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A Strange Thing To Assert as Fact:

Bloomberg News reports:

Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said the top priority of his party's lawmakers is hiring more police to fight crime, not tougher gun control.

Emanuel said the House "might" or "might not" re-enact an assault-weapons ban that expired in 2004. That legislation, which limited the capacity of handgun magazines, would have reduced the amount of ammunition used in a shooting rampage that killed 32 people this week at Virginia Tech University.

Setting aside the various other questions raised by assault-weapons bans, how can a news service say with a straight face that legislation limiting the capacity of handgun magazines would have reduced the amount of ammunition used by the murderer?

Recall that semiautomatic handguns are reloaded by popping out a magazine, popping in a new magazine, and chambering another round. If the shooter has preloaded several magazines — which the Virginia Tech murdered had — the process can take a second or two, even with no special training.

Banning 15-round magazines (which the Virginia Tech killer apparently had) and limiting magazines to 10 rounds — as per the expired assault weapons ban — or even to 6 rounds, would thus simply require the shooter to reload a little more often. This may limit a shooter who is in the middle of a firefight when one is shooting very quickly (6 to 10 rounds in a few seconds), but not a shooter engaged in a mass shooting such as this one, which took place over many minutes. It doesn't seem even very plausible that a smaller magazine size would have led to fewer shots being fired. It is certainly wrong to say that it would have reduced the number of shots (even if one recognizes that "would have" represents very high probability rather than just certainty).

This is a classic policy analysis mistake, but one that I've found particularly common in gun control debates: assuming that when one enacts a law, that will change the subjects' behavior in the way the law contemplates, but with no compensating substitution effects. Sure, if by reducing magazine size, we get someone to load 4 10-round magazines rather than 4 15-round magazines, he'll have fewer rounds he could readily shoot.

But why on earth would we think that this is how people will react? Why wouldn't they just load 6 10-round magazines instead of 4 15-round magazines? (Another classic policy analysis mistake is simply not knowing the technical details of the items that one is discussing; my sense is that many people, likely including many reporters, just don't know how quickly one can switch magazines on a semiautomatic, or don't even know precisely what a semiautomatic is.)

I should say that banning semiautomatics altogether, and requiring handgun users to rely on revolvers, might theoretically have more of an effect; reloading a revolver does take somewhat more time. It's not vastly more, and if one has a backup gun handy, one won't even be particularly vulnerable while reloading the revolver; and there are other problems with the proposal, including the political problem that the ban would affect weapons that are owned by tens of millions of gun owners.

But at least there'd be something potentially plausible to talk about there. There is, on the other hand, no credible defense for the claim that "[the] assault-weapons ban that expired in 2004 ..., which limited the capacity of handgun magazines, would have reduced the amount of ammunition used in a shooting rampage that killed 32 people this week at Virginia Tech University."

UPDATE: In the original post, I described the process of replacing a magazine as removing the empty one, loading a full one, and then possibly chambering the round, unless one reloads while there is still a round ready to shoot. On reflection, I realize that one would almost always wait until all the rounds have been used before putting in the new magazine, so I changed the post to say that replacing the magazine requires removing, loading, and chambering. The bottom line is unaffected; reloading can still take a second or two, without any fancy training.

bluecollarguy:
It's not a mistake, it's propaganda. Same ole, same ole...
4.21.2007 8:17pm
rlb:
Not to nitpick, but the way most semi-autos operate is that the slide locks back after the last round is fired. A new magazine is inserted and a round from that magazine is chambered when the slide is returned to the forward position by a "slide release," which is usually a lever on the frame. The entire process (magazine release/insert magazine/slide release) doesn't take nearly as long to do as it does to say.

Low-capacity magazines are not an impediment to someone who has many magazines easily available, as the VT shooter did. He had a vest full of them within easy reach. Your average citizen on the other hand either doesn't carry a spare magazine at all, or carries just one, which is usually slower to reload because it's less accessible when it's carried concealed.

