatives, his spokesman, Jay Carney, twice said the main focus of the president — who four years ago called for an assault-weapons ban — was to “protect Second Amendment rights.”

“He believes we need to take steps that protect Second Amendment rights of the American people but that ensure that we are not allowing weapons into the hands of individuals who should not, by existing law, obtain those weapons,” Mr. Carney said on Air Force One as the president flew to Colorado to meet with survivors of the mass shooting.

“If he had said almost anything else it would be used in a fund-raising appeal by the N.R.A.,” said Representative Earl Blumenauer, Democrat of Oregon. “There are very few political leaders that think there is any opportunity in a constructive way to do something in this political climate.”

For his part, Mr. Romney reiterated Monday that he saw no need to renew the federal ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004.

“I still believe that the Second Amendment is the right course to preserve and defend and don’t believe that new laws are going to make a difference in this type of tragedy,” Mr. Romney told CNBC.

Both candidates have supported gun control in the past, but their views shifted as Americans have backed away from stricter gun laws, and both men have felt a political sting from earlier positions.

Mr. Obama’s remark in 2008 that rural voters “cling to guns or religion” wreaked political damage on him four years ago, exposing him to charges of elitism.

Mr. Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, signed a ban on assault weapons and quadrupled the fee for gun licenses — positions used to attack him in the primary race and pry away support by the Republican base.

Notwithstanding the possibility of some perfunctory statements from the President or other Democrats during the course of the campaign, don’t expect this situation to change, and don’t expect legislation of any kind to make it through Congress any time in the near future. The reasons for this are many, but it basically boils down to the poll numbers that Cillizza cites above. There was a time when support for increased gun control was popular with the general public and, indeed, the laws that are on the books today in much of the Northeast and other states dominated by Democrats are a reflection of those days. Those days are over, however, and the changes started happening in the 1990s.

There’s no question that part of the reason for the change in public attitudes about guns can be traced to the shift in conservative thought that began to occur when Bill Clinton was elected President. Indeed, there is at least some evidence in favor of the proposition that the one piece of legislation that did more to lead to the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress was the ban on so-called “assault weapons” that was signed into law a mere six weeks before Election Day in 1994. The law had been a hot topic of debate throughout the year, and had aroused political activism from the National Rifle Association to a greater degree than had been seen in the past, at least at a national level. In Districts throughout the country, Congressmen and Senators who had voted in favor of the ban suddenly found themselves in danger and, when that first Tuesday after the first Monday in November came, out of a job. From that day forward, Democrats of all stripes have been incredibly reluctant to pursue any kind of gun legislation for fear of becoming a target of the NRA and other gun control groups.

It’s not just Republicans, though. Many Democrats represents states and districts where gun ownership is a an important issue for voters and they would be likely to join with Republicans in blocking legislation. Some of the candidates that the NRA has endorsed in the past, such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, are in a positions of power that give them the ability to block legislation from even getting to the floor if they wish. Far from being just a Republican thing, support for gun rights is actually quite bipartisan even in the current Congress, with the difference seemingly being more regional than party-based. That, most likely, is the reason why serious anti-gun legislation never made it through Congress during the two years that the Democrats had control of both the House and the Senate.

Finally, of course, there’s the fact that the legal climate for gun control laws is far less favorable than it used to be. In D.C. v. Heller, the Supreme Court for the first time recognized a personal right to keep and bear arms under the 2nd Amendment, and it expanded that right to cover state laws in McDonald v. Chicago it held that the Amendment, and the ruling in Heller, apply to the states. While the Court left open the question of what types of regulations would be considered reasonable under the law, the opinions make clear that laws that essentially serve as outright bans on ownership are not likely to be considered Constitutional. Obviously, this is a question the answer to which will be heavily influenced by the make up of the Supreme Court over the coming years, but the Court’s ruling arguably creates a strong presumption against broad restrictions on ownership of guns, thus causing legislators to consciously (or sub-consciously perhaps) limit themselves.

At least for the time being, we appear to have reached a point in the debate over gun rights where the public isn’t willing to accept further restrictions on their rights. Unless that changes, the law isn’t going to change at all.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Crime, Law and the Courts, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. legion says:

    You’re sadly correct, Doug. The only thing that will change this is if Members of Congress – themselves or their direct family members – become affected by gun violence. It simply does not matter how many “ordinary” peoples’ lives are destroyed by tragedies like this; the rules will not change until the people who make those rules see the problem.

  2. mattb says:

    As a complete aside — I have to wonder about how the rise of first person shooting video games, and the increase in arcade gun “simulation” games might tie into all of this.

  3. At least for the time being, we appear to have reached a point in the debate over gun rights where the public isn’t willing to accept further restrictions on their rights. Unless that changes, the law isn’t going to change at all.

    As you frame that, the fact that you can’t buy a Thompson sub-machine gun, something you could do in Ma Barker’s day, is a “restriction on our rights.”

    The purpose of the NFA, enacted in 1934, was to regulate what were considered “gangster weapons” such as machine guns and short barreled shotguns.

    Under the original Act, NFA “firearms” were machine guns, short-barreled rifles (SBR), short-barreled shotguns (SBS), any other weapons (AOW or concealable weapons other than pistol or revolver) and silencers for any type of firearm NFA or non-NFA. Minimum barrel length was soon amended to 16 inches for rimfire rifles and by 1960 had been amended to 16 inches for centerfire rifles as well.

    Frankly, I think are all a little psycho, if we can’t have that kind of pragmatism today.

  4. @mattb:

    As a complete aside — I have to wonder about how the rise of first person shooting video games, and the increase in arcade gun “simulation” games might tie into all of this.

    Given that crime rates have been dropping steadily since the early 80s even as video game playing soared, your hypothesis seems unlikely.

  5. Andy says:

    @mattb: They’ve either had no effect or a negative effect on gun violence which peaked in the early 1990’s.

  6. Andy says:

    @john personna:

    Frankly, I think are all a little psycho, if we can’t have that kind of pragmatism today.

    I don’t understand – the NFA is still in effect so how are we less pragmatic today than we were then?

  7. @Andy:

    I’m sure you saw what happened when we tried to talk about large magazines, and whether any restriction should be considered.

    We did not get a pragmatic response, that large magazines are unlike NFA restrictions in this or that way. No, we got something a little like the tax arguments. Current law is taken as given and any new restriction is absolute.

  8. @Andy:

    You know, the Thompson was very much the AR-15 of its day. It was targeted in law not because normal people didn’t like having them, but because the trade-off was considered fair. The restriction to citizens was accepted for the restriction to criminals.

  9. mattb says:

    @Stormy Dragon & @Andy:

    Oops… sorry wasn’t clear enough. I didn’t mean to tie video games to violent behavior (that jury is still out and its difficult to see how that particular thesis can ever be satisfactorily proven or disproven).

    What I was more interested in was Doug’s writing that:

    There was a time when support for increased gun control was popular with the general public and, indeed, the laws that are on the books today in much of the Northeast and other states dominated by Democrats are a reflection of those days. Those days are over, however, and the changes started happening in the 1990s.

    Clearly, the NRA and other advocacy groups have greatly improved their lobbying efforts.

    But in addition to that, I’m wondering if, generally speaking, Americans have trended back towards being more comfortable with guns.

    The mainstreaming of gun culture that goes back at least as far as the mid aughts (the emergence of women’s “fashion guns” is one example, but I can think of a lot of others). Clearly 9/11 has something to do with this — and the sudden attention to our vulnerabilities. But it isn’t just about safety (empowerment is another part of it as well).

    It also occurs to me that, during that same period, video games (Wolfenstien and Doom hit just about the same time as the assault weapons ban) a wider amount of our population has had more intimate interactions with guns than in previous generations.

  10. Also, I see that Doug drops the “so called” words up above. They are shield words for what is very much an assault rifle. NRA coaching has people drop them in anyway.

    Batman Shooter Used a Gun that Was Banned Until 2004

    I actually think AR-15’s are kind of neat, but I can give up my right to buy one if it means the next spree killer has to try a little harder.

  11. C. Clavin says:

    Norquist is second only to the NRA in having lawmakers under their total and absolute contol.
    Thanks to them the (imaginary) Second Amendment Rights of loons like Holmes trump your right to sit in a movie theatre without being shot in the face. Unfortunately, that’s the way we seem to like it.
    http://billmoyers.com/2012/07/21/the-nra-has-america-living-under-the-gun/
    http://www.salon.com/2012/07/22/jason_alexanders_amazing_gun_rant/

  12. Andy says:

    @john personna: An AR-15 isn’t substantially different in terms of capabilities from hundreds of other semi-auto rifles. I’m not sure how banning them would accomplish anything except provide a windfall to those who own grandfathered weapons.

  13. mattb says:

    @john personna:

    Batman Shooter Used a Gun that Was Banned Until 2004

    I actually think AR-15′s are kind of neat, but I can give up my right to buy one if it means the next spree killer has to try a little harder.

    As a lot of gun folks are about the point out, the AR-15 was not banned under the Clinton Assault Weapons ban. A builds of it were (ones with flash suppressors, collapsible stocks, and bayonet lugs, etc). Plus pre-ban guns and extended magazines were still allowed to be sold during the ban. It was just than no new guns could be produced with all of those features.

    And those types of guns are still banned in places like NY and Cali.

    Part of the problem is that — as I’ve come to discover — the entire area of firearms is a really complex one. And it’s pretty easy for a novice not just to simply get mixed up on terminology, but get caught up in the tons of loop-holes in legislation crafted attempt to control while at the same time doing its best not to rock the 2nd Amendment (and existing gun owners) too much.

    It’s that compromise line that also makes the possibility of future regulation so difficult.

  14. JKB says:

    That’s sad. The Dems should man up and pass a comprehensive ban. It’ll be all right, Obama’s jihadi buddies want a ban, so should he.

    With a hostile Islamic group is calling for gun control, I think self destruct is the phrase for Dems pushing gun control

    As reported by Neil Munro at the Daily Caller back in October, a group of representatives from many of the Obama administration’s favored Islamist groups met with Tom Perez, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

    [snip]
    According to the Daily Caller, when the meeting was finished Perez jumped on the stage to embrace Magid.

    [snip]
    Back in June 2007, during the first round of the Holy Land Foundation trial, then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales cancelled a Justice Department outreach event because of, according to Newsweek, Magid’s planned presence at the meeting as a representative of ISNA.

    The federal prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation case had just weeks before named ISNA as an unindicted co-conspirator. In a related court order by the federal judge hearing the case later unsealed, Judge Jorge Solis ruled that there was “ample evidence” that ISNA and other U.S. Islamic groups had acted in support of Hamas.

  15. mattb says:

    BTW – for those who are interested in understanding some of the more technical aspects of this discussion, the following page is not a bad place to start:
    http://www.gunbanfacts.com/FAQ.aspx

    Note that it is clearly “pro gun rights” so it’s written from that perspective. Keeping that in mind, it is really useful for understanding some of the issues with any bans as well as a better understanding of what the key terms and ideas are.

  16. Andy says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Thanks to them the (imaginary) Second Amendment Rights of loons like Holmes trump your right to sit in a movie theatre without being shot in the face.

    Some people cherish all the amendments to include the 2nd. Like it or not, the 2nd amendment is part of our Constitution and is just as valid as the first, fourth or any other amendment. As a practical matter, I doubt calling supporters of the 2nd amendment names will get them to reconsider the wisdom of the amendment.

  17. @Andy:

    At one level I’m just pointing out that, given the evolution, it’s silly to call it a “so called” assault rifle:

    The AR-15 was first built by ArmaLite as a selective fire assault rifle for the United States armed forces. Because of financial problems, ArmaLite sold the AR-15 design to Colt. The select-fire AR-15 entered the US military system as the M16 rifle. Colt then marketed the Colt AR-15 as a semi-automatic version of the M16 rifle for civilian sales in 1963.[8] The name “AR-15” is a Colt registered trademark, which refers only to the semi-automatic rifle.

    @mattb:

    Some models, variants, were caught in the ban. That Colt could make a version of the AR-15/M-16 and call it a “Colt Sporter” was kind of in-your-face collusion with Congress.

