The Faulty Logic of Magazine Capacity Limits

HiCapMag

“High capacity” magazines are another arrow in the anti-gunners quiver of false arguments.

First, let me clarify, what they are trying to ban are not really “high capacity” magazines, they are standard capacity.  When a gun is designed to accept a detachable magazine, it is designed in a manner to accept a magazine capable of holding a certain number of rounds. Just because that number is higher than the number of digits one has on their hands does not make it “high capacity”. Secondly, the capacity of the magazine has absolutely nothing to do with the lethality of a firearm.  The lethality of a firearm is determined by the caliber of the weapon and the ballistics that results from the combination of the ammunition used and the barrel length; not by the number of bullets the gun has in it.

David Gregory breaking the law holding a banned 30 round AR mag
David Gregory breaking the law holding a banned 30 round AR mag

As a gun owner, a husband, a father, a citizen, a cop, and a gunfight survivor, I have to ask myself a few questions.  Where does this magic number of 10 bullets, or 7 in the case of New York, come from?  What gunfight/firearms/combat/law enforcement/crime/mass shooting expert provided that number, and what was their basis for determining that number?  What makes the gun control crowd think that limiting magazine capacity to 10 bullets will have any effect of mass shootings? What is the logical basis for that argument? If a network reporter (David Gregory) can so easily break a “high capacity” magazine ban law on national television, what makes anyone even dream that it will stop someone with evil intentions?

For a well-trained shooter, it takes about a second or less to perform a magazine change and get back on target. For sake of argument, if I were someone intent of committing a mass shooting, and let’s say I limited myself to only the “magically less lethal 10 round magazines”, I am still going to bring as many magazines as I can carry so that I can continue my rampage as long as possible. During those 1-2 second intervals when I, the assailant, am changing magazines, are the victims of the assault supposed to rush me, the attacker? Or are they supposed to flee the scene? That short time frame is not sufficient for even a professional athlete to make a difference, let alone an average citizen who is soiling their drawers during what is likely the scariest thing they have ever encountered.

Sheriff Ken Campbell from Boone County, IN released an excellent video back on February 23, 2013 where he had shooters of various skill levels assist him in debunking the ridiculousness of magazine capacity limits, specifically addressing reload times and the “a good person could tackle the suspect” theories thrown around by the logic-lacking antis.

Will 10 round magazines stem the tide? No, and there is absolutely no evidence to even suggest it would. But what that limit will do is render a lawful, concealed carry (CCW) holder less able to defend themselves or others from an armed assault. See, while the person intent on perpetrating an attack has all the time in the world to prepare and gear up, because they know when they are going to strike, the CCW holder likely only has their sidearm because they are prepared for the what if, not prepared for battle like the armed attacker is. Why would you limit the good guy to 10 rounds to try and stop the bad guy who is going to be armed to the teeth?

That 10 round limit, or 7 for the unfortunate folks in New York, is completely ridiculous, and was clearly determined by someone who has never been in a gunfight. Unlike in Hollywood, when people are moving and shooting at you, and killing people around you, you tend not to be the most accurate shooter in the world and you might possibly miss a round or two. Additionally, unlike Hollywood, when a bad guy gets shot, they do not fly back 20 feet and become instantly incapacitated. Real bad guys have been known to soak up over a dozen rounds and live, and in some cases, continue to fight even though they are mortally wounded.

A recent incident in Georgia (January 4, 2013) is the perfect example of the stupidity of artificial magazine capacity limits. A mother saw an intruder breaking into her home, called 9-1-1, grabbed her gun and her 2 sons and retreated to a hiding area, and waited for the cops to arrive. The intruder broke into her home and began searching it. When he found the woman and her two sons hiding, she shot him 5 times from a few feet away, emptying her revolver. That intruder, who was shot 5 times in the face, neck and torso, got up, went back to his car and managed to drive away. Thankfully, considering her gun was now empty, once the intruder was shot, he decided to retreat. Thankfully there was not a second intruder. Townhall article about this incident.

In another, real life example of why someone needs more than 10 bullets in their gun, in August 2008, police Sergeant Timothy Grammins was involved in a shootout with a bank robber.  During the 56 second shootout, Grammins fired 33 rounds from his Glock 21 (.45 ACP), leaving him with only 4 rounds left in his last magazine at the end of the battle.  “At the core of his desperate firefight was a murderous attacker who simply would not go down, even though he was shot 14 times with .45-cal. ammunition — six of those hits in supposedly fatal locations.”  – Police One article “Why one cop carries 145 rounds of ammo on the job”

In fact, in the land of the banned “assault rifle” and the long standing 10 round magazine*, that law has routinely failed to prevent criminals from obtaining magazines exceeding that artificially imposed 10 round limit.  The most recent, excellent example of the inefficacy of that law is the June 7, 2013 shooting spree in Santa Monica, CA.  In that incident, the shooter, who was only 4 years old when “high capacity” magazines were last legally available in CA, had well over ten 30 round mags for his AR-15.

All of these incidents reinforce something that is so intrinsically basic to gun owners, it is difficult for us to see how others fail to grasp a few basic realities:
– Real world gun fights often require more than 10 rounds
– Gun laws only affect law abiding citizens
– Artificial magazine capacity limits are just like all the other gun laws, and only affect law abiding citizens
– Artificially limiting the good guys to only 10 rounds just aids the bad guys who don’t obey the laws

As always, your questions and comments are welcome.  Be safe out there.
Matt


* Magazines exceeding 10 round capacity have not been for sale in CA since 1994, when they were banned federally.  That federal law later expired in 2004, but California also has a state law that has been in effect since 2000 banning magazines over 10 rounds.

