A Gun Law Even Dick Cheney Can Support

The gunman in the Tucson shooting rampage that killed six people and injured many others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, acquired his handgun legally, despite many warning signs to those around him that he was a very mentally unstable young man. In executing his plot, Jared Loughner used a Glock 19 with a high-capacity magazine. The purpose of such a magazine is to enable a shooter to fire a high number of rounds in a short period– to allow for maximum rapid fire without reloading. Loughner’s high-capacity magazine held twice as many rounds as a normal Glock magazine (30 rounds rather than 15). Recall that he was not neutralized by bystanders until he had emptied his first magazine and attempted to reload. Think of how things might have been different had Loughner only had a normal-sized magazine with 15 rounds. How many fewer people would have been killed or injured? This type of high-capacity magazine was illegal prior to the 2004 expiration of the assault weapons ban. Had Congress and the prior administration acted in 2004 to extend the ban, there would have almost definitely been fewer casualties in Tucson in 2011.

In the aftermath of the shooting, vehement gun rights advocate and former Vice President Dick Cheney suggested that he would support a ban of the high-capacity magazine. In speaking of how to avoid such a tragedy in the future, Cheney pondered, “whether or not there’s some measure there in terms of limiting the size of the magazine that you can buy to go with semi-automatic weapons, we’ve had that in place before. Maybe it’s appropriate to re-establish that kind of thing.”

This is both surprising and heartening to hear from a man who, while a member of the House of Representatives, was one of only a number of Republicans who voted against a measure banning detection-avoiding plastic guns and the infamous “cop-killer” bullets.

While vitriol and violent political rhetoric may not have led to the Tucson shooting, the availability of a high-capacity Glock magazine most likely exacerbated the incident. Maybe it’s time we re-enacted some common-sense restrictions on the most dangerous types of assault-weapons.

An informed debate on arms control and the 2nd Amendment should center around a discussion of what types of weapons are too dangerous for ownership by the general population. It’s all about where we draw the line.

9 Replies to “A Gun Law Even Dick Cheney Can Support”

  1. The “assault weapons ban” 1) banned nothing, it forced manufacturers to remove certain cosmetic features from their rifles, like flash hiders, and the dreaded bayonet lug, while having zero effect on the function of the rifles. And 2) was admitted by non other than Bill (gun banner, adulterer, rapist) Clinton himself to be a complete failure. Also, the effect of magazine capacity is a myth perpetrated by those with no practical experience with firearms. Here are three videos to illustrate that point, one of which involves a revolver.

    Guncontrol throughout history has proven a failure everywhere it has been instituted. Besides the total idiocy of burdening those that never break the law with further infringements, we on the side of freedom and liberty have given more than enough ground to the gun grabbers, and are taking back ground, not ceding one more inch. You want my guns, or any part there of, Molon Labe.

    1. TL671- thanks for reading and commenting. With all due respect, I recommend doing more research in unbiased sources before pontificating. First, you ignore the fact that no one, not President Obama, not the Democrats in Congress, are advocating taking away guns from mentally healthy, law-abiding citizens. Gun control does not mean gun elimination. Second, gun control laws have worked with incredible success in much of the developed world. The UK and Australia used to have higher rates of gun violence, but in previous decades, improved the robustness of their background checks and placed restrictions on certain types of weapons (i.e. assault weapons and high capacity mags). You can still own firearms in most of those countries, but they have very low gun crime. The EU and Japan have nearly 10 times less the amount of gun crime (adjusted for population) than the U.S. Third, you make yourself appear like a troll when you used hyperbolic statements like the one about Clinton and “not ceding an inch.” It’s time we demand accountability and personal responsibility of all gun owners. If you own a gun, our nation must ensure that you are not a felon, mentally ill, or a substance abuser. All gun sales, including private sales, must require a robust background check- no exceptions. Opposing that kind of requirement means accepting culpability in gun crimes like the massacre at Newtown, CT. I’ve used plenty of firearms and have received military training on handguns and rifles. But I’m smart enough to recognize, as is Dick Cheney, that the more rounds a shooter has in his magazine, the longer the victims will have to wait before they can try to neutralize him. The Tucson shooter was tackled while reloading. Had he only used a normal-sized mag, he would have shot fewer people before reloading. It’s time for gun owners like you to be less selfish about minor inconveniences like limits on mag sizes and mandatory background checks and care about the rest of the public’s right to life and liberty.