    Some rifles were manufactured with a grip not described under the Ban installed in its place. Those AR-15s that were manufactured with those features were stamped, “Restricted Military/Government/Law Enforcement/Export Only” as well as the accompanying full capacity magazines. The restrictions only applied to guns manufactured after the ban took effect. It was legal to own, sell, or buy any gun built before 1994. Hundreds of thousands of pre-ban ARs were sold during the ban as well as new guns redesigned to be legal.

    But anyway, the meta-question is whether you can talk about what features are needed by civilian users, and which features unnecessarily benefit criminals.

  18. Andy says:

    @mattb:

    And it’s pretty easy for a novice not just to simply get mixed up on terminology

    That is all true. Terms like “assault weapon” are not technical definitions. For any ban or restriction to be effective, legislation would have to target actual weapon capabilities and not cosmetic appearances, which is primarily what the Assault Weapons Ban did.

  19. Andy says:

    @john personna:

    But anyway, the meta-question is whether you can talk about what features are needed by civilian users, and which features unnecessarily benefit criminals.

    Sure, we can talk about that, but I think you’ll find substantial differences of opinion. There’s also the simple fact that most criminals use garden-variety handguns so there isn’t much of a distinguishing line between “civilian” and “criminal” use. Edit: Actually, that’s true for guns in general. In the most important areas, there is overlap between civilian and criminal use.

  20. @Andy:

    “The term assault rifle is a translation of the German word Sturmgewehr (literally “storm rifle”, as in “to storm a position”). The name was coined by Adolf Hitler[3] to describe the Maschinenpistole 43, subsequently renamed Sturmgewehr 44, the firearm generally considered the first assault rifle that served to popularise the concept and form the basis for today’s modern assault rifles.”

    I don’t think there would be a political mandate to go after them, but you could. If you weren’t going to sell out, “Colt Sporter” style, you’d go after semi-automatic weapons with large, detachable, magazines.

    Failing that, you’d just go after the magazines.

  21. steve says:

    There is no national movement towards gun control. It is now a state and local level issue.

    Steve

  22. Modulo Myself says:

    @Andy:

    There is absolutely no one on earth who is not part of the military, police or a criminal conspiracy who needs a semi-automatic assault rifle with a 100 round magazine.

    Can we at least stipulate that?

  23. @Andy:

    You’ve shifted from spree killers.

    You are right that anything can be used in a stick-up, and it would be pointless to target those people.

  24. Mike says:

    @john personna:

    Wrong. “Assault weapons” are a completely made-up category (that differs depending on whether we are talking about the Federal ’94 AWB or the various state bans that are similar, but not identical) which banned guns for purely cosmetic features. “Assault RIFLES” are weapons that fire an intermediate cartridge and (here’s the important part) are capable of selective fire. Selective fire means they are capable of firing more than one shot per pull of the trigger, or in ATF terms, are considered a “machine gun.” This means they are regulated under the NFA, and here’s a fun fact: in the entire history of the NFA registry there have been a whopping two crimes committed with a machine gun which was lawfully registered (both were committed by cops, by the way.)

    A semi-automatic AR-15 is in no functional way different from your average semi-automatic hunting rifle; indeed, something like a Ruger Mini-14 would be capable of the exact same performance but is usually not banned under these various “assault weapon” bans because it doesn’t look “scary” like the AR-15, yet many people around the country use AR-15s for various types of hunting (varminting, mostly.)

    And regarding the NFA, it’s worth mentioning that originally handguns (all handguns) were originally intended to be included in the Act as well. Fortunately this rather dumb provision was removed, but the provision regulating SBRs/SBS/AOWs (which was introduced solely to prevent people from circumventing the restriction on handguns by chopping down long guns) was not. Also regarding silencers…it’s worth mentioning that silencers are EXTREMELY common on firearms in that great bastion of individual firearms freedom, Western Europe. In fact, it is generally considered extremely inconsiderate to NOT utilize a silencer if you are firing at a range that is anywhere close to anyone or anything else (sound pollution.) Right now I could walk into a shop in Sweden, Finland, France, or any one of several other European countries that still have some form of individual firearms ownership and walk out with a silencer far easier than I could walk out with a gun, yet in the U.S. this is exactly the opposite. They were restricted in the NFA not because they were actually dangerous and in need of regulation (a case that could be made for, say, machine guns) but because they were “scary” and reminded people of movie gangsters (something very similar to the various “assault weapon” bans still in place today in several states.)

    I bring this up to simply point out that the NFA was far from the “common-sense” type gun law that you seem to want to paint it as.

  25. @Mike:

    Dude, I gave you the history of the words “assault rifle.”

    You cannot now, in 2012, go back and unmake the word dating from the 1940’s.

    Maybe you are thinking of different words, “assault weapon:”

    The term assault weapon is a United States political and legal term used to describe a variety of semi-automatic firearms that have certain features generally associated with military assault rifles. The 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which expired on September 13, 2004, codified the definition of an assault weapon. It defined the rifle type of assault weapon as a semiautomatic firearm with the ability to accept a detachable magazine containing more than 10 rounds, and two or more of the following:

  26. mattb says:

    @john personna:

    But anyway, the meta-question is whether you can talk about what features are needed by civilian users, and which features unnecessarily benefit criminals.

    I think I’ve been pretty clear in my posts that I can find no rational for high capacity magazines. Not only do they tend to jam, but I don’t think that the inconvenience of reloading at the range after 10-20 shots is particularly onerous (hell, it’s good practice).

    The other cosmetic aspects, I’m a little less sure about. As someone who practices some blade based martial arts, I think the ability for a hobbiest to work with a bayonette on their weapon makes some sense.

    The cooling grip is a toss up. On the question of folding stock to me doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    The grenade launcher, totally makes sense, but only if bans all forms of understock launchers were banned (and I hop we can all come together on how ridiculous it sounds for a civilian to need a grenade launcher .. though I’d also be cool with only allowing weapons equipped with them to be stored and used at licensed ranges).

    The bigger problem with all of this is the question of existing equipment. Part of the stupid aspect of the ban is that it still allowed pre-ban weapons and equipment to circulate. For this stuff to work, it needs to be all or nothing — and I don’t know if anyone has the political will for that.

  27. JKB says:

    @john personna:

    go after semi-automatic weapons with large, detachable, magazines.

    Failing that, you’d just go after the magazines.

    So you want to ban all semi-automatic firearms? Since the standard modern design is a semi-automatic functioning with detachable magazines. Large magazines being simply an extension of the lower capacity versions.

    @Modulo Myself: who needs a semi-automatic assault rifle with a 100 round magazine.

    First off, an assault rifle by definition is a select-fire weapon and those already require a federal firearms license and no new ones have been permitted into civilian possession since 1986.

    Secondly, a rifle that fires semi-automatically has many private uses. It is cosmetic features that cause people to mistake it for the assault rifle. However, change the stock, change the color, remove the pistol grip and you have your ordinary hunting rifle. Although the pistol grip does make carriage in rough terrain safer as it offers more positive control of the muzzle. In addition, large capacity magazines are of benefit in target shooting saving down time reloading on busy ranges.

  28. Mike says:

    I see i was somewhat beaten on the “assault weapon” dicussion, but I just want to reiterate, there is one very important point of distinction between an “assault weapon” and a no kidding assault rifle. An assault rifle is, BY DEFINITION, capable of firing more than one shot per trigger pull, and as such is already regulated under the NFA. An “assault weapon” is just any semi-automatic rifle (one round fired per trigger pull) with some scary looking features on it that may make them look like actual assault rifles, but “assault weapons” are not any different in functioning than your average semi-automatic hunting rifle.

    If you want to make the discussion about all semi-automatic rifles, that’s fine (although I don’t think you’ll find much support for that position), but trotting out the “assault” word is a bit of misdirection intended to make people think you are talking about making laws about actual machine guns, when in fact those are already heavily regulated.

  29. mantis says:

    @JKB:

    Secondly, a rifle that fires semi-automatically has many private uses.

    None of them necessary or protected by the 2nd Amendment.

  30. Mike says:

    @john personna:

    Yup, and if you read the characteristics of the Stg. 44 (widely considered the first assault rifle) you will see that it meets my definition perfectly: fires an intermediate cartridge (7.92×33 Kurz, less powerful than the standard German full power cartridge at the time, 8mm Mauser) and was capable of selective fire. I’m just pointing out that the use of the word “assault” in “assault weapons” is intended to evoke assault rifles/machine guns/no civilian use/evil guns/blah blah blah when in fact “assault weapons” aren’t any different in function from your average semi-automatic hunting rifle.

  31. mattb says:

    @john personna: This is the problem with some folks trying to use language to avoid the confrontation (and to be fair, anti-gun people intentionally pushing language that breaks down the barrier between military and civilian hardware).

    I think Mikey’s point was what you wrote here:

    Also, I see that Doug drops the “so called” words up above. They are shield words for what [AR-15] is very much an assault rifle.

    The AR-15 is an Assault WEAPONS (a modern made up category) based on the designs for the M-16 (I believe) which is an Assault RIFLE. The key difference, as you know, is that the Assault WEAPON is semi-automatic only, whereas the Assault RIFLE is selective fire, which includes a fully automatic mode.

    I believe Mikey’s point is that, since they have a fully automatic mode, Assault RIFLES are immediately illegal under the 1934 ban.

    The Assault WEAPON however, is not, because it has no fully automatic mode (and in theory cannot be easily modified to be fully automatic). So while it might resemble an Assault RIFLE, it isn’t — unless he had modified it to fire fully auto.

  32. To recast what I wrote for Mike and for clarity:

    In the 1940’s the Germans invented the StG 44. They named it a Sturmgewehr, a name that was subsequently translated to English as Assault Rifle.

    Over the next 60 years rifles in the Sturmgewehr mold were sold to US citizens, as long as they passed the earlier limits in the NFA.

    In 2004 there was sufficient political pressure to create a new ban on Sturmgewehr, but not enough to insure a good ban. The political definition of “assault weapon” was the worst of both worlds. It arbitrarily banned some guns, and explicitly gave a pass to others.

    That was Congress trying to satisfy both voters and Colt.

  33. Mike says:

    @mantis:

    SCOTUS would disagree with you, since a semi-automatic rifle would be perfectly suited for defense in the home, something held to be an inherent component of the Second Amendment under Heller.

    Of course, you are free to disagree with that, but saying it isn’t protected by the Second Amendment is pretty wrong, at least under the current case law.

  34. mattb says:

    @JKB: Ok, lets all step away from the idea of banning semi-automatics… it isn’t going to happen. And I can think of no compelling reason for it to happen.

    What you don’t address (though its in the quote) is the issue of at what point should there be a cut off when it comes to extended magazines.

    Again: other than on principle and convenience at the range, can anyone justify the need for a 100 round extended magazine (which btw, also tends to jam — meaning that it’s not even that hot at being a magazine). What’s wrong with capping at, say, 20 rounds per magazine?

  35. JKB says:

    @mantis: @mantis: None of them necessary or protected by the 2nd Amendment.

    On the contrary, the 2nd Amendment has been ruled to protect the right to keep arms for self defense. There was some hedging with common use to rule out a challenge to lift the controls on select fire weapons. However, semi-automatic rifles have a profound use in self-defense and are commonly used by police forces for this purpose. In addition, they have hunting, competition and recreational uses.

    Necessary has nothing to do with it and it is a nebulous term. In a self defense situation, the firearm that can stop the threat is the one that is necessary. The capacity of the magazine necessary to stop the threat is not something that can be arbitrarily determined.

    In any case, this discussion is foolish. The Aurora killer made IEDs from scratch. There is no reason to believe a firearms ban would have inferred with this murderous intentions.

  36. @mattb:

    The AR-15 is an Assault WEAPONS (a modern made up category) based on the designs for the M-16 (I believe) which is an Assault RIFLE. The key difference, as you know, is that the Assault WEAPON is semi-automatic only, whereas the Assault RIFLE is selective fire, which includes a fully automatic mode.

    I was just typing my history, above.

    I don’t think I need to own a bad law. Especially when the 2004 ban was not made bad and inconsistent for gun-control advocates. It was made bad to play favorites with US manufacturers.

