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How to Defend High Capacity Magazines Without Looking Like An Insensitive Moron.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Justin, Dec 23, 2012.

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  1. Justin

    Justin Moderator Emeritus

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    In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, there have been calls for reinstating a federal ban on magazines that hold more than ten rounds.

    Arguing for the right to own these magazines is something that can be problematic, as even many gun owners see no issue with restricting access to them.

    Furthermore, I've seen a lot of pro-gun folks try to make a case for these magazines, and come off as either insensitive, buffoonish, or just downright stupid, and it makes me cringe every time I watch it happen.

    So, in the interest of preserving our second amendment rights, here are my thoughts on arguing against bans on >10 round magazines.

    **Know Who You're Debating**

    Most of the people reacting to Sandy Hook (and other rampage shootings) are not gun people. For the most part, they aren't anti-gun people, either. They are, however, completely ignorant about guns and how they work, and have a general level of fear associated with guns and people who own them.

    What they're looking for is an answer to the question of "how do we stop rampage shootings" and they're grabbing at the first straw, gun control, that seems like a good idea. You have to convince them that gun control is not the answer.

    **Arguments That Don't Work, and Why**

    *• It's my right to own them because 2nd Amendment.*
    -This argument is true, however it makes you look stupid and selfish. After all, to the people you're speaking to, you come off sounding like you put your right to own a dangerous product above the safety of their kids.

    *•I own them because I can.*
    -Again, this is a stupidly weak argument, and a tautology on top.

    *•I own them because I may need them for self-defense.*
    -Remember, the people you're talking to have not spent any time at all studying personal defense, much less defense with a firearm. By and large, most people assume that a more traditional style of gun, like a revolver, would be perfectly adequate. Furthermore, statistically speaking, for the vast, vast majority of defensive encounters, they're right. The number of self-defense incidents where capacity of the defender's gun was what won the day are, in truth, vanishingly small. As a result, most people, who've spent no time reading up on the current state of self-defense will dismiss you as a paranoid lunatic with delusions of having to fend off an army.

    *•I own them because we may need them in case of invasion/the US government turns on its own people/The Revolution/Wolverines!*
    -Most people in this country live comfortable lives, and they rarely pay attention to historical precedent. As a result, they don't believe that things could come down to a situation where things go all Warsaw Ghetto, and even if they *do* entertain the notion that such a thing could happen here, they cannot and will not consider the idea of actually picking up a gun and fighting against an existential threat. Any argument that follows the revolutionary line of reasoning will be dismissed out of hand as paranoid fantasizing. You will be painted as a lunatic preparing for an event that will never happen. The assumption is that you're so delusional that you are putting your right to a revolution that will never come up against the protection of children.

    *•I own them because it makes it easier for me at the shooting range or because having them reduces amount of time I have to waste loading magazines.*
    -Again, this argument makes you look completely unsympathetic. After all, if a ban on magazines would reduce these shootings, then who cares if it means you're slightly inconvenienced during a range trip?

    *•I own them because I compete in USPSA/3 Gun/some other form of competition.*
    -This argument can help to counter the "you don't need a high capacity magazine to hunt" or "why would anyone have these things?" and pointing out that you're involved in a competitive sport may confer some legitimacy, but it's still a weak argument, because you sound like you're putting the enjoyment of a game above the safety of kids.

    **Arguments That Should Work, With Explanation**

    The best way to voice your opposition to a magazine ban isn't by asserting your rights. Regardless of how strongly you feel about the 2nd Amendment, rights-based or possession-based arguments are not going to sway someone who is on the fence about the 2nd Amendment, and/or already believes that no reasonable person owns such an item.

    The best way to make the case in favor of >10 round magazines is from a policy perspective. As gun owners we should all be actively engaging in the public discussion over these items, and offering our unique knowledge to help guide policy in a direction that will actually be effective at stopping these sorts of shootings from happening in the future.

    ***The best arguments against a ban on these magazines is to point out that such a ban SIMPLY WILL NOT WORK.*** It's thoroughly terrible policy that will absolutely not stop the next rampage killer from taking out as many victims as his tortured mental state demands.

    Here's a breakdown of the arguments that are bound to be the most effective, at least with people who aren't being completely emotional about the situation.

    *•The 1994-2004 Assault Weapon Ban*
    -The US had a ban on these magazines that lasted for ten years, and during that time, there was not one trustworthy study that showed the ban had any effect whatsoever on rates of violent crime, regardless of the type.

    *•The technology is already "in the wild."*
    -With the exception of the ten years during the federal assault weapon ban >10 round magazines have been sold with hundreds of millions of new guns, and available on the market to anyone who cares to purchase them. These magazines are mechanically simple (about as complex as a well-constructed travel mug), small, and completely untraceable. Any attempt to regulate these magazines will essentially be DOA because there are already so many of them in private hands.

    *•Consider the implications of enforcing a ban*

    -Everyone wants to get behind the idea of a ban without putting any thought into actual enforcement costs. Ask them to explain how they would enforce a ban.
    Would they be willing to ok warrantless searches to find these magazines?
    Would they be willing to arrest, try, convict, and imprison for ten years anyone found to possess one?
    How much would it cost to imprison all of these millions of people?
    Would we have to construct new prisons for them?
    Would it really be worth it?