Also, revolvers can be reloaded almost instantly by way of a "speedloader," (open cylinder/press ejection rod/insert speedloader/close cylinder) though it does take a little more skill than a semi-auto to do it quickly. But watch this guy: http://youtube.com/watch?v=s3fgduPdH_Y
4.21.2007 8:31pm
FantasiaWHT:
I think the media just likes to say "semiautomatic" because there are enough ignorant people out there who hear that word and think "machine gun"
4.21.2007 8:37pm
K Parker (mail):
Eugene,

The statement is false in even more ways than you suggest, because the the 1994 AWB in fact did not ban high-capacity magazines. All it did do was ban the sale, to civilians [sic], of magazines manufactured after the effective date of the ban. Existing stocks of magazines could still be sold, and any magazine already in private hands could continue to be used with no restrictions.
Pretty much a non-ban ban, other than the PR value, if you ask me.

Manufacturers responded to the passing the the AWB by ramping up production before the effective date, so finding brand-new "pre-ban" magazines was not difficult in the least, though their price was a bit higher than it previously was.
4.21.2007 8:52pm
Eric Wilner (mail) (www):
Even the 1858 Remington revolver could be reloaded relatively quickly, as the cylinder was easily swappable. Carrying loaded and capped spare cylinders might not be the safest thing in the world, but one might surmise that homicidal maniacs are not always the most safety-conscious folks out there.

rlb: Dang, that guy is fast!
4.21.2007 8:53pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
rlb: Thanks for the correction; I've updated the post accordingly.
4.21.2007 8:58pm
Brett Bellmore:
My experience attempting to extract firearms related corrections from a newspaper which proudly proclaimed that it "Corrects all errors of fact!" leads me to believe that the media don't particulary care to get the details about firearms right.
4.21.2007 9:00pm
Tom Holsinger (mail):
It got his name in the paper talking about doing something that, for people who know as little about firearms as most Democrats seem to, is not overtly ridiculous.

I can't emphasize enough how politicians target their commments to particular audiences. The trick is to say something which has the desired meaning to the target audience without honking off people outside that group who might vote for you, or give money to you, anyway.

People who know enough about firearms to realize what nonsense Rahm Emanuel just emitted are not likely to vote for him or give money to him.
4.21.2007 9:23pm
PersonFromPorlock:
This brings up a point I've wondered about before: has anyone ever challenged a ludicrous law on the grounds that the legislature that passed it was manifestly incompetent? I know that at law, 'competent' usually means something like 'authorized' but the word does have another meaning.
4.21.2007 9:35pm
Dan P (mail):
Regarding your update:

Actually, waiting until one is completely out of ammunition is not normal or standard training.

Most training teaches that as soon as there is a pause in 'action' one should eject the current magazine, replace it with a full one, and store the half empty one for later.

This ensures that whenever one is in a shooting confrontation they have a full magazine of ammunition.

It is commonly referred to as a 'tactical reload'
4.21.2007 9:39pm
Roscoe (mail) (www):
Back in the day, we were taught to put a couple of tracer rounds at the bottom of the magazine. So, when you see a light, time to reload. (Of course, I have no idea where you go to get tracer ammunition these days).
4.21.2007 10:43pm
therut:
The whole idea of banning magazines to a certain capacity or the false idea of Assault Weapons or handguns is ludicrous. Many more would have been dead if he had just used a regular cheap pump shotgun. 7 rounds before reloading. The cheap reglar pump is much, much more deadly than any handgun or rifle at close range. But ignorance is bliss for some. Better yet since he was meaning to kill and break the main law of murder he could have sawed the barrell off. I guess we could then make sawed off shotguns harder to get. I would LOVE to see the LAW that would do that. Again, IGNORANCE of firearms is rampant in most politicians, MSM and gun control drama queens.
4.21.2007 10:55pm
BladeDoc (mail):
Here's a video of someone using six round magazines in an IPSC match. He's not particularly fast as these things go.

As for tracer ammunition
put "tracer" in the search box. Expensive, though.
4.21.2007 11:04pm
BladeDoc (mail):
Damn links didn't work