  37. C. Clavin says:

    @ Andy…
    In your opinion does the Constitution gaurantee the right to posess Nuclear Arms?
    How about RPG’s?
    Surface to Air Missiles…like a Stinger? Or maybe a TOW Missile?
    I mean…sometimes a girl just needs a bigger gun, right?

    Far Right Extremeists like the NRA…and I’m talking about guys like LaPierre who are out of touch with their membership…have managed to distort the meaning of the Second by buying Congress and the SCOTUS and more than a few Presidents.

    All of our rights are important…the Second shouldn’t trump all others just because the NRA has a big bankroll…and Republicans only like certain ones.

  38. mattb says:

    @Mike:

    since a semi-automatic rifle would be perfectly suited for defense in the home

    And before anyone thinks this is a crazy idea, there are actually a number of solid reasons for using a semi-automatic rifle for home defense instead of a pistol.

    (which, btw, totally surprised me when I learned about them as it seems like it flies in the face of all “common sense” logic).

  39. Mike says:

    @mattb:

    Exactly. There is a HUGE difference between a semi-automatic “assault weapon” and a bona fide assault rifle: the mechanical functioning of the rifle is different. And before anyone says “well ‘assault weapons’ can be modified to be machine guns” a) no they can’t (at least not as easy as you make it sound) and b) unregistered machine guns are something the ATF takes an extremely dim view of, to the tune of serious federal jail time just for possession.

  40. @mattb:

    Part of the stupid aspect of the ban is that it still allowed pre-ban weapons and equipment to circulate.

    1.) The authority to regulate guns extends from the commerce clause, so you get an ex post facto issue trying to retroactively regulate a sale that occured prior to the enactment of the law.
    2.) There’s also a fifth ammendment issue involved. Without the grandfather clause, you’d likely has a “regulatory taking” that would require the government to pay the owner the fair market value of all of the confiscated weapons.

  41. @Mike, @mattb:

    Maybe it’s as simple as you wishing the political mandate in 2004 had never happened. OK, fine. And that kind of mandate may not be present today.

    But the reason there was a mandate in 2004 was that the NFA was not considered sufficient, and plain folks wanted congress to do something about the semi-automatic versions of assault rifles.

  42. On some level Mike and mattb are arguing that the NFA is all there can ever be.

    That’s the old “line in the sand” method.

  43. Mike says:

    @mattb:

    Yup. A faster lighter bullet from an intermediate rifle cartridge (like 5.56/.223 for example) will often have less over-penetration risk in your average house drywall than a heavier slower bullet from a pistol cartridge (9x19mm, .45 ACP, etc). There’s also the inherent advantages of a long gun: more stability, ability to more easily put optics like reddot sights which increase accuracy and ease of use (particularly in low light confrontations as you might expect to have occurr in home defense situations), easier ability to handle recoil, etc.

    Of course, long guns aren’t the only or most ideal solution for everyone, but that also applies to handguns/shotguns/whatever…arbitrarily banning a certain type of gun because “bad guys use them” without fully considering the consequences of that ban on law abiding citizens is bad policy.

  44. I mean, hanging everything on the NFA reduction of AR-15s to semi-automatic fire is like telling survivors “hey, it could be worse!”

    People fully understand what an AR-15 can do. They aren’t under some mistaken impression, with “assault rifle” versus “assault weapon” naming, that the thing is even worse than it is.

  45. mattb says:

    @JKB:

    The Aurora killer made IEDs from scratch. There is no reason to believe a firearms ban would have inferred with this murderous intentions.

    The entire bomb angle is a partial dodge. It ignores the question — not so much of weapon — but of ammunition. Unless you’re willing to argue that face without a 100 round extended magazine he would have made one (which arguably might have jammed *even sooner*), you need to address the fact that magazine allowed the shooter to fire some 60+ rounds in a matter of seconds without the need to reload or switch weapon.

    Again, look at Arizona — while the circumstances of that mass shooting were different — the fact remains that the gunman was able to be disarmed only after he stopped to reload.

    Likewise, for those of you advocating for concealed carry, the chances of having the time to target acquire and return fire would most likely have come only during the reload period. You are frankly dreaming if you think that the average citizen with some CC/tactical shooting training is prepared to return fire under active fire (let alone be able to hit the broad side of a barn while trying to return fire under active fire).

  46. @Mike:

    Of course, long guns aren’t the only or most ideal solution for everyone, but that also applies to handguns/shotguns/whatever…arbitrarily banning a certain type of gun because “bad guys use them” without fully considering the consequences of that ban on law abiding citizens is bad policy.

    I wasn’t aware that you were up for any of those trade-offs.

    Did you actually agree to any restriction? Or are you holding with the 1934 law?

  47. Mike says:

    @john personna:

    As far as bans on equipment goes? Absolutely. In fact, I would argue that the NFA should be loosened with regard to silencers, since as I previously stated that restriction was not driven by any logical thought process and because increased silencer ownership would be a net benefit for both gun owners (hearing damage) and society at large (noise pollution.)

    However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t think something should be done…it’s just that the “something” involves actually sitting down and thinking about the problem vs reflexively banning a type of gun because it is “bad” or “evil” or whatever. The NICS Improvement Act (supported by the NRA, it’s worth mentioning) was a good start in reducing the access of firearms at retail by truly mentally ill people. Which brings me to my ultimate point…the problem here is not the tool, it is the fact that individuals like this slip through the (extremely large) cracks in the absolutely deficient mental health institution in this country. If you want to help prevent the next spree shooter, start there, not with guns.

  48. mattb says:

    @mattb:

    for those of you advocating for concealed carry,

    Oops… that should have read “the concealed carry savior” — i.e. the Punisher in the audience.

    @john personna:

    On some level Mike and mattb are arguing that the NFA is all there can ever be.

    I’m not.

    What I’m arguing is that the more I learn about the 2004 law, the less effective it becomes and the more it muddies the water.

    I don’t think there is a compelling reason to ban semi-automatics. And I’ve yet to see one presented. Rate of fire, isn’t good enough. Otherwise we need to ban any ergonomics that make manual chambering easy.

    That said, I think there are a number of things that should be banned and regulated. And I’d point out that most of the louder gun voices here — and elsewhere — are doing everything they can to avoid addressing the question of magazines. That in my mind is the first place to start — and perhaps the most important place.

    But, I also believe that there can be no grandfathering in, if you are going to do that. And I’m acknowledging that like a number of things that I think SHOULD BE DONE, there is probably not the political will to actually GET THEM DONE.

  49. mattb says:

    @Mike: Thanks for the why rifle for home defense facts — I thought those were the big ones, but didn’t feel confident enough to post them myself.

    Still have a problem with the entire idea of how you tactically move through a door with a rifle, but that’s just me. I know it works well in the military. I just tend to think that the average American home has a lot for the barrel to catch on.

    Either way, it’s not something I’m really going to practice any time soon.

  50. jan says:

    @Mike:

    The same goes for having high capacity magazines. ‘Experts’ are saying if the Aurora shooter had opted for having 3-4 30 round magazines versus the bulkier 100 round one, his gun probably wouldn’t have jammed, he could have re-loaded quickly, killing many more people. But, as it stands, what is being highlighted and held up as evidence of overkill, is pragmatically what saved lives.

    I don’t own a gun, and don’t like them. But, there is a usefulness for them in society, in keeping psychopaths, and those who ought not have them, at bay.

  51. Mike says:

    The CCW fantasy is just that: a fantasy. I carry regularly, and that scenario (dark crowded theater with smoke or some type of lachrymating agent deployed) is about as close to a nightmare one as you can get. That said, that fact shouldn’t be used as a fact to discredit all CCW…just because it may not have been particularly useful in one nightmare scenario doesn’t mean that it is therefore never useful.

    As far as reloading/magazine capacity, go on youtube and watch some videos of IDPA/IPSC/three-gun/etc shooting competitions. Obviously the pros are experts at quickly reloading, but try and find some videos of your average amateur competitor. I don’t even shoot competitions regularly and I can reload a handgun in around 3-4 seconds, and a long gun with a detachable magazine (which is basically any modern semi-automatic rifle, not just the dreaded AR-15) in 5-6 seconds…that’s the entire time period from going dry to my first shot after reload. So my point is that it really isn’t hard to become semi-proficient at reloading a firearm in a somewhat quick manner. 3-4 seconds is probably 1-2 aimed shots, maybe 3-5 unaimed shots.

  52. @jan:

    But that’s just ‘experts’ telling you what you want to hear.

    And of course mattb notes that the Arizona shooter was caught during a magazine switch.

  53. Mike says:

    @mattb:

    For what it’s worth I would say that your home defense checklist in the event of an intruder should be 1. Grab gun. 2. Get family/loved ones/people you care about barricaded in one room. 3. Keep gun pointed at door while calling 911. Clearing your home is the last thing you should be doing. So moving through your house may not be too large of an issue depending on your situation, which would mean the long gun might be the optimal choice (honestly a SBR would be a good choice for a long gun, unfortunate that they are pointlessly regulated by the NFA so their legal ownership is not as widespread as it might be, just like silencers.) Of course, if you have 5 kids in 3 different rooms, and one of your children is young enough that you would need to carry them to get them to the barricade room, then maybe the ability to effectively employ a weapon one handed is high on your priority list, and a handgun might be a better choice than a long gun.

    All about choices, which goes back to my earlier point of arbitrarily banning certain types of firearms.

  54. @Mike:

    However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t think something should be done…it’s just that the “something” involves actually sitting down and thinking about the problem vs reflexively banning a type of gun because it is “bad” or “evil” or whatever

    What I saw, over the last 10 or 20 years, was that people tried to tackle large capacity semi-automatic rifles with large capacity, and the repeated tactic was to say “oh you are just after a type of gun because it is ‘bad’ or ‘evil’”

    Of course, over the last 10 or 20 years “bad” or “evil” people continued to prefer this kind of gun. They continue to shop for them with the specific purpose of spree killing in mind.

    It makes the old slogans wear a bit thin, to say the least.

    As a practical matter, as I’ve said a few times, I think a magazine ban is probably the best we can do. And that is not based on emotion. That is a pragmatic division.

  55. @Mike:

    I don’t know about you guys, but I just checked the stats. My city has had 0 in every 100,000 murders for the last three years. Before that it ran usually 1-2.

    In order of preference:

    – move
    – a German Sheppard will love you more
    – failing all that, then sure buy something, and then try not to get too sad

  56. “large capacity semi-automatic rifles with large capacity”

    I meant to say “with detachable magazines”

  57. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Well, if Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco and Philly, etc., have proved anything — other than misery loves company — it’s that strict gun control ordinances reduce gun violence the same ways in which rent control ordinances reduce rents, i.e., epic fail.

    Another surreal component of this debate — in the vein of a tragic farce — is that leftists tend to complain about there not being good jobs for semi-skilled industrial workers. Or at least they tend to complain about such items when Republicans are in charge. Thing is, however, firearms are an industrial product for which semi-skilled workers provide the key labor. Firearms also tend not to be price elastic. Quality counts. Governments are major purchasers. Price often is no object.

    Ergo there are plenty of opportunities for U.S. firearms manufacturers to be major export players, regardless of relative currency rates. Exports are a good thing. The upshot being that if you restrict gun sales you lose out on those opportunities. Irony.

  58. stonetools says:

    I’m always irritated by these debates, since I really know of no reason why you shouldn’t be able to impose reasonable restrictions on military grade firearms. What also blows my mind are the distinctions people draw between what looks to me as just military weaponry. Why are AR-15s permissible and not RPGs? Why can’t I use a SAW with armor-piercing .50 caliber bullets to defend my castle if I want to? How about mounting it on my pickup truck? FFS, why can’t I just greet any intruder on my property with cklaymore mines or a flamethrower? Aren’t those the kind of “arms” that a modern , “well-regulated militia” bears, as a matter of course?

    Lets face it, Scalia was a pansy when he said:

    The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. Pp. 54–56.

    He should have manned up and tossed those “historical” prohibitions too. After all, the plain , original meaning of word ” arms ” includes “all weapons”. And “militia” , we are told, includes without exception all “able bodied men” . Why should we read restrictions like ” except felons and the mentally ill” into the sacred text delivered from the founders?

    A plain reading of the text indeed supports the view that there was nothing wrong with the Aurora gunman obtaining all that military hardware . Crazy people have Second Amendment rights too….

