The State of Magazine Bans

The Circuit Court's Opposing Views in New Jersey and California.

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Yesterday, New Jersey’s ban on High Capacity Magazines was upheld by a 3-1 vote in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In contrast to the recent fall of the California ban, the New Jersey one has currently been upheld. The California AG has filed a petition for review to try and keep the ban in place, they are not going quietly back to liberty and giving up their control over their citizen’s second amendment rights.

The state, NJ, defended the law, which exempted active military and police officers as well as retired police officers, by arguing that it could save lives by forcing a mass shooter to pause to reload.

Read More: NJ gun control measure upheld again by federal judges 

As we know, that’s utter fiction.

The idea that the need to perform a function, reloading, that can be done in the span of a couple seconds (2 seconds is almost always the training standard for firearms with a last round stop in their action) will lower casualty counts of an unopposed shooter ignores the complex realities of a violent attack. The Virginia Tech shooting was done with capacity limited handguns, it did not limit casualties.

The concepts show a total lack of understanding combined with a willful resilience against being educated on the topic and the nuances involved. They don’t want to see, so they don’t. It’s like trying to tell them that not all fires can be put out with water and them stubbornly maintaining they can because every fire they’ve personally heard of was put out with water.

Magazine limit supporters can’t see that a home or self defender, which is an opposed use of force incident, benefits from a standard capacity magazine and is hindered by a limited capacity. In contrast, an active shooter is an unopposed use of force incident, the person doing the killing is not hindered or limited by a magazine capacity restriction because there is no force in opposition to them that is of great enough threat for it to matter.

For the length of time a reload takes, or any sort of stoppage of the gun, to positively influence the attack’s outcome the active shooter must be under direct immediate threat from a roughly equivalent opposing force, usually someone with a gun who can use it. So the supposition from New Jersey is ignorant wishful thinking and is being upheld because… Federal judges concluded that the law does not violate the Second Amendment because it does not prohibit possession of firearms or “effectively disarm individuals or substantially affect their ability to defend themselves.” Judges also noted that the law does not limit the number of magazines that a person can own.

So weak logic in the law and equally weak and vague logic to support the law. The perception bias problem we face is that the best educated people on the subject are staunchly pro-gun, which creates the perception that information being delivered is biased pro-gun regardless of the information’s accuracy. The short version of a very long and complex data stream is that an active killer incident is too complex to influence with a measure like a magazine ban. Too many other factors increase or decrease the lethality and injuriousness of the incident for a ban to matter. But it sounds good if you don’t think about it.

The entire theory of a capacity limit rests on the supposition that a perfectly placed unarmed individual who manages not to receive a critical injury will be able to see and react to an active killer reloading a firearm and work to incapacitate them. It’s the same thing as telling your co-workers, employees, or constituents, “In the event someone is trying to murder all of us, don’t worry because guns jam sometimes and we might be able to get the shooter then. If we’re lucky.. and they don’t have another gun.. and someone noticed it jammed.. and they don’t fix it.. and there are only one of them.. and one or more of us are strong enough and uninjured in order to incapacitate them.. and if they don’t have any other effective means of killing like a bomb or something.. and at least one or more of us are perfectly willing to take one for the team to try this.. and.. and yeah this is the stupidest rule.”

The capacity limit does negatively influence self defense, because self defense is opposed force. Capacity limit sets up a direct and deliberate failure point for a firearm someone is using against an unknown number of, voracity for violence of, and disposition of deadly assailants. It is saying to the person under attack, “You have X many tries, then you’re fucked. Good luck.” and then those same folks saying that are certain to exempt themselves and their security. If it worked wouldn’t they not need an exemption?

Keith Finch
Keith is the Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. A Certified Instructor since 2009, he has taught concealed weapons courses in the West Michigan area in the years since and continues to pursue training and teaching opportunities as they arise.