Of all the proposals to reduce gun violence, this one wins the “Most Useless Law of All Time” award.
Why would limiting gun magazines to 10 rounds (seven if you want to move to New York) prevent or reduce gun violence? I can think of three options:
1. Shooters stop shooting when they run out of ammo. Has that actually ever happened? Newtown: No; Aurora: No; Tucson: Not really; Ft. Hood: No; Virginia Tech: No; Columbine: No; Luby’s Cafeteria: No.
Shooters don’t stop when they run out of ammo. They simply reload. A process that takes maybe three seconds.
2. Making shooters reload will give their victims time to counter-attack during the magazine change. Has that actually ever happened?
• Newtown: No. More than 150 rounds were fired, so there were easily more than six or seven magazine changes.
• Aurora: No. The shooter fired 30 rounds with the AR-15 from a 100-round magazine before it jammed, but did not change magazines. He made at least three magazine changes with the .40-caliber pistol.
• Tucson: Yes. The shooter was subdued during a magazine change because he was very close to the victims when he ran out of ammo. They were able to react quickly and as a group to subdue him, which didn’t happen in the other cases.
• Ft. Hood: No. The shooter fired more than 200 rounds, requiring between seven and 10 magazine changes. Even military personnel couldn’t counter-attack during a magazine change.
• Virginia Tech: No. The shooter fired 174 rounds from two pistols, requiring approximately 14 magazine changes between the two guns.
• Columbine: No. The 9mm rifle was fired 96 times, requiring at least 10 magazine changes. The 9mm pistol was fired 55 times, requiring at least one magazine change.
• Luby’s Cafeteria: No. There were “several magazine changes” used for the two 9mm pistols.
Every one of these cases had magazine changes. Yet why was no one able to stop the violence (except for Tucson)?
Think about what’s happening during an “active shooting.” There’s noise, there’s fear, and victims are trying to avoid getting shot. Few people would have the presence of mind and the courage to recognize that the shooter had run out of ammo, understand that a magazine change was happening, leave their place of cover, travel to where the shooter is, and physically engage the shooter all before the new magazine is inserted.
Now, imagine you’re going to do all of that within three seconds? Not many people could.
And since each of these cases took place in a “gun-free zone” imagine engaging the shooter as an unarmed victim. Even fewer people could do this.
3. Legislators know this won’t really reduce gun violence. But they’re seen as doing something, anything, to help reduce the violence. And many of us buy it.
We deceive ourselves and perpetuate the illusion that more laws will create safety.
• CPA Bill Richardson and his wife, Annelle, have lived in Ahwatukee for more than 17 years. They have four children and one grand-child.