    OK , snark off. Lets be blunt. It’s an insane country , with insane reading of the Second Amendment, that allows insane people to order military weaponry over the Internet without let or hindrance, and we deserve it if insane violence happens to us. We can’t really grieve or protest what we let happen.

  59. john personna says:

    @stonetools:

    In a way its more insane because the distinction netween civilian and restricted guns dates to 1934. Many pretend that division is not there as a tactic, to keep the division from moving.

  60. john personna says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    If anyone wants extreme bans, you can take up with them, but not all proposals are extreme.

  61. @Tsar Nicholas:

    Well, if Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco and Philly, etc., have proved anything — other than misery loves company — it’s that strict gun control ordinances reduce gun violence the same ways in which rent control ordinances reduce rents, i.e., epic fail.

    While Philadelphia would certainly like to have strict gun controls, Pennsylvania has a state preemption law that prevents it from doing so. Philadelphia has the same gun laws as the rest of Pennsylvania, which are pretty minimal for the most part.

  62. stonetools says:

    @Mike:

    Which brings me to my ultimate point…the problem here is not the tool, it is the fact that individuals like this slip through the (extremely large) cracks in the absolutely deficient mental health institution in this country. If you want to help prevent the next spree shooter, start there, not with guns.

    Are the Republicans that dedicated to generous funding of programs to help the mentally ill? Maybe in your universe, but here on Earth Prime, they are the first to block that kind of funding.

    Their solution to the mentally ill killing folks with firearms is to ask for the death penalty for the mentally ill, in order to ” deter” such folk in future.Such is what passes for conservative policy in this area, other than shrugging their shoulders and blathering about the impossibility of doing anything..

  63. @Mike:

    Which brings me to my ultimate point…the problem here is not the tool, it is the fact that individuals like this slip through the (extremely large) cracks in the absolutely deficient mental health institution in this country. If you want to help prevent the next spree shooter, start there, not with guns.

    Frankly, I find the idea of empowering the government to lock up people who have committed no crime because they MIGHT commit one in the future to be a far bigger infringement on my civil liberties than limiting my selection of firearms. While I don’t think we need either, if it’s a choice betwen an AWB law and a widescale loosening of restrictions on involuntary detention, I’d rather go with the AWB law.

  64. john personna says:

    @stonetools:

    I kind of ignored that part because it is completely unworkable. It would require a different reduction in our rights. It would require that we all be monitored and taken in to courts without any crime. Someone would stick you in a program (for their profit) at their suspicion.

    It is an attempt at distraction because no one would seriously put in that kind of thought police.

  65. C. Clavin says:

    Where are all the people who, during the PPACA/SCOTUS debates, we’re questioning the limits of what Government can regulate now?
    If they can make you buy insurance they can make you buy broccoli.
    If you have the right to own a Glock…why not Ground-to-Air Missiles?
    What’s the limiting principle??? Where does the arm’s race end? Is there ever too much escalation? Can a guy like Holmes with enough money buy a missile and shoot a plane just taking off out of the air?
    When do the rights and safety of others begin to matter?

  66. al-Ameda says:

    Of course there will be no new restrictions on gun ownership – who expected otherwise?

    This is a country of over 310 million people and over 250 million guns, and the conservative conclusion is that we do not have enough guns, and we have regulations that violate our Second Amendment. It is a lost cause.

    Occurrences like those that happened in Aurora or Tuscon are almost as inevitable as a breakout of influenza – they’re going to happen periodically and politically there is not much we can or want to do about it.

  67. Andy says:

    @john personna:

    I don’t think there would be a political mandate to go after them, but you could. If you weren’t going to sell out, “Colt Sporter” style, you’d go after semi-automatic weapons with large, detachable, magazines.

    Failing that, you’d just go after the magazines.

    There are a whole lot of guns that are semi-automatic with magazines. That’s the hard reality of attempts to restrict “assault” style weapons – to be really effective you’d need to ban an entire class of weapons which is something almost no one supports.

    Personally, I’m ambivalent with respect to restricting magazine size – I’m not opposed to it, but I don’t think it’s that much of a problem. There is, after all, a reason why the military uses 30 round magazines for rifles and not 100 round drums – those larger sizes come with some pretty substantial downsides.

    What is more dangerous – James Holmes, gun fanboi with a 100 round drum, or James Holmes, skilled and practices rifleman with 30 round magazines? Magazine size is only one factor and it’s not the most important. That said, I don’t really have a problem with reasonable restrictions on magazine capacity.

    You cannot now, in 2012, go back and unmake the word dating from the 1940′s.

    True, but one must realize the limits of the term. It’s not a technical definition and therefore is of limited utility when discussing potential changes to gun laws.

    @Modulo Myself:

    There is absolutely no one on earth who is not part of the military, police or a criminal conspiracy who needs a semi-automatic assault rifle with a 100 round magazine.

    Can we at least stipulate that?

    I have a friend with 3 AR-15’s, all slightly different, plus about 20 other guns. Is that necessary? I don’t think so and agree that 100 round magazines are not “necessary” either. Individual opinions on what is “necessary” are irrelevant, however.

    @C. Clavin:

    All of our rights are important…the Second shouldn’t trump all others just because the NRA has a big bankroll…and Republicans only like certain ones.

    You know, the NRA doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Why do you think gun control advocates have failed to build an organization to compete with the NRA? Maybe it’s because gun control is comparatively unpopular? Why is it that gun control advocates seem unable to do more than whine about the supposed uber-power of the NRA?

    @john personna:

    People fully understand what an AR-15 can do. They aren’t under some mistaken impression, with “assault rifle” versus “assault weapon” naming, that the thing is even worse than it is.

    What you don’t seem to understand is that there is little functional difference between an AR-15 and any other semi-automatic rifle with a .223 cartridge. Banning the AR-15 does what exactly? It’s like trying to prevent people from driving over 150mph by banning Corvettes. There are a lot of other cars that can go that fast and if you manage to ban the Corvette then Chevy will alter the design slightly and change the name. Again, this is why, when considering gun control proposals, you need to talk about technical specifications and not marketing terms or brand names.

    On some level Mike and mattb are arguing that the NFA is all there can ever be.

    Or the problem is that others are unable to define exactly how they want to expand NFA restrictions and why without using vague terminology. If one wants people to seriously consider proposals then one needs to propose something that is specific enough to analyze.

  68. mattb says:

    @Mike:

    That said, that fact shouldn’t be used as a fact to discredit all CCW…just because it may not have been particularly useful in one nightmare scenario doesn’t mean that it is therefore never useful.

    Hopefully you can tell my goal is not to discredit all CCW. As I’ve been saying a lot recently, I study martial arts and teach self defense. I know that the best technique is the one that works.

    What I take offense to are the people here, and in other places, that suggest that a higher degree of CCW is the answer to these situations or that all it would have taken was a single CCW in the audience to have stopped this event in its tracks.

    I hate hate hate the “sheeple” line of thought (though I think everyone should take a basic self defense course). And I hate hate hate the “if only I was there” types of vigilante wanna be’s (just like I hate having to hear an overweight family dojo blackbelt talking down boxing or pretending that if he ever met a MMA person he’d totally kick their ass because he’d poke them in the eyes and how grappling doesn’t work on the street). Oh, and I hate hate hate the people who push the CCW thing and you just know that if they ever got the permit, they’d never do the work to actually learn how to safely use a gun in self defense or in a confrontation (which I am definitely NOT accusing you of — just to be clear).

    That sort of stuff just doesn’t make anyone safer or smarter.

    As far as reloading/magazine capacity, go on youtube and watch some videos of IDPA/IPSC/three-gun/etc shooting competitions. Obviously the pros are experts at quickly reloading, but try and find some videos of your average amateur competitor. I don’t even shoot competitions regularly and I can reload a handgun in around 3-4 seconds, and a long gun with a detachable magazine (which is basically any modern semi-automatic rifle, not just the dreaded AR-15) in 5-6 seconds…that’s the entire time period from going dry to my first shot after reload.

    I appreciate that you can do that — and those competition people can do that — under best case/normal day scenarios (i.e. at a competition, at the range).

    From what I know about self-defense and direct conflict scenarios, the ability to do those sort of quick and clean reloads is arguably very diminished for most of the population. The influx of adrenaline in the system, the chaos of the scene, etc plays havok with fine motor skills. And while the action initiator (the shooter in this case) probably has more control over his fine motor functions than the people who’ve been triggered into fight or flight, the initiator still has to deal with his body’s reaction to the encounter.

    So simply on averages, I’d rather be dealing with the shooter who has to repeatedly engage in find motor skills (like switching a magazine) than pray for the jam. And I would argue that this is exactly the sort of compromise that make sense on both sides (rather than going after the specific gun type or repeater mechanism).

    And again, beyond the principle of not restricting weapons, what’s the downside to limiting magazine size?

  69. mattb says:

    @Mike:

    For what it’s worth I would say that your home defense checklist in the event of an intruder should be 1. Grab gun. 2. Get family/loved ones/people you care about barricaded in one room. 3. Keep gun pointed at door while calling 911.

    Repeated because it’s correct. ; )

    An in leiu of a gun, picking up any weapon or object that can be converted into a weapon.

    And as a self defense teacher here, let me just point out for the “Punisher” types, note that he did not write confront the person within the house. You have every right to do so, but there are oh so many reasons that — unless the confrontation is force — you don’t want to provoke it (and yes I know that “the person provoked it by coming in my damn house”). Keeping YOURSELF safe (not to mention out of jail) is as important as keeping your family safe.

  70. Andy says:

    @stonetools:

    OK , snark off. Lets be blunt. It’s an insane country , with insane reading of the Second Amendment, that allows insane people to order military weaponry over the Internet without let or hindrance, and we deserve it if insane violence happens to us. We can’t really grieve or protest what we let happen.

    Do you realize that the vast majority of gun violence in this country comes from handguns and not “military weaponry,” whatever that means?

    PS. Looks like I have a comment in moderation – shame on me for replying to multiple posts.

  71. KansasMom says:

    I read through this thread and all I could think about was swinging d*cks. Then Jan shows up. “Jan you ignorant s*^*!” seems awfully appropriate.

  72. KansasMom says:

    @Stormy Dragon: So does Colorado.

  73. mantis says:

    @Mike:

    SCOTUS would disagree with you, since a semi-automatic rifle would be perfectly suited for defense in the home, something held to be an inherent component of the Second Amendment under Heller.

    Of course, you are free to disagree with that, but saying it isn’t protected by the Second Amendment is pretty wrong, at least under the current case law.

    I do disagree with Heller. I’m an originalist ;). Semi-automatic weapons did not exist when the 2nd Amendment was written.

  74. KansasMom says:

    @mantis: Or grenade launchers, strong willed women or Martin Luther King, Jr. Shit I just stomped all over our argument didn’t I? F*ck it I believe in a living, evolving constitution!

  75. C. Clavin says:

    @ Kansa Mom…
    No strong-willed woman back in the day? I doubt it.

  76. mattb says:

    @KansasMom:

    all I could think about was swinging d*cks.

    It really wasn’t that bad… was? And hey, what about lady shooters. Maybe a decade or two ago this was generally sausage fest conversation, but lately I’ve run into a lot of lovely ladies packing heat (including those who go really girly with colored “bling” guns).

    @mantis: That was a pretty epic response!

  77. @Andy:

    What you don’t seem to understand is that there is little functional difference between an AR-15 and any other semi-automatic rifle with a .223 cartridge. Banning the AR-15 does what exactly?

    Of course I understand, which is why you are trying to deflect and distort the argument.

    We were talking about semi-automatics with large replaceable magazines, right? Which are not “any other semi-automatic rifle with a .223 cartridge” as you well know.

  78. mantis says:

    And FWIW, I support the right of all land-owning, male militia members to keep and bear flintlock muskets. Even that new, fancy rifled variety.

  79. @Andy:

    We should be looking for natural divisions, places where equipment restrictions do not cause civilian users any great inconvenience while at the same time inconveniencing criminals and killers.

    When you return to revolvers, etc., do you not understand this, or are you deflecting?

