For those who have been reading me for a good while you’ll note that this is a Redux of an older post I did back on my Livejournal. Of course Livejournal sucks for blogging, and that post is difficult to find, plus this subject is getting a lot of play given the talk about “High-Capacity” magazines in the aftermath of the Arizona Shooting.
As a general rule most gun laws are redundant, like banning carry to curb violent acts that are all read criminal, or banning private sales to keep criminals from getting guns which is already a crime. Or what I call “The Numbers Game”.
The best example is magazine restrictions. One of the greatest examples of this is the S&W4006 handgun. It was introduced in 1990 and was the debut handgun for the .40 S&W cartridge. I may be mistaken but I believe it was based on the 5906 Pistol The 5906 pistol was a 9x19mm pistol that had a standard capacity of 15 rounds. Because of the larger size of the .40 S&W round, the 4006 pistol had a standard capacity of 11 rounds.
I pick this gun because it was designed at the exact wrong place and wrong time, because in 1994 the Federal Assault Weapon ban was passed, which in part banned the sale of new magazines over 10 rounds to civilians. Given that the 4006 was a popular pistol for the 4 years it was unrestricted, there were lots of 11-round mags in the wild, that being said S&W overnight went from being able to sell 11-round magazines to the general market, to having to stamp “Law Enforcement Only” on the 11 rounders, and producing 10-round magazines for civilian sales.
Now let’s talk about the logistics of this. A 10 Round magazines is legal, but a magazine that holds ONE more is now a crime to own. Care to tell me what difference that new magazine causes? Here’s a better one, the person who bought a “Ban compliant” 4006 could load the 10-round magazine up, chamber a round, then drop the magazine and top it off. So the magazine holds 10, but the gun now is holding 11…
Of course this doesn’t make sense. Also it cost S&W a ton of money because they had to tool up new magazines that simply made it impossible for the owner to seat the last round. Today the 4006′s replacement is the M&P 40, which has a 15 round magazine in the full-size, and 10 rounds in the compact variant. The M&P 45 holds exactly 10 rounds. These numbers are intentional, S&W has prepared for a new ban so that if they are going to make a non-compliant magazine, they’ll make the “High-Capacity” a significantly higher number than 10, or exactly 10.
This example can go on. How about the NFA ban on firearms with bores larger than .50 Caliber, or the similar California ban which expands the limit to .50. First up I’m curious what the exact definition is because the venerable .50 BMG actually has a bore of 0.510″. But let’s take that as an example, let’s say I make a wild-cat cartridge that blows out the case neck of a .50 BMG to 0.520″. A different of 1/100th of an inch, and a difference I don’t think anybody could tell without a micrometer, but one rifle is totally legal, while the other is illegal without a Federal Tax Stamp, and goofy paperwork. In California a similar idea actually exists. .50 Caliber firearms are banned for sale there, so Ron Barret invented the .416 Barret cartridge, which is ballistically VERY similar to the .50 BMG, but a slightly smaller bore. But we could technically go between them and still have a legal firearm. Even sillier, the ban makes no distinction on muzzle energy. So a new production rifle in the old .50-70 Buffalo cartridge, or Marlin’s Guide gun in .50 AE are illegal, but something in .416 Barret, or .460 Weatherby Magnum would be OK. You couldn’t buy a Desert Eagle in .50 AE, or a S&W .500 Magnum Revolver….but the same guns in .44 Magnum, or .460 Magnum respectively are perfectly legal.
What do these laws accomplish? Nothing, they picked an arbitrary line in the sand and somehow want you to respect it.
How about another NFA law. Rifles with barrels shorter than 16″, or shotguns shorter than 18″. First up why different barrel lengths for different long-arms? And why is a 16″ shotgun a crime, when a 16″ rifle is not? What’s the harm in a rifle with a barrel with the length of 15″? To further blur the line, it is perfectly legal to buy Pistols built off of rifle receivers that have short barrels, but no shoulder-stock. Of course this is ONLY legal if the receiver has NEVER been assembled as a rifle before. What does a piece of metal’s past have to do with anything?
Again an arbitrary line in the sand chosen for no scientific or logical reasons.
Don’t you think it would be common sense to follow laws that are drawn to do nothing but restrict freedoms?