1st one is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU53xMOCgNM

2nd one is http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/default.asp
4.21.2007 11:06pm
H. Tuttle:
The same kind of dopey thinking behind Rahm Emanuel's statement is behind the NYC's council's ban on possession of ANY rifle or shotgun with a magazine capacity of >5 rounds. Seriously. As an unfortunate NYC's resident and 2d Amendment supporter the city's actions mean I can't own the vast majority of rifles. Period. Even .22's, which virtually all hold >5 rounds. When I tried ordering a Marlin 981T .22 a few months back I was informed, "no dice" at which point I learned of this ordinance. I've since learned it's even illegal here mere to possess ammunition for a rifle or shotgun without having a Rifle &Shotgun Permit. Until I leave the People's Republic of NYC my choice of long guns (forget about pistols) is seriously limited.
4.21.2007 11:30pm
Mark H.:
I too, BlueCollarGuy, think Rahm Emanuel knows exactly what he's saying.
4.22.2007 12:11am
pittspilot (mail) (www):
I have always believed that Magazine capacity limits have at least one adverse affect that gun "safety" advocates never consider. Namely that a user limited by capacity would compensate by increasing the effectiveness of the cartridges they had left. I think this was borne out by the 1994 ban.

Prior to the ban, the popular category of gun was the so-called wonder-9, 9mm handguns that had 18-19 round magazines. After the ban, the 1911 and the ,45 ACP took off, as did the 10MM and the .40S&W.

I have never found a study to back this up, but it seems logical that a more powerful cartridge would have a detrimental affect on accidental shootings as well as intentional shootings. After all being struck being a single .45 ACP is worse then being struck by a single 9MM.

Moreover, studies do show that accidental and intentional shooting where more then 10 shots are fired are much rarer then accidental or intentional shootings where less then 10 rounds are fired.

So, in essence, magazine capacity limits heighten the danger faced by those struck by bullets in either intentional or unintentional shooting. The magazine capacity rule make us less safe.
4.22.2007 12:51am
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmm.

Firearms aren't sold in isolation here in the USA. The same models are sold overseas all over the world and often enough with zero restrictions.

If I'm a homicidal maniac or a murderous criminal what will stop me from either smuggling in high cap magazines or buying them from a smuggler?

Or better yet use a 5.56mm "pistol" which is really just a AR-15 with a very short barrel and the recoil tube. This type of weapon uses M-16/AR-15 magazines so you could pack 30-rd, 40-rd and if you were really off the wall you could even have a drum magazine. Sure it's larger than a regular pistol but it's a more powerful round than many pistols, has a much larger magazine capacity and it's far more controllable IMHO than some pistol designs.

*shrug* gun control doesn't work anywhere. Even in the UK the problem now is that the criminals are using CAD/CAM milling machines to produce their own pistols and not importing them.
4.22.2007 1:13am
33yearprof:
I was a class "C" IPSC shooter (and old and fat and clumsy) when I competed years ago. Nevertheless I can still do a quick reload.

Last week to show a reporter that magazine capacity doesn't matter, we tried an experiment at the range. We both shot at the "A" zone on a standard target (so we had to aim each shot). He's familiar with handguns although he doesn't shoot regularly. He had my Glock 9mm with a 33 round double-stack magazine. I had a 1911 in 45ACP with 7 seven shot single-stack magazines.

We both began shooting at the same time. I shot my 50th shot (7 mags plus one in the chamber to start) as he shot his 30th. That's six reloads to none.

With a little practice changing magazines and normal dexterity, magazine capacity is simply irrelevant.

When I used a revolver, I could reload with a speedloader just a bit slower than I can swap mags in my semi-automatic pistol. It did take a bit more practice, though.

We are all lucky that there is no handgun ban forcing these murderers to substitute shotguns ("duck hunting guns") as with some practice, they can also be reloaded quickly. In a classroom setting, every round from a shotgun would be a one shot kill.
4.22.2007 1:54am
luagha:
I will mention that the limit on 10-round magazines imposed by the Assault Weapons Ban is what resulted in the current slew of 'compact' and 'supercompact' high-caliber handguns. Since there was no longer any pressure for a firearms manufacturer to have a rational magazine size, they all made newer guns smaller, so as to be lighter, more comfortable to carry, and more comfortable to conceal.

I'm not against this at all, by the way - it's just another example of an unintended consequence. One imagines that the inventors of the AWB didn't want it to spur the design and creation of a dozen new ultracompact .45 ACP designs.
4.22.2007 3:43am
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
The main thing is this, I think. As long as it's not a muzzle loader, the differences in reload times are at the margin, and have little consequence.
4.22.2007 3:53am
Leah Guildenstern (www):
Ok, not to nitpick, but it isn't a slide release, it is a slide lock. Although the slide lock can be pushed down to slide the slide forward (and chamber a round) you can end up with a poorly seated round. It is better to pull back on the slide and then release the slide to chamber the round.