  80. Davebo says:

    Frankly, I find the idea of empowering the government to lock up people who have committed no crime because they MIGHT commit one in the future to be a far bigger infringement on my civil liberties

    Discussions of civil liberties are not allowed here. Doug is pretending to be a supporter of such ideas and no, he didn’t blog back when such things were eschewed.

  81. Basically we have polarization, the flintlock folks and the status quo folks.

    Sad. The few voices who are willing to look at minor incremental change are drowned out.

  82. C. Clavin says:

    Yeah Andy…you failed to answer the actual question.
    What’s the limiting principle?

  83. C. Clavin says:

    @ JP…
    Im generally in agreement with you…but Incremental change? I wonder what 71 people shot in the dark by a nut case with a legal arsenal think about that?
    I’m actually OK with concealed carry…but the difference between a .38 or even a 9mm strapped to your ankle (or wherever) and what Holmes was up to is not incremental. And people like LaPierre don’t want to discuss increments.

  84. Andy says:

    @C. Clavin: The limiting principle’s been pretty well established for almost 80 years. If you want to change that, then you need explain exactly what you want to change and why.

    @john personna:

    We should be looking for natural divisions, places where equipment restrictions do not cause civilian users any great inconvenience while at the same time inconveniencing criminals and killers.

    When you return to revolvers, etc., do you not understand this, or are you deflecting?

    First of all, I never mentioned revolvers, I mentioned handguns.

    Secondly,it’s fine to discuss gun control in the abstract, but if you want to change the status quo, which it seems you do, then its incumbent on you to, at some point, move beyond abstraction. So, ok, let’s look at natural divisions – what do you have in mind? Please be specific.

  85. C. Clavin says:

    @ Andy…
    “…You know, the NRA doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Why do you think gun control advocates have failed to build an organization to compete with the NRA? Maybe it’s because gun control is comparatively unpopular? Why is it that gun control advocates seem unable to do more than whine about the supposed uber-power of the NRA?…”
    Gee…who knows…why haven’t intelligent people formed an alternative to the KKK? Or the Tea Party? Why haven’t pro-choicers bombed anti-choicer…well wherever people against choice gather?

  86. C. Clavin says:

    The limiting principle has been established for 80 years??? What…that there is no real limit? Whatever the NRA tells SCOTUS the limit is?

  87. john personna says:

    @Andy:

    How many times have mattb and I asked about large magazines and how many times has the answer been redirection?

  88. KansasMom says:

    @C. Clavin: Not many who had a voice anyway@mattb: Yeah, it was that bad.
    There are 7 guns and 3 children under the age of 5 in my house. This conversation is just depressing. My kids will know how to shoot and hunt, but the thought of them turning into matt makes me want to move to Canada.

  89. KansasMom says:

    I was thinking of matt from another thread, not the always reasonable mattb.

  90. mattb says:

    @KansasMom: Wait… me Matt or other Matt?

    Am I driving people to bring their kids up to be Canadian?!

  91. Andy says:

    @john personna: Maybe you missed the part where I said I didn’t have a problem with limiting magazine size, provided the limitations are reasonable. Is that all you want to do or do you have something more? Magazine restrictions are small potatoes that won’t do all that much. If that’s the extent of your pragmatic reforms then I guess we agree.

    @C. Clavin:

    What…that there is no real limit? Whatever the NRA tells SCOTUS the limit is?

    What’s legal hasn’t changed a whole lot since the 1934 NFA. You can do your own research if you want the details.

    Gee…who knows…why haven’t intelligent people formed an alternative to the KKK? Or the Tea Party? Why haven’t pro-choicers bombed anti-choicer…well wherever people against choice gather?

    Well, you can either incessantly whine about the NRA on the internet, or you can form or support a political action group to oppose the NRA’s positions. Good luck with that. Most Americans are generally OK with current gun laws, so you’ve got an uphill battle.

  92. C. Clavin says:
  93. mattb says:

    @KansasMom: Ah sucks… but trust me I’m not always reasonable… just ask my wife.

    And Matt(2) isn’t bad at all…

  94. C. Clavin says:

    Actually Andy…as others have pointed out…you’re just full of shit…and redirect rather than answer the issues.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/nra-and-gun-control-poll-gun-owners-colorado-theater-shooting-batman-2012-7

  95. Andy says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Actually Andy…as others have pointed out…you’re just full of shit…and redirect rather than answer the issues.

    Actually, I’m simply asking for a semi-specific proposal for new gun restrictions along with an explanation of how those restrictions would materially reduce gun crime. Besides magazine sizes mentioned by JP there’s been nothing of substance. If you have something more than hand-waving then by all means, please enlighten us.

    As far as the NRA goes, I’m simply tying to point out to you that whining about them doesn’t accomplish much. If anything it’s counterproductive because really, who is going to change their mind in the face of that kind of “argument?” If one wants to defeat the NRA on the policy front then one needs a like-minded base of support able to marshal resources along with a coherent narrative and specific legislative proposals that have at least the chance to gain significant support from the American public so as to gain passage. That support is still mostly absent, the proposals are nonexistent or incoherent, and the base is small and weak, so it’s on to plan B: Roll-out the NRA boogie-man and whine!

  96. KansasMom says:

    @mattb@mattb: You married the right woman then. You are so damn reasonable that I want to shake the sh*t out of you sometimes. Reasoning with Jan?

  97. stonetools says:

    @Andy:

    You know I just hate people who wank on about precise terminology (like the all-important distinction between magazine and clip) as if people should really give a flying ^&*( about that stuff. Do the victims at that theater really care if they are shot with an AR-15 , an M-16, or some other semi-automatic rifle? Would you care exactly what caliber, make or model of bullet (whoops, cartridge ) you got shot with?
    I used the term ” military weaponry” . In context, it’s rather obvious what I meant.
    I also talked about ” regulations” and “restrictions”. That’s different from “banning” ( Oh noes, they’re coming to TAKE OUR GUNS”). Now , frankly, I agree that nobody outside the military or police should really be able to buy an AR-15, but I understand that there are lots of guys out there with sexual inadequacy issues. My hard and fast rule would be no sales of AR 15 over the Internet. If you need an AR 15, you damn well show up in person to buy it ,so we can see that you are actually over 14 and not just saying it. The sale should be registered as well. Canada, a huntin’, fishin’, shootin’ frontier society like the USA , registers all gun purchases and somehow hasn’t slipped into tyranny. And there should be a limit on how much ammo you can purchase. In Switzerland, which actually has a well-regulated militia, you can’t legally buy ammunition for home use now . But if that’s too draconian, we can go to the pre 2007 Swiss law where you can buy 50 rounds for home use. and buy ammo at the target shooting range strictly for use there.
    BTW, I would really like to know the limit on what “arms” you “militia” members should be allowed to “bear”. Shoulder-fired SAMS? Mortars? Bazookas?

  98. Mike says:

    @stonetools:

    I’ll have more to say in a bit, but let me just point out that if you honestly think you can legally buy a gun “over the internet” (any gun, from an evil AR-15 to a good ol’ fashioned hunting rifle) in the U.S. without any sort of background check and/or showing up somewhere in person to buy it you have no idea what you are talking about. That’s not the way things work..at all.

  99. Andy says:

    @stonetools:

    You know I just hate people who wank on about precise terminology

    If you want to restrict something then you need to define what it is you want to restrict with some precision.

    Now , frankly, I agree that nobody outside the military or police should really be able to buy an AR-15, but I understand that there are lots of guys out there with sexual inadequacy issues.

    There’s a winning argument!

    My hard and fast rule would be no sales of AR 15 over the Internet. If you need an AR 15, you damn well show up in person to buy it ,so we can see that you are actually over 14 and not just saying it. The sale should be registered as well.

    Good news, those rules have been in place since 1968!

    And there should be a limit on how much ammo you can purchase.

    Ok, how will you police that? What do you intend to do about home-made ammo? How will you combat the inevitable ammo black market and how will you stop illegal ammo coming from Canada and Mexico? What prevents me from buying thousands of rounds the day before the law takes effect – enough to last me a lifetime?

    Proposals that sound perfectly reasonable in the abstract or policies that work in small, homogenous, landlocked European nations often don’t look so rosy when looking at implementation in the USA. Details matter.

    BTW, I would really like to know the limit on what “arms” you “militia” members should be allowed to “bear”. Shoulder-fired SAMS? Mortars? Bazookas?

    The limits are clearly established so do your own research. If you want more restrictions than what is currently in place then make your case and bring your A game. If you can’t even bother to google the rules for internet gun sales in order to inform yourself of the most simple facts, then there is little use in further debate with you.

  100. Mike says:

    As far as the “military weaponry” thing, this is exactly why precise terminology is important if we want to have an honest conversation (as opposed to blathering on about blood in the streets, high powered military assault rifles in the hands of children, or whatever other B.S. the Brady folks are putting out today). There is NO FUNCTIONAL DIFFERENCE (let me repeat that…NO FUNCTIONAL DIFFERENCE) between a normal semi-automatic AR-15 and a semi-automatic hunting rifle. In fact, as I said previously, many people use AR-15s for hunting (varminting, mostly.) A “military grade” M-16 assault RIFLE is a selective fire machine gun that is heavily regulated and controlled under the NFA. If you want to substantively ban AR-15s (as opposed to cosmetic oriented bans like the ’94 AWB that only ban weapons based on how they look, not how they function) YOU MUST BAN ALL SEMI-AUTOMATIC RIFLES. PERIOD.

    There are countless semi-automatic rifles beyond the AR-15 which can accept “high capacity” (which is a loaded term…who determines what is “high capacity”? 5 rounds? 10 rounds? 20?) magazines. For example, the Ruger Mini-14, which I have brought up a few times as a rifle that is rarely banned by cosmetic AWBs because it resembles a “hunting rifle” yet is capable of the exact same operation, has 30 round magazines manufactured for it, just like the STANAG magazines the AR-15 uses. In fact, since I mentioned STANAG magazines, many many non-AR-15 semi-automatic rifles chambered in 5.56 or .223 use STANAG magazines because they are the common standard (that’s what the “STAN” in “STANAG” stands for).

  101. @stonetools:

    FFS, why can’t I just greet any intruder on my property with cklaymore mines or a flamethrower?

    Actually, flamethrowers aren’t considered weapons in the US, so you can greet intruders with one. There’s currently no federal laws covering them and in most states they’re actually under the perview of the Department of Agriculture because they’re considered farm tools.

  102. Dave E. says:

    @Mike: Kudos to you and Andy for staying focused and rational in the face of some of the ridiculous arguments presented in this thread. You are both a credit to responsible gun owners who want to preserve their Second Amendment rights and yet are also willing to listen to serious proposals to curb gun violence.

  103. Mike says:

    Just to clarify, regarding my mental health comment earlier…I was not in any way suggesting that we needed a “thought crimes” division to go around locking up people who we thought might commit a crime sometime in the future. Nor was I suggesting we remove a person’s right to own firearms based simply on a say so from some faceless bureaucrat working in a “Ministry of Violence Prevention” or something similarly Orwellian because they are being treated for a mental health issue…as someone who is a gun owner and who has sought and received treatment for mental health issues, that is something that strikes close to home. I was simply suggesting that maybe instead of attacking the tool which sick people very occasionally use to commit heinous acts, we address the borderline criminal nature of the mental health system/network/whatever you want to call it in this country. Although it’s obviously to say definitively, it seems that the Aurora shooter had some mental issues, and I think it’s entirely clear that both the VT and Arizona shooters had some severe untreated mental health problems.

    You’ll note that this has the additional benefit of helping everyone else who suffers from unidentified and/or untreated mental illness but who aren’t spree shooters…and it does so without unduly punishing the millions of law abiding gun owners in this country. When the standard response to a suicidal person is to call the cops (who way too often end up shooting the person because they had a weapon…well no fucking shit, they are suicidal, of course they have a weapon), things have gotten to a pretty sad state. And before someone else jumps down my throat with the “WELL THE GOP HATES DOCTORS AND MENTAL HEALTH AND IS TERRIBLE SO THERE!!!111” canard…yup, they do. Guns are one of the few things I agree with the standard right-wing position on, and even then it’s worth mentioning that the GOP’s record on guns is mixed at best (their pro-guns opinion is a rather recent shift…know who signed the Mulford Act, the first of California’s many draconian anti-gun laws, into law? Ronald Reagan. He did it because the Black Panthers were asserting their constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and that scared the shit out of the lily white people who ran California’s legislature at the time.) Look beyond the red/blue divide…just because someone is in favor of something the “other team” advocates doesn’t mean that person unhesitatingly supports every single thing that party advocates.

