AWB Dead in the Water, Dems to Shift to Mag Capacity Limits

Surefire 60-round magazine courtesy brownells.com

When Bloomberg.com calls the AWB dead, I believe it. Considering that pro-gun control maven Michael Bloomberg is the man behind the curtain at that particular publication, throwing in the towel on what’s essentially the holy grail of gun control isn’t something They’d do lightly. However, lurking in the shadows is the next big fight: magazine capacity restrictions. And this one’s more concerning for those who enjoy their 30-round mags . . .

Even as Joe Biden was flailing (and failing) this week, trying to find a coherent argument as to why “assault weapons” need to be banned during his Google+ Hangout chat, the rhetoric of the Obama administration seems to be shifting. While the president may dearly love the opportunity to sign an AWB into law, the political reality is that there’s virtually no chance whatsoever of that happening. So instead, they’re going for the low-hanging fruit of the gun control agenda, specifically “large capacity” magazines.

From KHOU:

Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that he’s more concerned about limiting the number of rounds in a gun magazine than about banning assault weapons that account for a small percentage of gun deaths.

Biden argued that the shooter at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., could have been slowed down if he had fewer rounds in each magazine and had to change clips more often. “Maybe if it took longer, maybe one more kid would be alive,” Biden said during an online video chat on Google Plus.

Magazine capacity restrictions are, in my opinion, the weak link in gun rights. There are just enough people on the fence about whether 30-round magazines should be banned to give the Dems enough room to maneuver legislatively. Heck, even Ruger signed onto magazine restrictions back in the day (they have since changed their tune).

But the argument I find most compelling is my own personal experience. In a gunfight (well, as close to a real one as I hope to get), there’s no such thing as too much ammunition. In the above video, even though I hit my opponent it took me nearly the entire 15-round magazine in a Glock 19 to do so.

And then, once you start legislating the number of rounds mags can hold, where do you draw the line? How do you make that decision? Ten rounds is a purely arbitrary number thought up by someone writing a bill in Congress without any research on the matter. And after all, if we can save just one life by allowing 11-round magazines . . .

There’s already a bill in congress to try to limit the capacity of magazines. HR 138, or “Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act,” currently has the following proposed provisions:

  • Applies to any “magazine , belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition,” except those that use .22 caliber rimfire ammo
  • Bans the transfer, importation or possession of magazines fitting the description
  • Includes grandfather clause (owned before bill passes = OK)
  • Excludes armed forces, manufacturers, LEOs and retired LEOs

Nice that they don’t include .17HMR in that exemption.

The bill is currently in the House Judiciary Committee which is chaired by Lamar Smith from Texas. Congressman Smith recently sent me a nice letter so at the moment I’m not that concerned. However, there’s a chance that the Democrats could use the imminent death of the AWB to try and scare the Republicans into compromising on passing “just this one.”

With President Obama’s other gun control suggestions drowning under the weight of public reaction, there’s a chance that the Democrats might redirect all of their efforts into this bill on restricting magazine capacity. Right now there are signs that they’re starting to swing in that direction, but nothing concrete. So far. My guess is that they’ll wait for the official death of the AWB bill before switching horses.

I’m betting that mag restrictions will similarly go nowhere. And while I did find myself with a nice 400% return on investment in roulette in Las Vegas, I’d only put myself at a 75% confidence on this one. Moral of the story: keep calling your representatives.