That said, most people probably use the slide lock to chamber the first round and shoot to slide lock. In a defensive situation it is better to manage the ammo and not go to slide lock.
4.22.2007 4:13am
rlb:
Leah: It's usually "slide stop, not slide lock or slide release. But what's the difference? "Slide release" is easier to understand in this context, even if it appears in fewer parts diagrams.

Also, it's funny, because I got the exact opposite instruction. It went something like this: pulling the slide back is too slow and you risk "riding" the slide and causing it not to fully return to battery. I consulted a couple pistol manuals I had lying around, and they went every which way on the issue: slide stop [Walther], pull slide [S&W, Ruger], both [Glock]. Incidentally, either method works fine for me over all the guns.

As to the "tactical reloads," I see the point for competition but I'd be very skeptical about anyone advising that you do it in real life, for any number of reasons: it's harder to insert a fully-loaded magazine on a chambered round, and some drop-free magazines, well, aren't, when loaded. But I think the best reason is that it's a needlessly complicated thing to do, and not worth the risk.
4.22.2007 7:22am
Va Med Mal Lawyer (mail):
I actually saw this portion of the interview on which this article is based. The idea in question came directly from Al Hunt and Rahm Emanuel did not address it or ratify it in any way.

A rough transcript from my memory:

Al: The Repbulicans let the '94 bill lapse. If the ban had been in place, the VT gunman would have had less ammunition. Are the Democrats going to bring back the ban?

Rahm: As a result of VT, we're doing two things. Pelosi, Dingell and the NRA are working on a proposal to keep guns from the mentally ill. Second, we're going to put more cops on the street.

Al: Are you going to re-enact the '94 ban?

Rahm: We might. We might not. I support it, but I can't speak for four other people (i.e., the leadership).

I have two observations. First, Hunt was implying that the Republicans bore some responsibility for the death toll, if only to get an inflammatory headline out of it if Emanuel had taken the bait. He did not and I appreciate it when politicians do that with journalists like Hunt or Tim Russert. Second, as a political matter, I don't think that the Democrats are going to be doing anything on gun control in the next year. They fear this issue will hurt them at the polls.

I suspect the author of the article used the same language as Hunt because Hunt is a big shot and, therefore, must be correct.
4.22.2007 9:48am
Yankev (mail):

(Another classic policy analysis mistake is simply not knowing the technical details of the items that one is discussing; my sense is that many people, likely including many reporters, just don't know how quickly one can switch magazines on a semiautomatic, or don't even know precisely what a semiautomatic is.)


A perfect example: After the LI RR shooter some years ago, the Columbus Dispatch described semi-auto handguns as being able to hold numerous rounds in the chamber at the same time. Either the Dispatch found a way to circumvent the laws of physics, or they did not know the difference between a chamber and a magazine.

Then again, their editorial writers often exhibit the inability to distinguish between part of their anatomy and an excavation.
4.22.2007 3:05pm
LM (mail):
Over a large enough sample the higher cost of purchasing 3 ten round mags than 2 fifteen round mags should reduce the number of shots fired. Unless of course a fifteen round mag cost at least 150% that of the ten rounder. Where they are both legal to manufacture and sell, that should rarely, if ever, be the case.

Not recommending, just pointing out.
4.22.2007 3:39pm
Spoons (mail):
Gene's update, "On reflection, I realize that one would almost always wait until all the rounds have been used before putting in the new magazine...." is wrong. I suppose if he'd specified that he was talking about people who don't know what they're doing. Such people probably would empty a magazine before reloading.

I'm not meaning to start a fight or anything, but I'm afraid "rlb" really just doesn't know what he's talking about. He writes:

As to the "tactical reloads," I see the point for competition but I'd be very skeptical about anyone advising that you do it in real life, for any number of reasons: it's harder to insert a fully-loaded magazine on a chambered round, and some drop-free magazines, well, aren't, when loaded. But I think the best reason is that it's a needlessly complicated thing to do, and not worth the risk.

rlb's skepticism notwithstanding, every major shooting school and law enforcement training teaches tactical reloads. Allowing the slide to lock back on an empty chamber is actually considered a serious mistake in a gunfight. I'm not sure where you get the idea that it's harder to insert a magazine with a chambered round. It's not. Nor is a magazine less likely to drop free.
4.22.2007 3:44pm
James Fulford (mail):
luagha writes, above


Since there was no longer any pressure for a firearms manufacturer to have a rational magazine size, they all made newer guns smaller, so as to be lighter, more comfortable to carry, and more comfortable to conceal.