  104. jan says:

    @Dave E.:

    “Kudos to you and Andy for staying focused and rational in the face of some of the ridiculous arguments presented in this thread. “

    I second your compliments. Mike, in particular, seems to know a lot about weapons, and I have learned stuff by reading his posts. I have only shot a gun once, as a teen, and remember that it wasn’t something I relished. However, just because this isn’t my interest, I nevertheless admire those who are immersed in information and practice safety in owning guns.

    So, thanks for your steadfastness in continuing to be responsive, as well as civil, in your comments.

  105. Dave E. says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Actually, flamethrowers aren’t considered weapons in the US, so you can greet intruders with one.

    Just as you can greet someone with a hammer, spear, big fork, your fists, a giant ass kicking machine or God knows how many other perfectly legal yet potentially fatal devices. Actually use any of those on someone however, and you will almost certainly find yourself in front of a judge who will demand that you explain yourself. No additional laws required.

  106. Mike says:

    Dropped an f-bomb in a previous comment, forgot that was a surefire way to get caught in the moderation queue…here it is sans profanity:

    Just to clarify, regarding my mental health comment earlier…I was not in any way suggesting that we needed a “thought crimes” division to go around locking up people who we thought might commit a crime sometime in the future. Nor was I suggesting we remove a person’s right to own firearms based simply on a say so from some faceless bureaucrat working in a “Ministry of Violence Prevention” or something similarly Orwellian because they are being treated for a mental health issue…as someone who is a gun owner and who has sought and received treatment for mental health issues, that is something that strikes close to home. I was simply suggesting that maybe instead of attacking the tool which sick people very occasionally use to commit heinous acts, we address the borderline criminal nature of the mental health system/network/whatever you want to call it in this country. Although it’s obviously to say definitively, it seems that the Aurora shooter had some mental issues, and I think it’s entirely clear that both the VT and Arizona shooters had some severe untreated mental health problems.

    You’ll note that this has the additional benefit of helping everyone else who suffers from unidentified and/or untreated mental illness but who aren’t spree shooters…and it does so without unduly punishing the millions of law abiding gun owners in this country. When the standard response to a suicidal person is to call the cops (who way too often end up shooting the person because they had a weapon…well no kidding, they are suicidal, of course they have a weapon), things have gotten to a pretty sad state. And before someone else jumps down my throat with the “WELL THE GOP HATES DOCTORS AND MENTAL HEALTH AND IS TERRIBLE SO THERE!!!111″ canard…yup, they do. Guns are one of the few things I agree with the standard right-wing position on, and even then it’s worth mentioning that the GOP’s record on guns is mixed at best (their pro-guns opinion is a rather recent shift…know who signed the Mulford Act, the first of California’s many draconian anti-gun laws, into law? Ronald Reagan. He did it because the Black Panthers were asserting their constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and that scared the shit out of the lily white people who ran California’s legislature at the time.) Look beyond the red/blue divide…just because someone is in favor of something the “other team” advocates doesn’t mean that person unhesitatingly supports every single thing that party advocates.

  107. @Dave E.:

    Actually use any of those on someone however, and you will almost certainly find yourself in front of a judge who will demand that you explain yourself.

    Oh yeah? I’d like to see your precedent for the giant ass-kicking machine. ;P

  108. Dave E. says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down, of the big machine called Gonnabootcha…”

  109. Modulo Myself says:

    For once, I’d like to see a discussion on guns not end with gun owners giving a bird’s eye perspective on every gun in the universe and in its unique peculiarties vis a vis a gun with a name identical to it except with the letter ‘A’ missing at the suffix.

    It’s really simple–we can agree that no real gun owner needs ‘X’, because this is obviously what is occurring now.

    I say ‘X’ is the ability to rip off a hundred shots in a row without moving your head or lifting a set of fat arms. I’m happy to take away more of your toys by the way, but let’s start with extended magazines. Do gun owners get 100 round magazines or not?

  110. Dave E. says:

    @Modulo Myself: Let’s say not. What is your proposal for an upper limit to magazines and the rationale behind it?

  111. mantis says:

    I’m not familiar with these “magazines” of which you speak, but there are some multi-shot weapons out there that allow you to load balls into as many as four or five barrels.

  112. Scott O says:

    @Mike: @mattb:
    Home defense? Where the hell do you guys live? Seriously, what are the odds? Unless your situation is very unusual I’d bet your staircase is a much bigger danger to you than a possible home intruder.

  113. Mike says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Except those “unique peculiarities” that you denigrate are actually fairly significant differences in operation that are key if we are going to have an honest conversation. I’ll make this simple…AR-15 = hunting rifle. Not “military grade ‘assault weapon’ capable of firing a kajillion bullets with a single trigger pull,” hunting rifle. If you want to (effectively, not cosmetically) ban AR-15s, you are going to have to ban hunting rifles (a lot of people even use actual AR-15s to hunt).

    @mantis:

    While I think we clearly disagree policy wise, your dedication to the bit is commendable. Bravo.

  114. Mike says:

    @Scott O:

    I prepare for a lot of things in life…some of them are more likely than others. I have a gun for home defense just like I have a fire extinguisher in my kitchen, just like I check and change out the batteries in my smoke detector, just like I wear a seat belt, just like I have a spare tire…I could go on. And more importantly, I don’t feel the need to deny a right to other people who may very well have a significant risk of needing to use that right (incidentally, many of those people tend to be lower on the socio-economic scale, a group that is disproportionately targeted by many gun control laws.)

    For the record, an honest home defense assessment should include far more things than just “a gun”…secure doors and windows, motion lights, etc.

  115. mantis says:

    @Mike:

    @mantis:

    While I think we clearly disagree policy wise, your dedication to the bit is commendable. Bravo.

    Don’t be so sure. I don’t really see a practical way to reduce violence through gun control, so I’m not in favor of much of it.

    My comments were directed more at originalism than guns, but I was just screwing around anyway.

    Damned Redcoats…

  116. @Andy:

    @john personna: Maybe you missed the part where I said I didn’t have a problem with limiting magazine size, provided the limitations are reasonable. Is that all you want to do or do you have something more? Magazine restrictions are small potatoes that won’t do all that much. If that’s the extent of your pragmatic reforms then I guess we agree.

    Sorry, I was on my phone and missed that part. I should use the computer when trying to read and track longer threads.

    Yeah, as I’ve said several times I think magazine size is the only (remotely) possible move, politically speaking.

    I have sympathy for the old assault weapon people because I don’t think they were really as dumb as gun advocates portray them. But as we’ve all said a lot of this is about horses which have left the barn.

  117. @Mike:

    Oh come on, this is the BS that makes these kinds of threads so completely worthless:

    I’ll make this simple…AR-15 = hunting rifle.

    As I reminded you in the other thread, Anders the Swedish killer owned a bolt-action hunting rifle. He did not consider it sufficient for spree killing, and so he went shopping. He bought a civilian version of an assault rifle, semi-automatic, with large detachable magazeins.

  118. mattb says:

    @Dave E.:

    What is your proposal for an upper limit to magazines and the rationale behind it?

    My proposal would be 20 rounds for a Rifle, 10 rounds for a Handgun (though I could also see 20 rounds for both). This seems to me to me pretty fair for range work and would slow down shooting in situations like these.

    And, if the issue is shooting ranges, then perhaps the law would allow ranges to possess extended magazines for range use only.

    The ban would be retroactive (to avoid the past problem of pre ban equipment).

    I’d also extend it to certain accessories, in particular under the barrel grenade launchers (both the mounts and the aftermarket products).

    Also regulation should close the non-licensed seller “loop-holes” — or at least bring them in line with the rules around selling a registered vehicle.

  119. mattb says:

    @Mike:

    AR-15 = hunting rifle.

    @john personna:

    Anders the Swedish killer owned a bolt-action hunting rifle. He did not consider it sufficient for spree killing, and so he went shopping. He bought a civilian version of an assault rifle, semi-automatic, with large detachable magazeins.

    Mike’s point is that there are numerous semi-automatic hunting rifles on the market. The distinction between the “assault weapons” and “hunting rifles” is largely cosmetic.

    Here’s a suggestion, for the rest of this thread, everyone needs to stop saying “Assault Weapon” or any specific model, and start discussing Semi-Automatic versus Manual.

    John, for clarification, do you think that all semi-automatic rifles should be banned?

  120. @mattb:

    I’d go for lower numbers myself, but that’s the kind of thing I’d accept in negotiation.

  121. @mattb:

    Come on mattb, how many times have I said “large capacity magazines”?

    How many times have you and I specifically talked about it?

    Why would you pretend there was no past history, and jump back to “here are numerous semi-automatic hunting rifles on the market?”

    Not to mention that Mikes claim was “AR-15 = hunting rifle.”

    You know an AR-15 would be very unusual in most hunting situations. If someone brings a .223 for deer, it’s probably going to be a bolt-action.

  122. BTW, when “AR-15 = hunting rifle” explain and contrast the rise in black-powder shooting.

    I mean you are all about educating the non-gun owners, right? Explain why Cabelas has 95 different single-shot rifles in their catalog(*)

    * – cheater count “95 items” on webpage

  123. 6 + 6, A Dozen Top Deer Rifles

    One semi-auto in the mix, not a military-derived design (despite the name), and actually 2 single-shots.

  124. Scott O says:

    @john personna: I think most purchasers of black powder riffles buy them to take advantage of extended hunting seasons.

    “Specific seasons for bow hunting or muzzle-loading black powder guns are often established to limit competition with hunters using more effective firearms. The state of Oklahoma, for example, has a three and a half month archery season, a 25 day muzzleloader season, and a 16 day modern gun season.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunting_weapon#Usage_and_regulations

  125. mattb says:

    @john personna:
    Deep breath John…

    The thing I am trying to say is that there are Semi-Automatic Hunting Rifles and there are Bolt Action Hunting Rifles. That’s why simply saying “hunting rifle” or “assault weapon” doesn’t help the discussion.

    Further, going down the path that X (semi-automatic) gun is different than Y (semi-automatic) gun based on largely cosmetic issues is muddying the waters.

    I mean you are all about educating the non-gun owners, right? Explain why Cabelas has 95 different single-shot rifles in their catalog(*)

    Right… Those are NOT semi-automatic. I don’t think I’ve been denying that they exist or that they are popular. And many marksmen and hunters prefer them to semi-automatics for a number of reasons (perceived higher accuracy, lower jam rates, etc).

    Mike’s point is that there are semi-automatic hunting rifles and many of them take high capacity magazines (in fact, I’m unsure of how a semi-automatic can be prevented from taking a high capacity magazine). The argument that the AR-15 is somehow more “military” or less civilian than Ruger Mini-14 (which externally looks more like a hunting rifle and is marketed towards hunters) is an argument that doesn’t get you far (and ends up leading to swiss cheese laws).

    So, to be clear, the question I’m asking is are you advocating for a ban on all semi-automatic weapons? Or just semi-automatic rifles? Or are you suggesting that semi-automatics rifles should require a license to purchase?

    BTW, I’m very open to discussing the last possibility…

  126. mattb says:

    @john personna: Additional question, or are you ok with keeping semi-automatic rifles provided that they do not have a detachable (and therefore switchable) magazine?

  127. @Scott O:

    Of course, Scott, I understand that. But it shows that those hunters and those state rules are heading in the opposite direction from “AR-15 = hunting rifle.” They are arguing the resource and the experience can work with 1 shot. Not 100, not 40, not even 20.

    @mattb:

    Look, if you are going to defend, close ranks with the equality, “AR-15 = hunting rifle” I just know you aren’t being honest with me.

    Moving the bar, to “oh well, once you go to semi-automatic they are all the same” is not really true either. Not all semi-automatic rifles have detachable box magazines. California law prefers semi-automatic rifles with fixed magazines.

  128. @mattb:

    As I said above, and several times in this and other threads, I think a magazine restriction is the only thing politically possible.