Reality Check for the “Only Cops Need Guns” Crowd

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Why You Should NOT Count on the Cops to Save You – The Ugly Truth About Law Enforcement Officer to Citizen Ratios

There are those who say only the cops should have guns.  To them, the idea of individual citizens owning guns is frightening.  They cannot fathom why any normal person would want to own one of those “death machines” that only “belong on the battlefields”.  Those anti-gun people feel the way they do because they have bought into the lie that has been fed them for so long, the lie told by those in positions of authority that do not want an armed population, the lie that says “the cops will be there to protect you, you do not need guns.”   To the gun control advocates, to the people who think that no citizens should own guns, or at least no semi-auto guns, to the people who place their safety and the safety of their family solely in the hands of law enforcement, to you I say: You have MUCH more faith in law enforcement than I do, and I am a law enforcement officer.

Before anyone gets upset, that is not meant as a disparaging remark directed at law enforcement. Despite what the media and some others would have you believe, cops as a whole are good people and they really do care about what happens to most of the population (criminals pretty much excluded).

When-seconds-count-police-are-minutes-awayWe’ve all heard the saying, “When seconds count, the cops are only minutes away”.  Well sadly, it really is just that simple.  Let me explain to you my lack of faith in their ability to save me when seconds count. My lack of faith is based on staffing numbers, crime statistics, and as Bill Clinton likes to say, “Arithmetic”.

For a broad, well known example, I will use a large city that we are all familiar with. One with a HUGE police force, and one in which the mayor is notably VERY anti-gun, New York City. The NYPD is one of the largest police organizations in the United States. I just checked their official website and according to that, the NYPD currently has approximately 34,500 cops. That is a huge number by any stretch of the imagination. BUT, let’s put that number in perspective. According to the most recent available census data (2011), NYC is 468 square miles and has a population of 8,244,910 people. Now for some arithmetic: 8,244,910 / 34,500 = 239 citizens per cop. That is a phenomenal cop to citizen ratio. I honestly have never seen any agency with such a good ratio. I have tried to look at the NYPD’s divisional/staffing breakdown to figure out how many of those cops are actually street cops, and not administrators, detectives, property personnel, trainers, etcetera, but I cannot find those types of numbers anywhere.

For a specific example, I will look at an agency I am quite familiar with, but cannot name. Said agency serves a large metropolitan city with an equal distribution of urban development and rural area, covering 836 square miles. In that 836 square mile area, the population as of 2010 was 618,962. That population is served by a law enforcement agency that has 2017 total number of sworn cops. Taking that total number of cops, let’s do some math: 618,962 / 2017 = 306.8 citizens per cop. Not bad, not NYPD, but not bad. But now lets break that down to the real numbers.

gun_cop_pic_124183157_std1Of those 2017, many work in the jails (far more work in corrections than any other area), the courts, the airport, administrative jobs and other various details. The actual number of cops assigned to patrol duties, the people that respond to calls for service, is a whopping 291. Here comes that old arithmetic again: 618,962 / 291 = 2127 citizens per cop. That’s right, 2127 people for every street cop employed. Now, let’s dissect that even further. Those 291 street cops work 4 days a week, and are split up amongst 5 overlapping shifts. At any time of the day, at least 2 of those shifts are on the street. For mathematical simplicity, I am going to split the number of cops evenly amongst the shifts: 291 / 5 = 58.2 cops. Ok, now take that number and divide by 1.75 (since they work 4 out of 7 days a week): 58.2 / 1.75 = 33.25 cops. Mathematically speaking, at any time of the day, the entire population of this large area is being policed by 33.25 deputies. What does that number work out to now? 618,962 / 33.25 = 18,615 citizens per working street cop. Let me say again, that is 18,615 people per every working street cop. I can only imagine if we were to examine the NYPD, at least two thirds of their sworn personnel are assigned to duties other than patrol and do not respond to calls for service. National average for citizen/cop ratios is somewhere near 1000 citizens to 1.5 cops, but please remember, those statistics are pure numbers of cops, not the ones working and responding to calls.

Make you feel all safe, warm and cozy inside? Still insist that the cops are better able to protect you and your family than you are?

Let’s look at response times, should you actually have the time to make that 911 call, and actually get the chance to speak to the call taker, and have enough time to explain what is happening to you. The only stats I could find are for the other local agency of similar size and makeup as the one I examined above. The difference is, they have a much smaller area of responsibility (99.2 square miles). Their average response time, from the time the 911 call is answered until a cop was at the scene, was 7 minutes for the highest priority calls. That does not sound like a long time, right? Want to know how long 7 minutes is? Sit in a chair and start a timer. Imagine yourself fighting for your life during that entire time, knowing that at the best, the cops might be there when that timer rings. Now imagine yourself having been armed with your choice of firearm. Statistically, most of the time they are used in self-defense, they are merely displayed scaring off the attacker. Imagine yourself in the other situation, and this person is so intent on attacking you, the sight of a gun does not dissuade them. Do you want that person having their way with you for 7 minutes while you wait for the cops to respond?

I cannot answer those questions for you; I can only tell you that I will always be armed to be better able to protect myself, my family, and anyone else who may need my protection. If you honestly believe that you are not capable or responsible enough to shoulder the burden of arming yourself, then I commend you for being honest, but I ask that you not project your personal decision onto others who are willing and able to do so. That other person may just be the one there to save your bacon one day when you need them.

The next time someone tells you that the cops are the only people that should have guns, feel free to give them an arithmetic lesson!

As always, your questions and comments are welcome.
Be safe out there,
Matt