I'm not against this at all, by the way - it's just another example of an unintended consequence. One imagines that the inventors of the AWB didn't want it to spur the design and creation of a dozen new ultracompact .45 ACP designs.


Indeed. In fact, they've attacked these guns under the name of "Pocket Rockets."
4.22.2007 4:52pm
rlb:
As they say, context is everything. The initial comment is about about someone perpetrating a massacre with six- or ten-round magazines. He's usually going to shoot to slide lock, because, well, it's a massacre. But in those occasions where there's a lull and he decides to load a full magazine, is he going to try and hang on to the half-spent one, as "tactical reload" entails? Of course not; he's got a vest full of them.

As to the second comment, you have your expected audience and I have mine. My reader hasn't been a "shooting school" and he isn't running through an obstacle course shooting paper or plates. He's a real person in a life-or-death situation.

As to it being harder to load a full magazine on a chambered round, do I really have to justify this-- is a single-stack, 7-round 1911 the only thing you've shot in the last twenty years? But, I will cite you one example of a pistol whose "drop free" magazines won't reliably drop free when loaded and inserted against a chambered round: the Walther P99.
4.22.2007 6:00pm
Damozel (mail) (www):
I don't know a thing about guns. I'm "against" them, so I do not own one. Which is probably the most that people who are anti-gun can do about the problem.

I believe in stringent gun control---I just don't believe it can be safely implemented.

Virginia Tech is not a good argument for the need to limit the availability of certain types of weapons. If Cho wanted to kill a lot of people, he might well have found other ways to do this if he couldn't get a semiautomatic weapon or whatever it was. He was a psychopath. The question his case raises is who should have easy access to guns, not what sort of gun people should be able to get.

This article at a law blog called Concurring Opinions addresses the reasons why pro-gun and anti-gun can't have a rational conversation about guns. At least it reminded me that we are talking at cross-purposes because of a conflict in fundamental values and in the way we frame reality.

I really think there may BE no workable solution. I don't think the fear that drives the pro-gun lobby is completely irrational or that their arguments have no merit: it's perfectly possible that if any of the current solutions were implemented those shadowy criminals they all fear so much would come out of the woodwork and invade their homes. Liberals such as I, perhaps less driven by fear, are more concerned about the fact that most gun deaths happen because formerly law-abiding people happened to have access to a gun at a moment of extreme emotion; and because people on the other side help to glorify the use of guns.

I'm not sure, frankly, that any policy other than the one proposed by Rahm Emanuel will serve. And I'm not sure it will serve any purpose except the identification and prosecution of those who misuse guns.

It may be that Americans will simply have to live with the risk of being shot. Perhaps we can reduce the risk of being shot by the likes of Cho by considering ways in which to limit the access of people who are identified as mentally ill to guns, but even that has clear drawbacks.
4.22.2007 7:02pm
Jeffrey:
Point is, this statement is still wrong —

"...one would almost always wait until all the rounds have been used before putting in the new magazine..."

The "almost always" part is wrong. Tactical reloads are very, very, important, (and far from "needless") during any actual defensive shooting situation.

While tactical reloads may not be used the majority of the time during recreational shooting, there are still thousands of shooters who participate in shooting scenarios every weekend across this country where a tactical reload is required, (often more than one too). I don't think I need to remind anyone of the millions of rounds of ammo these shooters go through in America every month!

Also, since police and military are the ones most likely to be involved in firefights, AND they are trained in the importance of tactical reloads, I would be surprised to learn of many firefights which they were involved in that didn't include a tactical reload.

"Almost always" does not cut it.

And being corrected twice about guns while attempting to correct others about guns, hinders your overall point, which was spot-on.
4.22.2007 7:11pm
Advocate:
Since vehicle accidents actually have far more fatalities than guns, lets try Damozel argument in a SLIGHTLY more logical way.

