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MILLER: The high-capacity magazine myth

Anti-gun crowd deliberately misleads the public

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Deception is the key component in the latest push for more gun control laws. During her soap opera press conference Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein used a liberal clergyman to give her the moral high ground in her campaign to infringe on the Second Amendment.

The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Washington National Cathedral, donned his clerical collar for the all-Democrat event to say he can "no longer justify a society" that "permits the sale of high-capacity magazines designed for the purpose of simply killing as many people as quickly as possible."

The anti-gun crowd labels any firearm magazine capable of holding more than 10-rounds "high-capacity." It's a scare tactic.

(This is the second in a four-part series on dispelling gun myths. Click here to read part one The Assault Weapon Myth.  Click here to read part three The Cop-Killer Bullet Myth. Click here to read part four The Gun-Show Loophole Myth.)

Many firearms come from the factory with devices that feed between 15 to 30 rounds -- some hold more, some less depending on their configuration and purpose. Ten is a number chosen out of thin air for reasons of political theater. The gun grabbers use it to imply the higher-capacity magazines enable murderers to kill more people, but it doesn't actually work out that way.

In a 2004 study for the Department of Justice linked on Mrs. Feinstein's own website, Christopher S. Koper, a professor of criminology, reported that "assailants fire less than four shots on average, a number well within the 10-round magazine limit" of the "assault weapons" ban.

"Studies prove that the arbitrary magazine capacity restriction that was in place for a decade did not reduce crime," Lawrence Keane, the National Shooting Sports Foundation's senior vice president and general counsel, told The Washington Times. "In searching for effective means to reduce violence, we should not repeat failed policies, especially when they infringe on the constitutional rights of the law-abiding."

Violent crime has decreased 17 percent since the assault weapons ban expired.

In the latest incarnation of Mrs. Feinstein's ban, we would see the return of an ammunition limit that had no proven impact on crime while it was in effect from 1994-2004. The proposal outlaws all ammunition feeding devices -- magazines, strips and drums -- capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.

On Tuesday, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey Democrat, reintroduced the legislation he has been pushing since the shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2010 that he calls the "Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act." The bill, which has 17 Senate cosponsors, has a companion measure in the House with the backing of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and 58 of her colleagues.

Even though Mrs. Feinstein used to carry a handgun in San Francisco for her own personal protection, she does not realize what other gun owners know: It can take about two seconds, or less, to drop an empty magazine and insert another.

Criminals are likely to carry as many magazines as they need, but individuals with their guns concealed for self-defense purposes often aren't able to bring extra magazines. Especially in a stressful situation, it can take several rounds to stop a dangerous criminal.

The limitation on magazine capacity is a direct handicap on the right to self-defense. Mrs. Feinstein's entire bill infringes on the right to keep and bear arms, but her randomly selected magazine restriction is one of the most offensive provisions.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.


© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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