    (The nice thing about this line of reasoning is that it's an extremely easy litmus test to see if you're dealing with someone who's halfway rational or not. No rational person would actually agree that locking up tens of millions of people who've harmed no one would be a good idea. And if the person says they're ok with it, you know they're a nut. This argument also has the potential to work well if you're talking to people in favor of legalizing pot, as the comparisons between marijuana users and magazine owners are actually pretty clear-cut.)

    *•How to enforce a ban?*
    -How would you keep people from importing unmarked magazines from outside of the US, or squirting them out of a 3D printer?

    *•Point out that other mass shootings have taken place without >10 round magazines*
    -3 of the 4 guns used by the Columbine shooters did not use high capacity magazines. Specifically, Eric Harris had to reload his Hi-Point Carbine ten times, and the double-barreled shotgun used was reloaded over twenty times. [ur=http://acolumbinesite.com/weapon.html]Source[/url] The Walther used by Seung-Hui Cho could not hold more than ten rounds. The Beltway "snipers" never fired more than one shot at any given murder attempt. Charles Whitman used no high capacity magazines.

    -Changing magazines is an action that even an amateur can easily complete in under four seconds. Even if the killer is limited to ten round magazines, it won't matter. They will simply carry more magazines and reload more often. Furthermore, there is not one instance where that extra reload time made a difference in the outcome of a shooting. (Some may try to claim that it did in the case of the Giffords shooting, but Loughner's gun jammed, which is what provided the time to others around him to react.)


    Finally, if you're a parent and a gun owner, voice this fact. Having a kid means you've got skin in the game, and gives you additional legitimacy. Remember, at the end of the day, everyone wants the same thing: to stop or reduce the number of rampage killings, especially those targeting children. As gun owners, we have not only a unique perspective and specialist knowledge on the subject, but we've also got the most to lose. Therefore it is extremely important for all of us to present the best arguments we can.

    I hope that this post is useful. I've been making a number of these arguments on public news forums with some success. I'd appreciate any feedback.
     
  2. xfyrfiter

    xfyrfiter Member

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    Justin; IMHO you got it!
     
  3. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    Very useful and rational. Thanks!

    The single most effective argument is the one that demonstrates that magazine capacity limits will make no difference, just like every other gun control measure, because the bad guys will pay them no mind and can swap out mags very quickly anyway.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  4. wacki

    wacki Member

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  5. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    Excellent information. However, I think what you are saying is that there are no real reason for us to own 30 round capacity rifle mags or other hicap mags, just that enforcement of a ban is essentially impossible.

    I don't know, there has to be positive arguments FOR owning these, not just that it won't do anything to reduce crime or practically speaking, un-enforceable.

    Do we really sound crazy when we articulate the actual reason for the 2nd Amendment? Protecting ourselves against harm, and from a potentially abusive, oppressive tyrannical government? Are we that embarrassed of the real reason?
     
  6. forindooruseonly

    forindooruseonly Member

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    Good stuff.

    This should be sticky-ed to the top of the page.
     
  7. fehhkk

    fehhkk Member

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  8. k_dawg

    k_dawg Member

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    If you admit you even have to defend them, you have already given into their arguement.
     
  9. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Was discussing a similar thought with a friend. This guy is a gun owner, but not a "gun nut" like most here. He felt that the writers of the 2nd amendment could have never envisioned 30 round magazines or modern rifles and that the 2nd amendment did not apply to such weapons.

    I pointed out that they never envisioned TV, computers or the internet when they wrote the 1st amendment and therefore it should not apply to modern mass communications methods.

    You could see the light come on from the immediate change of facial expression. I won over an immediate convert than changed his views 180 degrees in a matter of seconds.
     
  10. ShadowsEye

    ShadowsEye Member

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    This is very high-handed...Let me remind you that the AWB stood intact for 10 years without any successful legal challenges, and the words "well-regulated" are in the 2nd amendment.

    Realize that public opinion is why the AWB lapsed without a whimper in 2004, its best to win public opinion to our favor, and educated people who don't know any better. We're not talking about engaging with the fervent Brady bunch in pointless arguments, we're talking about people who don't know any better.
     
  11. Hapworth

    Hapworth Member

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    And if you don't admit you have to defend them, they have already won the argument.
     
  12. tomrkba

    tomrkba Member

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    I have tried the rational argument with several people. I have even gotten them to agree with me multiple times in the conversation. In the end, they still "felt" that semi-automatics must be banned.

    I'm pretty much at the point where I say:

    "If you don't know what a right is by now, then I cannot help you. If you do not understand the system, then you should be very, very careful regarding what ideas you advocate. It is very easy for the government to create laws in such a way that the effects exceed the original mandate. If you do not understand this by now, then there is no point in debating anything with you."

    The government knows what "well regulated" means in the context of the Constitution. The people (many lawyers included) have no idea and this is the problem. The justification for the law was the Commerce Clause, which has been so completely abused that any twisted logic fits.

