Magazine limits endanger safety: Opposing view

Magazine limits endanger safety: Opposing view


Good people need enough rounds for self-defense


President Obama and his fellow Democrats don’t feel that Americans need gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds for self-defense.

To that, gun owners would say: “Mr. Obama, we don’t have a Bill of Needs — we have a Bill of Rights.” Misunderstanding this point endangers all our rights, including the Second Amendment. After all, real life is not like the latest action movie, where the bad guys shoot their guns endlessly (and miss), but the good guys fire off one or two rounds and hit their targets.

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

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

When people’s lives are on the line, why should President Obama be able to limit their ability to defend themselves with larger, standard capacity magazines? We wouldn’t dare subject the police to a 10-round magazine limit — and with good reason. A study of the NYPD found that New York cops (in 2000) fired an average of 16 shots per incident when facing armed attackers. But police aren’t the only ones who face multiple offenders. A study of self-defense cases over a five-year period revealed that citizen-defenders faced multiple attackers 36% of the time. Another study put the figure at over 50%.

The point is that in the real world we live in, there are violent gangs who get high on drugs and are resistant to pain when they attack. Banning the tens of millions of standard capacity magazines that are already in circulation won’t keep them out of dangerous hands. But it will make good people less safe.

This article originally appeared in USA Today on April 17th, 2013