      1. “If you own a gun, our nation must ensure that you are not a felon, mentally ill, or a substance abuser. ”

        Enforcing the laws that are on the books now would be more prudent than new laws that ultimately affect the law-abiding in a negative way.The solutions to our issues isn’t ‘more government’.

        Creating more laws to ban guns is opening the door for further gun grab-legislation to get it’s proverbial foot in the door. We don’t need government dampening our God-given rights to self defense and self reliance. Gun laws are created to control the populace not for ‘safety’. It is naive to believe that safety is the ultimate goal here.

        No one knows what would have happened differently if the magazine held less ammo. What if he brought more than one gun? What if he brought a few different weapons with him? What if he had planted a bomb instead? It’s ludicrous to try to win over pro-gun rights people with an argument based on hypothesis. What if someone had intervened ahead of time and listened to the fact that people were alerting others to his mental instability? Banning high-capacity magazines isn’t the answer. Preventing mentally unstable people from acquiring firearms is another potentially slippery slope. Who is to determine what is mentally unstable? Who defines that? What if someone has a history of taking Prozac for depression (most of America). Will that be used as a broadstroke to legislate guns out of the hands of stable law abiding citizens? This is a much bigger issue than just limiting the size of a magazine. I hope you can see that.

  2. Interesting blog post. I also find your comments to TL671 interesting. You recommend that he should do a little more research from an unbiased source โ€ฆ I might recommend you follow your own advise. The Cheney โ€˜Cop Killer Bulletโ€™ issue would be a good place to start, as no such pistol round was available to the public or had even been used to kill a police officer. But the majority of hunting rifles fire rounds capable to penetrating soft armor. The bill was worded such that it would have banned standard hunting ammo as well.

    But the bigger challenge I would like to levy is to seriously consider your claim that the UK has witnessed improvements since implementing strict gun-controls. For starters, the overall murder rate in the UK has continued the downward trend that began before the gun ban went into effect. But the overall violent crime rate in the UK has skyrocketed. They are now the most violent country in all of Europe (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1196941/The-violent-country-Europe-Britain-worse-South-Africa-U-S.html).

    You see, very very strict gun control can reduce (but not eliminate) *gun* violence and *gun* murders. But many (dare I say most) areas that have tried strict gun control witness a rise in overall violent crime and no real change in the overall murder rate. Why does this occur? Most likely it is because criminals feel empowered to take advantage of a population unable to defend themselves. In fact, a 1982 survey of inmates revealed that 40% of them had decided not to commit a crime because they “knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun”.

    So why is it that the Brady campaign and other gun control groups will claim success when statistic show a reduction of gun violence in a region even when the overall violent crime rate has drastically risen? Hmm?

  3. “This type of high-capacity magazine was illegal prior to the 2004 expiration of the assault weapons ban.”

    Actually no, it was not. Legally available pre-ban magazines existed during the 1994-2004 AWB. Millions of them in fact. Even if the AWB had been extended, 33-rd magazines for that pistol would still legally available to purchase as long as they were made before the AWB was enacted. Pre-ban magazines could still be legally imported into the US too. Because of that law, millions more have been made and purchased such that it is laughable to think another law would have any impact on criminal use of them.

  4. YOU NEED TO CHECK YOUR FACTS.
    1.LOUGHNER’S GUN JAMMED. COMMON WITH SO CALLED HIGH CAP MAGS. WHEN HE COULDN’T CLEAR THE JAM FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE, THE VICTIMS WERE ABLE TO JUMP HIM.
    FRAIL LIBERTY ABOVE POINTS OUT SEVERAL ERRORS.
    2. THE PLASTIC GUN WAS THE GLOCK. GLOCKS DO SHOW UP QUITE WELL ON XRAY MADE OF POLYMER MUCH OF THE INNER WORKINGS ARE METAL SUCH AS THE BARREL.
    3. THERE WAS NEVER A “COP KILLER BULLET” JUST MORE PROPAGANDA
    4. AS FAR AS “RHETORIC” GOES, LOUGHNER’S DIARY SHOWED HE WAS A LIBERAL/ANARCHIST. HE SHOT HER BECAUSE SHE WAS “NOT LIBERAL ENOUGH”. HE HAD BASICALLY STALKED HER FOR MORE THAN A YEAR.

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