There has been a lot of talk about banning “high capacity” magazines for guns. I am opposed to limits of any kind.

First off, let me take a moment to clarify magazine capacity. Standard capacity is the capacity that the designer had in mind when creating the gun. For instance, an M1 Garand has 8 rounds in its magazine. My Glock 17 has 17 rounds in its magazine (the 17 for both the model and capacity is coincidental). My AR-15 shipped with 20, but 30 was stock when it was introduced over 50 years ago. The notion that this is “high capacity” is a fraud — this is standard capacity. The notion of anything higher than an arbitrary 10 rounds being “high” capacity is an invention by politicians.

Now that that’s off my chest, let me begin.

Allow me to set forth some assumptions:

  1. There are bad people in the world. (People is plural for a reason that will become clear later)
  2. Those bad people may, at some point in time, decide to attack me or you.
  3. The notion of self-defense is valid.
    1. A corollary to #3 is that time is a critical concern.

If you care to take issue with these assumptions, please ask and I’ll gladly discuss.

So, let me presume that there is a 10-round magazine capacity limit in the law books. Let me go further and say that I’ll even accept the ludicrous notion that the bad persons from #1 will abide by that law.

Now, let’s begin with a scenario.

A person from #1 decides to at a time unknown to me beforehand to proceed with #2 and attack me in some way. The attack could be a home invasion / burglary, a mugging when I’m carrying concealed, a car jacking, etc.

At this point in time I have my one gun with the magazine that’s in it at the time. If I’m home I might have enough forethought to pick up a spare, but let’s say that I don’t have a spare magazine or a backup weapon (we’ll get to why that’s not important anyway). So, me being a law-abiding citizen, I have 11 rounds at hand — one in the chamber and 10 in the magazine.

The attacker, having foreknowledge that he (I’ll assume a male since the vast majority of this sort of crime is perpetrated by males) will be doing something not quite so on the up-and-up knows to pack as many spare 10-round magazines as he can carry. The attacker, very likely will even bring a friend or two who has done the same to help with their illicit deeds.

To review, I, the good guy, have 11 rounds to my name. The attackers have, effectively, unlimited rounds based on their pre-planning.

Before going further, let’s consider what happens when one pulls the trigger. Besides the obvious effect of making a bullet go out the barrel, what is the chance that it’ll go where I’m aiming? For this, I’ll use the NY City police force as a proxy. The NY Times reports that they hit around 34% of the time. Also, contrary to popular belief, a bullet does not immediately cause someone to stop — this is not a video game. Assuming two attackers, and 11 rounds spread between them, there are not terribly good odds that I’ll be able to defend myself.

Let’s go a bit further. Let’s assume they want to do something spectacular to get on the news. This goes well beyond small-time crime, this is a planned and orchestrated attack. That planning will involve getting as many of the 10-round magazines as they can carry and practicing swapping them out. Even a single-shot gun can be worked pretty efficiently with practice when you have no one fighting back.

So, let’s recap.

This all assumes, rather foolishly, that the criminal follows one law while ignoring others. It goes on to show that the magazine limit does not limit what they can do. In fact the only thing a magazine capacity limit does is limit the defensive capabilities of those taken by surprise, while not diminishing the attacker’s capacity to cause harm. The deck is stacked against the good guy. It is stacked clearly in favor of the attacker, even with standard capacity magazines. Limits simply further limit the odds of my survival.

Put more bluntly, isn’t it worth a single life to not touch the law? Isn’t it worth my life, or my family’s life to not change the law? Is not my life (good guy defending himself and his family) not worth more than that of someone trying to cause me harm? Is it not worth the life of a child that is being defended by a parent?

Before you answer, please make sure you don’t walk into your own logical fallacies.