So now we have the 9th Circuit in California deciding that a state law banning hi-capacity gun magazines is no good because the law prevents law-abiding California residents from exercising their 2nd-Amendment ‘right’ to self-defense. The Court thus takes the 2008 Heller decision which defined handguns as ‘arms’ traditionally kept in homes for defensive purposes, thus to ‘keep and bear arms’ means that you also need a magazine to use with the gun. And since hi-capacity magazines have been sold with handguns for what is now almost fifty years, these mags fall under Constitutional protection as well.
I didn’t notice any of the so-called experts like John Donahue who were consulted by The (failing) New York Times even consider the idea that maybe, just maybe, these so-called ‘traditional’ self-defense guns aren’t guns designed to be sold or owned by all these law-abiding California residents who need to protect themselves from a home invasion, a terrorist attack or even the spread of the ‘Chinese flu.’
In fact, the so-called self-defense guns which carry hi-capacity magazines – Glock, Sig, Beretta, S&W – weren’t designed for the civilian market. They were all designed to be what the 2008 Heller decision calls ‘weapons of war,’ which even gun-nut Tony Scalia said didn’t deserve Constitutional protection at all.
Gaston Glock built his first hi-capacity polymer handgun in response to an RFP issued by the Austrian Army. It was designed to hold military-grade ammunition (9mm) and it was designed to take a magazine which held 16 rounds. The magazine capacity was specifically considered to be a needed design feature for troops in the field; it was never considered a necessary part of a gun to be kept in the home.
In fact, the United States is the only advanced country which allows gun manufacturers to sell the exact, same gun to civilians that is designed and sold to the armed forces as a weapon of war. When SigArms won a contract to replace the Beretta M9 pistol with its modular 320 gun, the first thing the company did was to ship thousands of those guns to commercial wholesalers for sale to the retail trade. What were the design differences between the gun Sig shipped to the civilian market as opposed to the gun that was delivered to our troops both here and abroad? There was no design difference, as in none.
And all of those Sig pistols, by the way, were shipped to the civilian market with hi-cap magazines, except for the guns shipped to a few Communist states which still maintain the 10-shot magazine requirement from the Clinton assault weapons ban passed in 1994. For those states, Sig thoughtfully provides the gun with 10-shot mags.
I guarantee you that in the aftermath of this loony decision we will be treated to the usual pro-and-con argument about hi-capacity mags, with Gun-nut Nation saying that the 2nd-Amendment ‘guarantees’ the ‘right’ to self-defense, and the other side, our side, saying that ‘studies show’ that hi-cap magazines result in more intentional injuries and deaths from guns. You can find both arguments on display in the afore-mentioned article in The (failing) New York Times.
Until and unless my dear friends in Gun-control Nation realize that a gun designed specifically for the military shouldn’t be in civilian hands regardless of just how law-abiding, reasonable, and responsible those hands happen to be, we will continue to be treated to a debate about gun violence which never gets beyond la-la land.
How do you build a movement to regulate a product when you don’t know anything about the design and use of the product itself? You can’t. How do you convince a majority of Americans that a military weapon isn’t something that should just be lying around in case the bad guy comes crashing into your home? You don’t.
Which is why we still lack any kind of effective or even realistic plan for reducing gun violence at all.