+++++++

I don't know a thing about CARS. I'm "against" them, so I do not own one. Which is probably the most that people who are anti-CAR can do about the problem.

I believe in stringent AUTOMOBILE control---I just don't believe it can be safely implemented.

A SUV driven into a crowd is not a good argument for the need to limit the availability of certain types of BUMPERS. If the DRIVER wanted to kill a lot of people, he might well have found other ways to do this if he couldn't get an SUV or whatever it was. He was a psychopath. The question his case raises is who should have easy access to CARS, not what sort of CAR people should be able to get.

This article at a law blog called Concurring Opinions addresses the reasons why pro-CAR and anti-CAR can't have a rational conversation about CARS. At least it reminded me that we are talking at cross-purposes because of a conflict in fundamental values and in the way we frame reality.

I really think there may BE no workable solution. I don't think the fear that drives the pro-CAR lobby is completely irrational or that their arguments have no merit: it's perfectly possible that if any of the current solutions were implemented those shadowy criminals they all fear so much would come out of the woodwork and CRASH INTO their homes. Liberals such as I, perhaps less driven by fear, are more concerned about the fact that most CAR deaths happen because formerly law-abiding people happened to have access to a CAR at a moment of extreme emotion; and because people on the other side help to glorify the use of FAST CARS.

I'm not sure, frankly, that any policy other than the one proposed by Rahm Emanuel will serve. And I'm not sure it will serve any purpose except the identification and prosecution of those who misuse CARS.

It may be that Americans will simply have to live with the risk of being DRIVEN OVER. Perhaps we can reduce the risk of being CRASHED INTO by the likes of NEGLIGENT DRIVERS by considering ways in which to limit the access of people who are identified as mentally ill to CARS, but even that has clear drawbacks.
4.22.2007 7:37pm
rlb:
Context, context, context. Our context is a mass-shooting involving low-capacity magazines. Prof. Volokh's generalization holds in the scenario he's discussing, whether you think that most shootings involve a tactical reload or not.

You can see some statistics about the typical "shootout" that police officers are involved in here.

The average number of shots fired by an officer during their fairly recent survey goes from 3.59 with one officer involved, to 6.45 with more than two. Considering that a typical police officer's pistol is loaded with 12-18 rounds, I doubt that there are many reloads during shootouts, period. But of course I can't prove it one way or the other.

And, finally, I don't think I've been corrected yet, assuming you don't count my referring to a slide stop as a "slide release" in comments directed to a layman. Which two "corrections" were you referring to?
4.22.2007 8:32pm
DougA (mail):
Just a few comments.

The theory is that by limiting the magazine capacity, it will take more reloads giving time to escape or attack the shooter.

In the VT case, the shooter bought most or all of his equipment on a credit card which I would guess that he wasn't planning on having to pay off so cost wasn't an issue. Side note: if his parent's name were on the credit card, are they going to be responsible for the charges?

The revolver shooter is Jerry Miculek. The gun he was using was not a "normal" revolver. The gun uses moon clips to hold all of the rounds together so that it is quick to drop them into the cylinder. The spent casings and moon clip gets ejected and the new one dropped in. Much quicker than using a speed loader. Most revolvers sold except used for competition wouldn't use moon clips.

He has also "tuned" the trigger pull so that it is much smoother than a production gun. I have revolvers with both tuned and untuned triggers. It makes a big difference on how fast/accurate that you can shoot. It makes the trigger pull almost like a singe action. See next.

Within the category of semi-automatics is single, double and double/single action triggers. The 1911 is single action meaning the hammer is always back when the trigger is pulled. The Glock 19 is double action which means pulling the trigger makes the hammer cock and fall. Some guns, the first trigger pull cocks the hammer and then after the first round the hammer is already cocked for the subsequent trigger pulls in single action mode. Single action semi-automatics are more accurate/faster to fire. Not because of time to pull the trigger but a lot less effort. Most revolvers are double action. The single action revolver require manually cocking the hammer.

Doug
4.22.2007 9:49pm
K Bennight (mail):
In a related vein, the Virginia Tech incident was, of course, discussed on this week's McLaughlin Group. Lawrence O'Donnell sharply asserted that Cho was spraying rounds from a fully automatic weapon. When Patrick Buchanan corrected him, pointing out Cho was using semiautomatic weapons, O'Donnell merely spoke louder.

