The PJ Tatler

Why Banning High-Capacity Magazines Will Not Save Lives

The politicians in Washington and many state capitals will soon make a run at gun control. They won’t call it that, but that’s what it will be. One of the things they go after will be so-called “assault weapons” and so-called “high-capacity” ammunition magazines.

“Assault weapons” have no firm definition. They are modern firearms that writers of liberal legalese don’t like. They look mean. They may have a pistol grip or a folding stock. They are not more powerful than other weapons of the same caliber. They are less powerful than many other weapons available. The AR-15 that makes headlines these days is not a cannon. AR-15s are not popular because they are especially powerful. There are more powerful guns available legally. They are popular because they are sexy and because you can trick them out to suit your individual taste. And the ammunition they fire is cheap and easy to find.

“High-capacity” is also a subjective adjective when used to describe magazines or anything else. What is “high” in terms of capacity? 30 rounds? 20? 10? The first is higher than the last, and the last is more than a single-shot firearm or most revolvers can hold.

Let’s define “high-capacity” as 30 rounds, then, just for the sake of defining it. Would banning 30-round magazines stop killers like the one in Newtown?

Not if he has access to any lower-capacity magazines, the Internet, and some masking or duct tape. If he has those three things, he could run a Google search, watch a short video, and then do this. It’s called “jungle tape,” and it gets around the limit of a given magazine’s capacity.



In the video, some fellow tapes a pair of what appear to be 30-round magazines together. You AK-47 owners out there, feel free to correct me if I got that wrong. The gentleman takes two of those magazines and turns them into what amounts to a 60-round magazine just by taking a minute to tape them together. He could take two more and do the same thing, and he has two jungle-taped magazines that will hold 120 rounds, which he could fire from that AK-47 at nearly a round per second semiautomatically. He would have to pause a few times to flip the taped magazines around, but if there is no armed opposition, those seconds won’t matter very much.

So go ahead and ban the 30-round magazines. Anyone with any level of skill with a roll of tape can turn 10-round magazines into 20-round magazines in a few seconds. In a few more seconds they’ll have two 20-round magazines, and in a few more, they’ll have more. Firearm owners who abide by the law will have their non-jungle taped maximum magazine capacity reduced to 10 rounds. Those who do not abide by the law will either obtain higher-capacity illegal magazines, or they will make them. It doesn’t take a genius to do it and you can’t ban sheet metal, springs and machine shop tools, or books, or the Internet, or brains. Who really wins here?

In the case of Newtown, the killer did jungle tape 30-round magazines together. He shot his way into the elementary school. There was no armed security to slow him down or stop him. The Columbine shooting occurred during the “assault weapons” ban period. Connecticut bans “assault weapons” to this day. Even talking about banning magazines and weapons just sells more magazines and more weapons. Even in liberal California.

Here’s the problem. We have a broken society. Liberals killed off the influence of the church and have killed off any notion of moral right and wrong. They challenged authority for its own sake, not because authority was necessarily wrong, and they ended up replacing authority with their own shifting standards. Now that they’re the authority, though, we’re not supposed to challenge them. They coddle criminals and blame society for their crimes. The mad man who killed two firefighters should have been in prison for bludgeoning his grandmother to death with a hammer, instead of paroled.The Newtown case is far less clear, but there may be a clue in the reports that he killed because he believed his mother loved other people more than she loved him, and in reports that she had found that caring for her mentally ill son alone had become impossible. He was from a prosperous family. Money wasn’t the issue. What was?

The family is on its way out, and with it, fathers who stick around to raise their sons. I’m generalizing, but not really overgeneralizing what’s going on in the inner cities and spreading out. Even in the suburbs and the countryside it’s awfully difficult now for moms and dads to raise sons and daughters with humility, respect for others, a sense of real right and real wrong, and values beyond the immediate and material. Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote about the disintegration of society and the family two decades ago like an Old Testament prophet, and he met one of the usual receptions that such prophets received: We praised him for his brilliance but we ignored what he said.

In a broken society where the ordinary rules are being challenged and brought down day by day, you can ban everything. Or you can ban nothing. It won’t matter. Whatever you ban today is jungle taped to beat the ban tomorrow. Those who respect the ban will become victims, either of the state, or of the predators who do not respect the ban.

Also read: I Support President Obama’s Plan for Making Schools Safer

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