Is a high capacity magazine ban useless?

One of the most important reasons given for a ban of high capacity magazines has been the misguided belief that somehow a miraculous attempt to stop a criminal or mentally unstable shooter will succeed because the shooter will need to reload their weapon. This is a prime motivation for the restriction being advocated, and in New York State legislated. But is this accurate? Will a high capacity magazine ban save lives?

To start with, semi-automatic firearms have been around for more than 100 years. The design of these firearms evolved with the concept of ease in reloading. It is the design of the firearm that rocket science IQ’s or brain surgeon accuracy need not be a requirement to fire or reload the weapon.

In all of the mass shootings since the 1980’s the shooter has had either:

a) Multiple firearms
b) Multiple magazines
c) Both multiple firearms and magazines

The theory presented by elected officials from the local level to the national is that limiting the time it takes to fire 30 rounds will allow either a heroic action and/or return fire by authorities to cease the mass shooting event. We have spoken to many gun restriction advocates, elected and regular citizens, that believe this view. In fact on Jan 7, 2013 Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan discussed that view with us in our video interview on gun control.

“…one of the provisions is do they need such big magazine clips? There have been some very heroic people without guns prevented more carnage by going after a perpetrator. If a perpetrator has to reload, {if he} doesn’t have more than 7 bullets in a magazine there’s opportunity to make your heroic activities mean something.” – Mayor Matt Ryan, Jan 7, 2013 – starting at 3:02 in the video

One of our readers provided us with an example of exactly how likely it is for the kind of “heroic activities” gun restriction advocates want the public to believe is possible. The following video highlights firing the same number of bullets via high capacity magazines and 6-round magazines, different rifle magazines, multiple revolvers, and the scenario highlighted by Mayor Ryan – 7 bullet magazines.

To summarize:

  • The accomplished shooter provided about 2 seconds between magazine changes. The average shooter took about 3 seconds to change magazines.
  • Neither shooter could be reached before a firearm could be reloaded, from a distance of just 25 feet.
  • The longest time with a semi-automatic pistol, by the average shooter, was 26.93 seconds to fire 30 rounds from 5 magazines of 6 rounds each.
  • The longest time to fire 20 rounds from 2 magazines of 10 rounds each was by the average shooter and took 14.63 seconds.
  • Firing 30 rounds from 5 revolvers with 6 shots each, by the accomplished shooter, took 18.80 seconds – faster than with the semi-automatic with 15 round magazines.
  • The accomplished shooter, fired 21 rounds from 3 magazines of 7 rounds each in 9.78 seconds from a .45 pistol from 1911 that was unloaded at the start.

    The video is supervised by law enforcement, and for demonstration purposes. The firing demonstration starts at 1:46 seconds in the video, though the data at the beginning is quite relevant to the question of gun restriction.

    The conclusive result is that smaller magazines provide no legitimate nor realistic benefit to public safety. Heroic activities are just as miraculous an endeavor when faced with low capacity magazines as with high capacity magazines. Before seeing the video only those that have never fired a firearm might have believed the soundbite fairy tale against high capacity magazines, but the reality should be clear after to all after viewing it.

    We at M V Consulting, Inc agree that high capacity magazines are an unnecessary choice for the general public. There is no other justification beyond a desire to have such magazines. But we equally believe that actively misleading the public into a false sense of safety based on pipe dreams and wishful thinking is as dangerous as any firearm ever made. We must also clearly state that using a preposterous fallacy meant to target the fear and emotion of the public to enact a politically motivated outcome is a tactic more akin to those wishing to shackle freedom than embracing or protecting it.

    We do not fault gun restriction supporters in their desire to limit magazine sizes, we just want them to make an honest and realistic debate against high capacity magazines. Anything else is nefarious and deceptive.

  • About the Author

    Michael Vass
    Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

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