By Jeff Knox and Chris Knox
Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., have announced plans to submit an amendment to make it illegal to manufacture or sell an ammunition feeding device of greater than 10-rounds capacity. They say they plan to try and attach the amendment to the pending Cyber Security Act. A similar provision was included in the 1994 Clinton Assault Weapons Ban, but it expired in 2004 along with the rest of the ban.
Schumer and Lautenberg are hoping sympathy and anger over the tragic murders in Aurora, Colo., will convince their fellow lawmakers to support this useless and intrusive legislation. A similar bill was introduced in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, but that effort went nowhere, and for good reason. Restrictions on magazine capacity are useless and have no impact on criminals and lunatics bent on doing harm.
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Magazine limits, like other gun-control laws, are deeply rooted in ignorance. Those who advocate against firearms ownership, and who support restrictions and regulations, typically don't know anything about guns at all, as Tucker Carlson demonstrated when he challenged Rep. Carolyn McCarthy on live television when she was pushing her proposed "assault weapons" ban. The ban would have covered any semi-auto rifles, which included any of several features, including a pistol grip, a forend grip, or a "barrel shroud." Carlson asked McCarthy what a barrel shroud is. At first she evaded and tried to steer the discussion in a different direction, but Carlson kept pressing until she finally said: "I don't know what a barrel shroud is. I do believe it's a shoulder thing that goes up."
For those who might be unfamiliar with firearms – like Rep. McCarthy – a barrel shroud is better known as a "handguard," a piece of perforated metal or high-impact plastic that covers all or part of a barrel and serves as a heat shield. The wooden or synthetic stock serves this same purpose, but a shroud generally covers the top of the barrel, while the stock usually covers only the bottom and sides where you normally hold the gun while shooting. Gun barrels can get very hot during firing, and a shroud simply provides a layer of protection for easier, safer handling. But since they were first applied to military and police firearms – to allow them to be handled safely in tight spaces and awkward maneuvering – and since they look kind of cool (or evil), the "Blame the Guns" crowd wants them banned simply for cosmetic reasons.
Unlike a handguard, a magazine (sometimes called by the technically incorrect name "clip") is not merely cosmetic. It serves the important function of holding ammunition and feeding it to the gun. A magazine that holds "too many" rounds, the gun-ban crowd will claim, assists and empowers crazed killers like the scumbag in Aurora. What the anti-gun crowd doesn't understand, like much of the public, is that a magazine is little more than a box or tube with a spring in it. Like the rest of firearms technology, there is nothing mystical, or even complicated, about a magazine. I have personally converted a 5-round magazine into a 20-round magazine in a matter of minutes using nothing more than manila file folders, duct tape and rubber bands. Additionally, there are literally billions of 15, 20 and 30-round magazines in circulation in the U.S., and there is no way to make them evaporate.
As to the guns that use these magazines, the technology used in automatic and semi-automatic firearms has been around for over 100 years. While there have been some refinements and minor improvements over the years, mostly thanks to the availability of better materials, the basic designs have changed little. The gunmakers of the Khyber Pass in Pakistan demonstrate this by building functional replicas of modern and historic firearms using hand tools. Our site, FirearmsCoalition.org, has a link to a remarkable video documenting a trip to the Khyber Pass weapons bazaar. A search of YouTube for "Khyber guns" will yield a trove of other videos about the amazing cottage industry arms-production facilities in that region.
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Beyond the simplicity of the designs and the vast numbers of guns and magazines already in circulation, there is the simple fact that other tools are readily available to the would-be mass murderer. From cars to fertilizer to gasoline to box cutters, there are plenty of ways to kill lots of people, and all of the above have been used with terribly effective results. All of these potentially lethal tools have useful purposes that are beneficial to society just as guns do, and, like guns, their benefits to society far outweigh the dangers of their misuse.
As the politicians posture about "doing something" about "gun crime" and mass murderers, remember that nothing they are proposing would have any positive impact on the problems they're trying to solve. Restrictions on guns, magazines, ammunition and the people who own them simply don't work to reduce crime, suicide, or accidents.
Professor John Lott says unequivocally that more guns means less crime. That is a strong claim, and while there is strong evidence to support that claim, it is controversial. Nonetheless, we can unequivocally state that more guns do not equal more crime. Anti-gun zealots will try to fog the issue by pointing to "gun deaths," as though a death is worse because a gun is involved, but analysis will reveal that violent crime rates are unaffected by gun control. Significant resources have been spent trying to prove that respecting people's right to arms results in increased crime, but even the National Science Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control – both of which have demonstrated anti-rights bias in the past – have concluded that there is no clear evidence supporting the idea that stricter gun-control laws reduce crime. As a matter of fact, as gun ownership has steadily been climbing – particularly over the past several years – crime, including "gun crime," has been steadily going down.
Attacks on guns, magazines and gun owners waste time, money and precious law-enforcement resources. Gun control doesn't work. Whether it is disguised as magazine restrictions, ammunition taxes, or bans on cosmetic features, gun-control laws only affect the people who obey them. Don't let politicians and bias news sources convince you otherwise. Gun control isn't about crime or violence, it's about control over you and me.