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Location: California, United States

I am a neolibertarian minded individual who feels that freedom and individual rights take precedence over the wants of government. I believe government exists to serve the people and not to protect us from ourselves. I am an advocate for private firearms ownership, smaller government, reduced taxes and freedom to live your life however you choose, providing you do not directly hurt others.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Why Allow High Capacity Magazines

“Rob” was kind enough to leave a comment on my previous post asking why good people outside of the military should be allowed to have weapons capable of storing more than 10 rounds of ammunition. I found that my answer was rather long, and decided to post it here where everyone can see it rather than leave it hidden in the comment section.

There are a lot of us legal and responsible gun owners that have a boy scout "be prepared" attitude towards life. I follow F.E.M.A.'s suggestion and keep at least a 3 day supply of food and water at my home in case of earthquake or other natural disaster. I carry a first aid and trauma kit in my vehicle in case I ever need to help someone. I am certified by the fire department and Homeland Security as a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member to better help my family and neighbors in the event of a disaster. To me, and others like me, having a functional combat style weapon is just another way to be prepared for an event that we hope will never happen. (Note: the laws of my state make this impossible for me, and thus I am unable to own such a defensive tool.)

I don't plan to "need" a 30 round magazine for my rifle any more than I plan to need my FEMA recommended disaster supplies and CERT training. Bad things happen as a part of life. Consider the following events:

  • Pearl Harbor
  • The LA riots (Hordes of criminals attacked people and property. Anyone who saw the news footage of the Korean shopkeeper on his roof with an AK-47 single handedly repel the fire wielding mob will know how this semi-automatic civilian version of a military style weapon was useful in defending his property and livelihood)
  • The Hollywood bank robbery (a private gun store gave the police weapons to hold the robbers at bay until SWAT arrived)
  • September 11th
  • The recent Texas courthouse shooting (A civilian armed with a handgun died saving the life of a wounded victim because the criminal possessed illegal superior firepower)

These things all prove that bad things often take us by surprise. It would be nice to know I'm as ready as possible to keep my family and community safe in the unlikely event of a fire fight.

Shooting is a fun and rewarding hobby. For a lot of people, larger magazines and bigger guns mean more fun. This is like a person who buys a sports car, a big truck or a top of the line power saw even though they don't really "need" that kind of power and performance most of the time. Most sports car owners probably aren't planning to outrun police cars, most truck owners aren’t planning to smash through roadblocks and most power saw owners aren’t planning a chainsaw massacre. Nevertheless, they enjoy owning these items. Similarly, most high capacity magazine owners aren't planning to make war on their community and government. In a safe environment, it can be quite fun to shoot a target full of holes without having to stop and reload after every ten rounds. There’s nothing wrong with that.

To be honest, many of the things that make the American lifestyle so much fun are things that the average person does not "need" in order to survive. As Shakespeare once said "Reason not the need". This country is not based on people having to prove a need for something in order for them to be allowed to acquire it. If this was how things worked, most of the cars, trucks, power tools, luxuries and others items possessed by us all would not be legal to own. I don't "need" a swimming pool in my back yard but I love having one. Luckily, at least with most things, the government has to convince us why we shouldn't have something before we vote to let them take it away from us.

There is also the issue of our constitutional rights, our historical legacy and recent Federal rulings that support them. This nation came into existence because people were willing and able to match forces against England to achieve freedom. Many of the rifles used by the colonials were more accurate and had longer range than the English military issue weapons. Had the populace not had access to weapons similar in might to those of the English military, our country would have never been born. The 2nd Amendment was enacted to make sure Americans would always have the ability to protect ourselves against any armed threat, be it from a government run amok (think of Germany, Spain and Italy during WWII) or an attack by outside forces.

The final part of my answer is that gun control has been proven to have a negative impact on society and thus is not worth funding. Australia, Canada, Great Britain and other places have experienced sharp increases in violent crime immediately after banning guns. Criminals don't care about the law, and will find a way to acquire whatever gun they want, and law enforcement simply cannot stop them any more than they got rid of alcohol during the prohibition or drugs during the war on drugs. Al Qaeda operatives won't let
California's 10 round limit keep them from getting a high capacity weapon if they decide to attack something. Since we cannot stop bad people from arming themselves, why stop good people from doing the same? If we don't outlaw such things, we increase the chance that good responsible people will put a stop to any craziness, much like Mark Alan Wilson used his handgun to save the life of a wounded victim in Texas. If Mr. Wilson (or someone like him) had produced a more effective combat style weapon with a high capacity magazine, he would have had a much better chance of stopping the armored killer and surviving the encounter.



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