    It is up to us, the armed minority, to ensure our rights exist and continue. Congress and the President have no interest in ensuring the rights of Americans are not violated.* Even the most dense Representative or Senator knew that the NDAA 2011 violates the Constitution, but they passed it anyway. They have shown, time and again, that they have no problem creating laws based upon public perception for the purposes of destroying those rights. Apparently most gun owners do not understand this either.

    I fear that rational argument is not going to work this time. I believe the only thing holding them back is that gun owners have long memories and that Congress is concerned about the 2014 elections. This is not how it should be, but it is the current situation.




    * For Heaven's sake: The President ordered the murder of American citizens overseas using drones. This violates their Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights! If the President can casually murder Americans overseas, and get away with it, then he will do so stateside. If this is not a wake-up call, I don't know what is.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  13. Tom609

    Tom609 Member

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    Exactly...thanks.
     
  14. Justin

    Justin Moderator Emeritus

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    I'm not saying that those reasons are invalid. What I am saying is that those reasons only make sense to people who are already part of the gun culture.

    The arguments I've posted are those that are most likely to actually be effective at convincing people who are uninterested in or hostile to gun ownership.

    I am fundamentally interested in preserving second Amendment rights, and as such I am only interested in those arguments most likely to convince those who think a ban is a good idea.

    In other words I'm more interested in the proper results than I am in making sure that or arguments are 'authentic.'

    Tl;dr the only thing that matters are results.

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S3 using Tapatalk. Hence all the misspellings and goofy word choices.
     
  15. ShadowsEye

    ShadowsEye Member

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    I wouldn't concede that government knows anything, and there is so much arbitrary gun law through out the country that is perfectly constitutional according to SCOTUS.
     
  16. HOOfan_1

    HOOfan_1 Member

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    If defending them makes us look like "insensitive morons", then those we have to defend them to are ignorant cowards.

    Seriously, the people whom we have to pander to and "defend" our rights to, just don't care what we have to say.
     
  17. Justin

    Justin Moderator Emeritus

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    In that case then, you've chosen to concede victory in order to engage in counter-productive chest thumping.

    I'm sorry but if you can't make the mental stretch to using effective, empathetic, data- driven policy-based arguments then you are working against or goals as gun owners.

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S3 using Tapatalk. Hence all the misspellings and goofy word choices.
     
  18. tomrkba

    tomrkba Member

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    I'm not saying I cannot do it or that we cannot do it.

    I am saying that the majority of people are not interested in any sort of detailed, logical debate on any topic tied to emotion.

    I have tried so many times that I'm down to one sentence answers. Many include subtle barbs that tweak their ignorance of how the system works or is supposed to be setup. 95% of the people I talk to believe the government can pass any law and that rights are subject to negotiation.

    The MSM has mastered tying an event to emotion. They know how to strangle any sort of logical debate. It is up to us to learn how to manipulate people in the same way. Most of us find this to be awful behavior. I find it nearly impossible to do. However, I believe this is going to have to be included in our strategy going forward.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  19. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    I see your point Justin, and maybe in a way we have already lost. I also see the value in trying to use these arguments with people "not in the legal gun culture". My hope is that there are enough new entries to our pursuit (women, first time gun owners, new CCW holders, etc) that we can use positive, proactive arguments as well.
     
  20. HOOfan_1

    HOOfan_1 Member

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    Well I am sorry, but all your your proposed arguing points only argue why a ban would be unproductive, none of them argue why there SHOULD BE NO BAN.

    In that case, it is too easy for the antis to point out "nothing ventured, nothing gained"

    Congress has never had a problem passing laws which they knew would be ineffective. All they care about is being able to say "well we did do something". We need to point out why passing the law is not only ineffective, but also WRONG. If we can't use any of those points which you state are bad...then yes, we have already lost.
     
  21. Justin

    Justin Moderator Emeritus

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    I disagree, and remember, it's important that we or or best arguments forward in public forums like blogs and news websites. Even if you don't convince the person you're arguing with, there are always the the lurkers to consider.

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S3 using Tapatalk. Hence all the misspellings and goofy word choices.
     
  22. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

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    Good observation. Let me know when you come up with a positive argument.
    Pete.
     
  23. HOOfan_1

    HOOfan_1 Member

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    Justing already posted plenty of them....and said they make us look like morons....
     
  24. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    Another dimension to the "problem": I own guns for which no <11 -round magazines even exist. I doubt that I'm the only one.

    If there is nobody to resist an armed maniac, it doesn't matter if he has a single-shot pistol or a pitchfork* or an ax handle. He has at least 5 minutes to kill people before the cops get there, even if their response time is good. He has all the time in the world to reload.

    *pitchfork is really efficient and gruesome, and there was at least one pitchfork multiple-murder where the victims would have been armed except the guns were locked up because of a safe-storage law.
     
  25. Hapworth

    Hapworth Member

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    Actually, I never said that defending them makes us look like insensitive morons -- that was someone else and I don't wholly agree with it, although I will agree that certain arguments are more reasonable and persuasive than others, but that's true of any subject and certainly complex ones.

    And I agree, many or most won't be persuaded if they're passionate in their convictions, which is fine, but I don't think that that's reason not to engage in the debate.
     
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