I'm no fan of Patrick Buchanan, but at least he has a clue about firearms.
4.22.2007 10:54pm
Don Meaker (mail):
I have a Smith and Wesson .45 ACP revolver, but not tuned. Half moon clips were invented for the First World War. Full moon clips became common in the 1970s, but there are patents that go back to the 1870s, intended for the old Schofield Model 3, which was a break top revolver.

Multiple shot pistols go back further than that, famously to the pepperbox, and less famously to several multiple shot flintlocks that predate the revolution.

It is the assymetry in armament that causes vulnerability. No matter what the design of weapon, a crazed shooter can be stopped by either his last bullet, or the first bullet of another.
4.22.2007 11:08pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Most handguns sold in the U.S. have magazines that drop as soon as you press the magazine release. I can reload most of my handguns in half a second or less.

The only time that magazine capacity matters is if someone is shooting back--and the gun control advocates are terrified that this might happen. Why, if a mass murderer goes on a rampage in a place where the victims can shoot back, someone might get hurt!
4.23.2007 12:51am
rlb:
Lewis and Clark had an air rifle that shot .40-50 caliber lead balls, with a 20-something round magazine that could be fired off in about a minute. Apparently it was useful for scaring the Indians.

It was supposed to have about as much punch as a .45 ACP-- the same round the "Tommy" Gun used [but obviously the air rifle had a slower rate of fire]. These air guns had been around for a long time before but were too expensive to maintain and not durable enough for general use.

Read more here:Wikipedia : Girandoni Air Rifle
4.23.2007 5:47am
williak:
Has anyone provided an analysis of the shooter's reloading sequence? As far as I know, the shooter was reported to be shooting with both semis at the same time. This mode of shooting presents some significant issues wrt reloading.

As some of you are no doubt aware, a semi-auto full-frame high-capacity 9mm occupies more hand than the typical male has available (ie. you can't close your fingers around the grip). I'm not sure about the .22 but I would imagine not much finger is left over there either. This means neither hand can be used to reload the opposite hand's empty gun.

Therefore, the each gun must be parked in order to free that hand to reload the other hand's empty gun with its preloaded magazine. Then the procedure would be reversed. I envision two hip or leg holsters for parking and front mounted, opposite side-entrance magazine storage.

Finally, the 10-shot .22 vs the 15-shot 9mm presents all kinds of curious reload sequences assuming the shooter wanted a known overall reload sequencing.

So what gives?
4.23.2007 11:08am
Yankev (mail):
Liberals such as I, perhaps less driven by fear, are more concerned about the fact that most gun deaths happen because formerly law-abiding people happened to have access to a gun at a moment of extreme emotion

Damozel, do you have any statistics to back this up? Most gun deaths as far as I know are criminals shooting other criminals, or being shot by police, or shooting innocent victims. And formerly law abiding is not the same as never convicted or never arrested.

In my experience, gun control advocates are as driven by fear, in not moreso, as those who believe in the right to own guns. The differences are in the object of the fear and the response to the fear.

Doug, where did you find a Glock with a hammer, let alone one where the hammer is uncocked? Every Glock I have seen uses a striker, not a hammer, and the striker is partially cocked (spring tensioned) before the trigger is pulled. This makes the trigger pull longer and stiffer than a single action but easier than a true double action.
4.23.2007 12:09pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Damozel writes:

Liberals such as I, perhaps less driven by fear, are more concerned about the fact that most gun deaths happen because formerly law-abiding people happened to have access to a gun at a moment of extreme emotion; and because people on the other side help to glorify the use of guns.
This is incorrect. FBI studies in the 1970s found that about 45% of those arrested for murder had previous felony convictions--and a large fraction of those had previous MURDER convictions. About 1/3 of U.S. murders are typically by those under 18 years of age. A study of murders in 1991 found that about 5% were done by mental patients who had stopped taking their medications--which would be a fraction of perhaps 2% of the population.

You can find law-abiding, completely sane adults who suddenly, without warning, pick up a gun and commit murder. But those are very, very atypical. Someone like Patrick Purdy, Cho, or Richard Baumhammers, is far more typical.
4.23.2007 7:32pm