    I just think the hand-waving that there never could have been another division, between military and recreational semi-automatics is BS. It is an annoying tactic in which gun-savvy owners assert things that are clearly false to less savvy opponents.

    “AR-15 = hunting rifle” is absolutely emblematic of that.

  129. mattb says:

    @john personna:

    Not all semi-automatic rifles have detachable box magazines. California law prefers semi-automatic rifles with fixed magazines.

    Good! There, we are getting somewhere. Seriously, John, I’m not closing ranks. I’m trying to get to a level of clarity.

    Detachable Box Magazines versus Fixed is something that a discussion can be had over. Whether you realize it or not, that specific phrasing had not come up previously on this or any of the other thread.

    So, rather than talking about hunting rifles or assualt weapons or anything else, I believe you are talking about any semi-automatic rifle WITH a Detachable Box Magazine. So do you think that group of weapons (semi-automatic rifles with detachable box magazines) should be banned? Or if not banned, what would you suggest for regulations?

    Also do you feel that the detachable box magazine controls this should only be for rifles or also for pistols?

  130. mattb says:

    @john personna:
    The fact is that both sides do it (sorry to sound like Doug) when it comes to labels. That’s why I’m trying to get us past using them in this discussion. Rather than debating where is the line between “assault weapon” and “hunting rifle” or what is or isn’t one or the other, its far more useful, to deal with specific feature sets (semi-automatic versus manual, fixed magazine versus detachable box) and use those specifics.

    The advantage of going after feature set is that its truly all inclusive (and that’s also the problem for some of course). But talking about it those terms establishes a useful middle ground (though admittedly one that probably no one likes).

  131. Andy says:

    @john personna:

    I just think the hand-waving that there never could have been another division, between military and recreational semi-automatics is BS. It is an annoying tactic in which gun-savvy owners assert things that are clearly false to less savvy opponents.

    I think fixed vs detachable magazines is a useful division. Are there any others?

    AR-15 = hunting rifle

    I know a guy who uses an AR-15 to hunt…

    Point being, guns are multipurpose tools so the the whole debate over what is a “hunting rifle” and what isn’t is irrelevant. An AR-15 can be used for a lot of roles and that’s a big reason why they are so popular – there are a host of aftermarket parts to customize the gun for specific purposes ranging from match competition to Saturday afternoon target shooting, to hunting etc. If it’s ignorant to declare that an AR-15 is a hunting rifle, then it’s equally ignorant to declare that an AR-15 isn’t a hunting rifle. What kind of gun an AR-15 “is” depends primarily on the user, not the weapon.

  132. @mattb:

    I’m making a distinction here, “as I’ve said several times I think magazine size is the only (remotely) possible move, politically speaking.”

    On another level I’m not talking about what I want, but about the tactics which force everyone to view things as all or nothing.

    Should I even answer your questions about politically impossible moves? Are they honest or a tactic, to create a division “off the map” so to speak?

    If we had the political will, and we do not, a moratorium on the sale of new long guns with detachable box magazines would be grand. Let the AR-15s be priced up out of sight.

    If we had the political will, and we do not, we could restrict ourselves to new repeating arms, and let all semi-automatics be price out of sight.

    Either of those rules would be consistent with the NFA. They would not be gun bans. They would not prevent sport or home protection. We both know that a pump 12ga is about the scariest thing out there. It would be legal under those rules, but would just make spree killing a bit harder.

  133. BTW, the rise of cowboy action shooting shows the popularity and fun in repeating arms.

  134. @Andy:

    If you have an AR-15 you can hunt with it.

    That’s hardly an argument. If you had a Thompson you could use it to kill wild hogs all night long.

  135. Andy says:

    @john personna:

    If we had the political will, and we do not, a moratorium on the sale of new long guns with detachable box magazines would be grand. Let the AR-15s be priced up out of sight.

    Was that so hard?

    The point I’ve been trying to make here is that proposed changes to gun laws need to be rooted in actual weapon capabilities and specifications and not vague, subjective terminology. Long guns with detachable box magazines is a sufficiently specific and useful definition to actually begin to have a debate over the various issues involved in restricting this class of weapon. This is the level I try to get gun-control advocates to and I rarely succeed, so I’ll give you some big props for getting past the vague terms to reach substantive distinctions.

    That said, I agree with you about the politics.

  136. @Andy:

    So, what, were you holding that in secret? Waiting for a gun control type to say it, so that you could say “was that so hard?”

    Basically I pulled enough teeth?

  137. Obviously we both knew about the distinction from comment 1.

    Or from the previous thread, when I told mattb that I knew what a stripper clip was.

  138. mattb says:

    @Andy: And that’s the point I was getting to as well.

    And while it probably doesn’t appear so from this thread — I am pro gun control and responsible ownership.

    And because I’m both, I’ve endevoured to learn more about guns (and gun legislation) so I can speak responsibly on the subject. And doing so really does mean leaving behind usless labels (like hunting or assault rifle) and dealing with the technical aspects.

    Likewise, while I appreciate your “intent” argument John, trying to control for intent makes for really bad laws. Again, that’s why dealing with specific *features* of different *classes* of guns is a much better place to start the discussion.

    So just to be clear John, you are arguing for some type of increase regulation or banning of rifles and other long, semi-automatic guns, with detachable box magazines. As far as semi-automatic pistols with detachable box magazines you don’t see the need for regulation beyond limiting magazine capacity?

    Is that a fair representation?

  139. mattb says:

    @john personna:

    So, what, were you holding that in secret? Waiting for a gun control type to say it, so that you could say “was that so hard?”

    Honestly John, while it’s clear now that this has been what you are arguing for in your mind this entire time, that has not been what your posts have conveyed (beyond controlling high capacity magazines).

    I realize that you think your meaning has been transparent. But as an external reader (and someone who is sympathetic to your overall point) I have to say that it wasn’t transparent to me.

  140. @mattb:

    Mattb, go back and read these lines again:

    I’m making a distinction here, “as I’ve said several times I think magazine size is the only (remotely) possible move, politically speaking.”

    On another level I’m not talking about what I want, but about the tactics which force everyone to view things as all or nothing.

    After I say that straight up, why would you claim I’m “arguing for” anything else?

    Why would you say I back “intent” laws when I never have?

  141. @mattb:

    It seems like a game.

    I mean, why on earth would you tell me an AR-15 is just like any other semi-automatic, and only when I mention something I know full well we both understand, do you say “oh, well, detectable magazines, that’s different.”

    You force people to pull teeth rather than having an honest conversation about available distinctions.

  142. How many times really do I have to say I’m hoping at most for a magazine size restriction before you believe me?

    20, 40, or 100?

    Do I need an extended clip for that sentence?

  143. “john personna says Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 16:27”

    “I don’t think there would be a political mandate to go after them, but you could. If you weren’t going to sell out, “Colt Sporter” style, you’d go after semi-automatic weapons with large, detachable, magazines.”

  144. Andy says:

    @john personna: I haven’t been holding that in secret at all – in my third comment I wrote to you: “An AR-15 isn’t substantially different in terms of capabilities from hundreds of other semi-auto rifles.” A comment or two after that I wrote, “For any ban or restriction to be effective, legislation would have to target actual weapon capabilities and not cosmetic appearances.”

    My point all along was to simply suggest that those who desire further restrictions on guns need to be able to describe what they want to restrict using objective criteria and not subjective terms. “Long guns with detachable magazines” is an objective, definable standard; “assault” weapons, “AR-15,” “hunting weapons,” and “military” weapons are not.

  145. @Andy:

    So did I say this yesterday afternoon or not?

    If you weren’t going to sell out, “Colt Sporter” style, you’d go after semi-automatic weapons with large, detachable, magazines.”

  146. Andy says:

    @john personna: Yes you did, and I responded directly to your comment:

    There are a whole lot of guns that are semi-automatic with magazines. That’s the hard reality of attempts to restrict “assault” style weapons – to be really effective you’d need to ban an entire class of weapons which is something almost no one supports.

    Good to see we are on the same wavelength at least.

  147. Dave E. says:

    @mattb: I would be open to 20 round magazines for rifles and 10 round for pistols. I would like to hear any arguments against that too, but it sounds like a reasonable start. What do we do about existing personal and business inventory though? Can we just ban larger mags or is that a government taking?

    That said, I have my doubts that such limits on magazine size will really do all that much in these situations. With not all that much training and some consistent practice, anybody can learn how to change a magazine very quickly, even under stress. What happens when the practical effect turns out to be minimal if anything at all?

  148. @Andy:

    This comment did not go into the detail, it backed away from it:

    An AR-15 isn’t substantially different in terms of capabilities from hundreds of other semi-auto rifles. I’m not sure how banning them would accomplish anything except provide a windfall to those who own grandfathered weapons.

    It certainly didn’t acknowledge the California law. Was that a tooth to pull?

  149. @Dave E.:

    I’d say give people free replacements with smaller magazines for some time period, and then start giving them small fines for possession.

    When you figure the capacity for the ban, start to think about how you’d carry them. The more you want to carry, the less you can belt or strap them and the more you need a satchel. A satchel is not as fast.

  150. Dave E. says:

    @john personna: Nothing is free, so are you talking about a government buyback/replacement program? How much would that run?

    I figured a capacity limit of 20 for rifle magazines and 10 for pistols. I’m not sure what would be right for shotguns. Did you have something else in mind?

  151. @Dave E.:

    We could calculate the cost, but I doubt it would be major.

    I’d accept 20, probably as what I could get. 10 would be even better, because 20 in the gun, plus 3×20 in a chest rig is still 80.

    I’d think people with a “tactical” hobby would have fun even with 10, but I’m sure they’d want 20 or more.

  152. Andy says:

    @john personna:

    It certainly didn’t acknowledge the California law. Was that a tooth to pull?

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say with these “tooth pull” comments. I’ve been fairly consistent here about the need for objective terminology when debating gun laws and gun capabilities. If you want to nitpick comments and read stuff into them then have it, but that’s not something I intend to discuss or respond to.

    When you figure the capacity for the ban, start to think about how you’d carry them. The more you want to carry, the less you can belt or strap them and the more you need a satchel. A satchel is not as fast.

    The thing is, those 100 round drums suck. They are unreliable and prone to jamming. The military standardizes on 30 round magazines for a reason – they are the best compromise between capacity, storage space, gun weight and balance, and reliability. I forget what the standard load-out is these days, but one can carry about 8 magazines on a chest holder for easy access. A trained and competent spree killer will be more deadly using standard magazines and will be more concerned with reliability (see, for instance, Charles Whitman). An untrained, incompetent spree killer will probably be more deadly with these gucci large magazines and drums – less reliable, but marginally less skill needed.

  153. Dave E. says:

    And 3×20 twice more on the belt would give a nice round 200. Not hard to do at all.

    So now we have agreed to limit rifle magazines to 20 maximum rounds. What have we accomplished? As I noted before, I don’t think it will have much if any effect for a trained and practiced shooter.

  154. @Andy:

    I asked you this:

    We should be looking for natural divisions, places where equipment restrictions do not cause civilian users any great inconvenience while at the same time inconveniencing criminals and killers.

    And you did not volunteer anything. You did not use your expertise to name any natural divisions between firearms. Instead you said this:

    Secondly,it’s fine to discuss gun control in the abstract, but if you want to change the status quo, which it seems you do, then its incumbent on you to, at some point, move beyond abstraction. So, ok, let’s look at natural divisions – what do you have in mind? Please be specific.

    That was not engaging, in fact it was leaving behind the ground we’d already covered.

    It is “incumbent” on me, right? You would volunteer nothing.

    You were telling me to pull teeth.

  155. @Dave E.:

    And 3×20 twice more on the belt would give a nice round 200. Not hard to do at all.

    Twice more? I think you’d have to be a big guy to strap on 9 total.

  156. @Andy:

    BTW, every time you say “trained spree killer” you do actually put a burden on the killer.

    That is to get himself trained, and then to perform in the moment (mattb’s point)

    We’ve seen archery girl. I mean, people could theoretically train themselves up that way to … but is a barrier. Not everyone can do that, even with training.

  157. Dave E. says:

    Nine 20 round magazines would not be difficult for an average man to carry with the right tactical gear. Some amped up spree killer on a mission would probably be able to carry even more.

