Has the mainstream media decided that high capacity magazines are inherently bad? Seems so. In today’s article Virginia, high-yield clip seizures rise, Washington Post writers David S. Fallis and James V. Grimaldi make a particularly weak case, starting with “The role of high-capacity magazines in gun crime was thrust into the national spotlight two weeks ago when 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner allegedly opened fire with a semiautomatic handgun outside a Tucson grocery store, killing six and wounding 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). Authorities say Loughner used a legally purchased 9mm Glock 19 handgun with a 31-round clip and was tackled while changing magazines.” Guilt by association? And how . . .
Guns with high-capacity magazines have appeared in Virginia crimes ranging from the mundane to the murderous. The Post found that 200 guns with high-capacity magazines figured in Virginia homicides, including these incidents:
No, I’m not going to scrape the spree killings. Suffice it to say . . .
Last year in Virginia, guns with high-capacity magazines amounted to 22 percent of the weapons recovered and reported by police. In 2004, when the ban expired, the rate had reached a low of 10 percent. In each year since then, the rate has gone up.
So, that’s 200 murders out of an unspecified total spread out across an indeterminate amount of time linked to the fact that 78 percent of weapons recovered and reported (but not necessarily used in a gun crime never mind a homicide) did NOT have a high capacity magazine.
Misleading is just a word. The Post’s high cap mag = more death equation is such a tentative not to say confusing and irrelevant correlation that the article soon abandons its quest for linkage in favor of another grisly anecdote. And a don’t-put-words-in-my-mouth-but-I’ll-say-what-you-need-me-to-say quote from a guy who conducted a government study of the now-extinct modern home defense sporting assault weapons ban in 2004.
Tentatively I was able to show that guns associated with large-capacity magazines tended to be associated with more serious crimes, more serious outcomes,” [Dr. Christopher Koper] said.
And where, pray tell, is the link to this high capacity smoking gun? The Post forgot, I guess. Never mind. TTAG’s got you covered (so to speak). Click here for the doc in question (now, by us) and go to page 18. Here’s what the report actually said . . .
. . . guns equipped with LCMs [Large Capacity Magazines]– of which AWs [Assault Weapons] are a subset – are used in roughly 14% to 26% of gun crimes. Accordingly, the LCM ban has greater potential for affecting gun crime. However, it is not clear how often the ability to fire more than 10 shots without reloading (the current magazine capacity limit) affects the outcomes of gun attacks (see Chapter 9). All of this suggests that the ban’s impact on gun violence is likely to be small.
To bolster it’s fact-less case, the Post trots out the fifth head of the currently headless Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires): Bradley A. Buckles [above]. The man who took the helm of the ATF after the slaughter at Waco, Texas, and helped usher in the Federal Assault Weapons Ban
Bradley A. Buckles, ATF director from 1999 to 2004, said bureau officials advised Congress to focus on high-capacity magazines, which were “completely unregulated” and had almost no sporting purpose.
“The whole thing with magazine capacity came out of ATF,” Buckles said. “It wasn’t so much guns, but it was firepower. What made them more deadly than a hunting rifle was the fact that you could have a 20-round, 30-round clip, when most hunting rifles wouldn’t have more than five rounds.”
Buckles had a hard-on for high-cap mags. The Post also forgets to mention Springfield vs. Buckles, wherein Springfield (importers) sued then-ATF Director Buckles for the agency’s high capacity magazine ban-mania. And lost. While Buckles never lost his anti-high-cap-mag fervor, even the Post’s enthusiasm for a return to the good old days can’t mask the man’s pessimism.
Buckles said lawmakers should have extended the ban on high-capacity magazines in 2004. Banning them now, he said, just puts everyone back at square one.
“There are so many millions of them out there, it probably wouldn’t make any immediate difference over the course of 20 years,” Buckles said. “It is not a short-term solution to anything.”
So let’s forget it then, shall we?