  158. @Dave E.:

    So are you arguing for 10 round magazines?

    I mean with 20 we at least increase the guy’s “fumble time” (twice the fumble time of 40, five times the fumble time of 100). Fumbling in 6-9 pockets now.

    If we want to limit his payload maybe we would need to go lower.

  159. Dave E. says:

    Not at all. I’m asking you what your expectations are with a limit of 20 and you seem to be avoiding an answer.

  160. @Dave E.:

    Did I avoid an answer? I thought I just said:

    I mean with 20 we at least increase the guy’s “fumble time” (twice the fumble time of 40, five times the fumble time of 100). Fumbling in 6-9 pockets now.

  161. I mean as I’ve said above, my starting position, was that I’d accept 20 in negotiation, as an improvement on status-quo.

    I never said it was ideal.

  162. I hope you guys aren’t going to this argument:

    “since a sufficiently trained stone-cold killer can equip himself with many 10 or 20 round magazines and use them efficiently … then a ban on larger magazines will not slow down any untrained fumble-figured barely connected to reality nuts either”

  163. Dave E. says:

    @john personna: Sorry, for some reason I thought you were expecting something more substantial than some possible “fumble time” increase. What would be your ideal?

  164. @Dave E.:

    mattb and I, whatever else our differences, agree that “fumble time” matters, and he likes to remind people that “fumble time” is when the Arizona killer was tackled. So it’s hardly nothing.

    On ideals? It’s kind of like the budget, spending, or tax questions. There are many more things I’d accept and support than I consider Ideal. In that similarly polarized environment, I think that everybody spends too much time talking about their independent and incompatible ideals.

    We should have more pragmatism and negotiation.

  165. @mattb:

    The ban would be retroactive (to avoid the past problem of pre ban equipment).

    As I pointed out earlier (and was completely ignored), there’s a long line of supreme court precedent that if they did not grandfather existing magazines, it would be necessary for the government to recompense the current owners the pre-ban fair market value for fight ammendment reasons. That would likely prove prohibitvely expensive.

    Another thing I’d like to make is that there should also be no law enforcement loophole. In general I’m opposed to police having access to any weapons not available to the general public.

  166. @Stormy Dragon:

    Also, no complaining about unintended consequences. The last time there was magazine capacity ban, it merely resulted in people switching from 16 round 9mm handguns to 10 round .40SW or 8 round .45ACP handguns, and the people who’d originally called for the limit started bitching about “pocket rockets”.

  167. Andy says:

    @john personna:

    I asked you this:

    You did not “ask” me anything John. If you had, I would have answered you. Instead, you made a general statement and I asked you to clarify that statement. Somehow you think that’s “pulling teeth.” Well, it’s not up to me to “volunteer” to try to read your mind and guess at what “natural divisions” you have in mind since “natural divisions” is your term and not mine. Nor is it my job to flesh out your ideas with relevant details that you didn’t make yourself, or make arguments on your behalf. To do so would be quite presumptuous and rude of me.

    Instead, I asked you to expand on what you meant. I don’t see why you should be upset about that – it is generally more polite to ask someone to clarify what they mean instead of assuming and putting words in their mouth.

  168. mattb says:

    @Dave E.:

    That said, I have my doubts that such limits on magazine size will really do all that much in these situations. With not all that much training and some consistent practice, anybody can learn how to change a magazine very quickly, even under stress. What happens when the practical effect turns out to be minimal if anything at all?

    As I’ve stated again and again, I don’t, for a variety of reasons, buy into the “trained shooter under optimal conditions will reload as fast as if they have an extended magazine.”

    Much like the entire “I could have taken out the shooter even though the theatre was dark, filling with tear gas smoke, people were moving everwhere, and I was surprised and being shot at” folks, speed reloading people tend to mistake performance at the range or even in competition for performance in the street.

    Are there some physical phenoms who process adrenaline better than others and can perform automatically under very stressful conditions (including in the mythical street)? Sure. Heck we’re about to see some of the best of these type of people compete in the Olympics. And even then, with top athletes who have been training consistently for sport performance, there will be epic chokes and flame outs.

    But we’re not really talking about physical phenoms here.

    A live shooting/self defense situation is completely different than a controlled competition. An under those circumstances, for a variety of reasons, it’s fair to think that the average sociopath (heck even the average-above-average sociopath) will potentially have problems with the reloading process. (See Arizona for a great recent example).

    Even if it’s adding a second or two, a lot can happen in that second. And I would far rather have that extra second or two for either flight or fight, wouldn’t you? Or are you willing to put your faith in the possibility of a jam?

  169. Mike says:

    The discussion has moved on so I won’t belabor the point, but I just wanted to say that my “AR-15 = hunting rifle” comment was intended to be fairly snarky as a result of some in the thread (not you, jp) who were denigrating the information I was providing as “irrelevant details” when in fact as we’ve seen understanding and agreement on what details like that really mean (bolt action vs semi-auto, semi-auto vs selective fire, fixed magazine vs detachable magazine, etc) are key to having an intelligent discussion on the issue.

  170. Andy says:

    @john personna:

    I hope you guys aren’t going to this argument:

    No, but at the same time one should realize that increasing the potential “fumble time” for a shooter is not a guaranteed result. This kind of thing is really at the margins and its effect is very much situation-dependent.

  171. Dave E. says:

    @john personna:
    @mattb:

    Never say never and the Arizona shooter is a fair point, but I am skeptical that reload or fumble time matters as much as you guys think. It does not require any special degree of talent to reload or clear a jam very quickly with a semi-automatic rifle. At one point I could do it in about the time it took someone to spell out SPORTS. And as Andy notes, there are other factors to consider. As I noted, I’m willing to see a limit on magazine capacity, I just have lower expectations about how much good it will do.

  172. mattb says:

    @Dave E.:

    It does not require any special degree of talent to reload or clear a jam very quickly with a semi-automatic rifle.

    For the sake of argument note that in Colorado, the shooter didn’t take the time to “very quickly” clear the jam as far as I can tell.

    Again, I understand what you are saying. But, based on experience and research, I think you are overestimating the ability of people to optimally perform in these sorts of scenarios.

    Again, would a ban on extended magazines solve the problem? No. But I think it’s a fair step (and an not overly harsh concession) towards some level of more “common sense” regulation.

  173. Dave E. says:

    @mattb: I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on that one. I would be willing to concede a 20 round maximum capacity for a rifle magazine with the understanding that I don’t think it will do much good.

    If it turns out I’m wrong about that, that would be good news. If it turns out I was right though, that doesn’t mean my first concession would be grounds for another round of tightening down to ten, or five, or none. I think some reluctance to agree to any capacity limits is the fear that doing so will lead to the latter.

  174. For me, the the arc of the argument is that two of us could reach tacit agreement, and that at least two were hold-outs. On magazine size the hold-out position is that since a smaller size does not restrict the expert shooter, it isn’t worth doing. It is acknowledged and discarded that it might slow less than experts.

    Should I think that some of you entered this thread seeking to defend the line, and approve no changes to gun law? And that you exited the same way?

    Can you understand how that might be frustrating to pragmatists, to face a political stone wall? Not to mention to face what look like rhetorical tactics along the way …

    Certainly there are extreme positions on the other side. There are really people who want to both stop sales and take existing guns back out of the market. I’d hope that we could get those folks to compromise as well. Because if we can’t were kind of doomed to a world where spree shooters find it really easy to get well-equipped.

  175. mattb says:

    @Dave E.:

    I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on that one. I would be willing to concede a 20 round maximum capacity for a rifle magazine with the understanding that I don’t think it will do much good.

    I’m seconding the agree to disagree. And I think 20 magazines is a solid compromise.

    Just out of curiousity, what magazine size would you be ok with for pistols?

  176. Andy says:

    @john personna:

    Should I think that some of you entered this thread seeking to defend the line, and approve no changes to gun law? And that you exited the same way?

    By the same token, should I think that some of you entered this thread seeking to redraw the line, and advocated for restrictions to gun law regardless? And that you exited the same way? Is that fair enough?

    I’m perfectly willing to consider pragmatic solutions. The problem is, however, that usually the solutions given aren’t all that pragmatic. Magazine capacity is an exception but it is, at best, a marginal consideration since it does nothing to prevent shootings. The best that can be said is that it might, given the right circumstances, reduce the number of casualties or provide a window for someone to do something while a shooter reloads. But that all depends on circumstances, it isn’t guaranteed and it’s been a non-factor in most mass shootings.

    BTW, I went back and read about the Gifford’s shooting. What stopped the shooter wasn’t reloading – he successfully reloaded his weapon and tried to fire, but the gun jammed. It was then two guys jumped on him.

    Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, changed magazines at least 17 times and didn’t use any of the 30 round versions. George Hernnard reloaded several times during his massacre. James Huberty reloaded several times and fired over 250 rounds total. The evidence that “fumble time” has any effect is thin.

    So while I’m not opposed to magazine capacity restrictions (and I think one could also argue for them on safety grounds) and I accept the premise that such limits might reduced the death toll in future spree shootings, the history of mass shootings strongly indicates that any benefit is highly situational. And one could point out that in the two cases where high-capacity magazines were used, the guns jammed. Coincidence? Maybe. As someone who used to do a fair amount of shooting I ran into a lot of reliability problems with the aftermarket high-capacity magazines I tried. Since guns jamming is a safety issue, I went back to using stock magazines.

    As far as other laws go, my opposition has as much to do with pragmatism as any ideological belief in the 2nd amendment. Laws must be more than merely aspirational – they need to be able to actually accomplish what they are intended to accomplish. For instance, you said this:

    Because if we can’t were kind of doomed to a world where spree shooters find it really easy to get well-equipped.

    I would certainly agree in principle with that and agree that we should make it difficult for spree shooters to get well-equipped. As a practical matter, however, it’s not so easy to implement policies that can actually accomplish that goal. In the case of James Holmes, very few of the policies favored by gun control advocates would have made any difference in his ability to plan an execute this attack.

    So I’m perfectly willing to consider pragmatic solutions – the problem is that pragmatic solutions are in short supply.

    @mattb:

    For pistols it might be better to look at other features in addition to capacity. Most pistol magazines go through the grip stock, so you could impose a limit on how much a magazine could extend below the grip. The reason is that bullet size (cartridge volume) factors into magazine size. For example, most .45 pistols (like the popular 1911 variants) hold about 7 rounds, but a similarly sized .25 ACP pistol can hold well over 10. However, given the variety of designs, this could get complicated quickly. To make it simple, one could stipulate that magazines can’t hold more that 10 rounds (or any other number), and also can’t extend more than, say, an inch below the weapon’s grip.

  177. @Andy:

    By the same token, should I think that some of you entered this thread seeking to redraw the line, and advocated for restrictions to gun law regardless? And that you exited the same way? Is that fair enough?

    False dichotomy. If I’d been a ban-and-confiscation guy, maybe.

    So while I’m not opposed to magazine capacity restrictions (and I think one could also argue for them on safety grounds) and I accept the premise that such limits might reduced the death toll in future spree shootings, the history of mass shootings strongly indicates that any benefit is highly situational.

    So did you actually accept the idea of change there? Or is that answer more centered in them being a bad idea?

    It’s kind of confusing when every post that mentions acceptance is also heavily tilted toward reasons we can’t or shouldn’t do it.

  178. Andy says:

    @john personna:

    It’s kind of confusing when every post that mentions acceptance is also heavily tilted toward reasons we can’t or shouldn’t do it.

    No, as I’ve pointed out before, I’m not opposed to the change. What I’ve said in addition to that is that I think the change won’t have much actual affect – in other words I doubt it will materially impact the vast majority of spree shootings to say nothing of overall firearm death rates. That’s not an argument not to make the change – that’s an argument to keep expectations regarding the change realistic.

  179. @Andy:

    OK, I can certainly live with that.

  180. matt says:

    By the way the Tuscon shooter was overpowered after the the gun JAMMED on reload. It wasn’t the actual time spent reloading that allowed him to be overpowered.

  181. matt says:

    Just for the record I’ve never had a standard capacity mag jam on me on reload but I’ve had a devil of a time with this one extended mag in particular (trashed it).