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April 18, 2007

"Large Capacity Magazines:" As Suspected, Cho Didn't Have Them, and ABCNews Is Deleting Comments Rapping Them On Their Bad Reportage

Confederate Yankee notes that "high capacity magazines" were never banned by the 1994 "Assault Weapon" ban as ABCNews continues to insist.

He attempted, once again, to apprise ABCNews of this fact... and got his sound reportage deleted for his troubles. Can't have good, informed reportage crowding out the shoddy, ignornat reportage; people might get the idea that reporters really have no idea what the hell they're talking about.

Allah reports the WaPo confirms that no extended capacity magazines were used -- just the standard 15 round mag for the Glock, and the standard 10 round mag for the .22. Now, 15 rounds is indeed higher than the 1994-2004 10-round limit, but it ain't that much more, and as ConYank continues to note, such weapons have always been available. The 1994 ban simply interrupted the manufacture of new weapons with a 10+ cartridge capacity.

It's possible the Glock Cho bought was itself an older gun-- manufactured not after the AW ban lapse but before it.

Which makes this rush to legislate irrelevancies simply daffy.

Instapundit notes a modest proposal in Volokh's comments -- rather than restricting second amendment rights, why don't we restrict the press' first amendment rights to report on such massacres, thus limiting the inevitable copycatting that occurs thereafter?

Sounds good to me!

Bryan notes that the form required for purchase of a weapon is pretty much a joke; who is going to admit they're a schizophrenic or a fugitive from the law?


He thinks we need more scrutiny along these lines. Maybe we do, but it's fraught with difficulties. One reason I suggested that cops interview and take notes on some of these ticking-time-bomb psychos was just to get them into the system, that is, the National Instant Check System (NICS) for determining if someone is permitted to buy or carry a weapon. Perhaps there should be some way to get someone who is clearly off into that system -- that is, blackball him from owning a weapon -- even if he hasn't yet been confined to a mental institution or deemed mentally incompetent by a court. (Big steps that usually don't happen before many psychos snap.)

The trouble with that, of course, is that you're creating a nonjudicial, not-very-well-vetted list of people alleged to be a little touched, and millions of sane, law-abiding Americans might get put on that list -- basically calling them nuts and libeling them, and also stripping them of their 2nd Amendment rights -- due to a cop's inexpert evaluation, or by enemies just seeking to make trouble. (Does anyone doubt that Elizabeth Edwards would have called the cops on the "gun crazy" Republican neighbor she doesn't like, seeking to harrass him and get his guns taken away?)

The system doesn't have to work in such an absurd way, of course. A tentative finding of mental instability could just be provisional, and could only be affirmed by proof in a civil court. The court wouldn't necessarily commit someone to the nuthouse, it would just state that they were not mentally competent enough to carry a gun. And the decision could be challenged and such.

But obviously we'd be looking at a system that would result in the harrassment and unfair branding of citizens as crazy by the tens or hundreds of thousands. Furthermore, we'd have some serious constitutional problems as people who were not actually legally incompetent (again, a fairly major and rare designation) or committed to an asylum would have their second amendment rights stripped away basically on grounds of a "bad vibe" or "dark suspicion."

So, basically, that wouldn't work.

Attempts to make a would-be gun owner first attend a gun safety class (where he'd need to get approved for gun ownership by his trainer, who might withhold approval on temperament/stability grounds) make a lot of logical sense, but are politically absurd to even suggest, because the NRA and second amendment rightsers are so strongly against it. That's a non-starter.

So basically there's nothing that can be done, which is a strange situation, but I guess it's the one we're stuck with.

Harry Reid sure seems to think so. The tough, strong Democrats are all against gun ownership, just like they were all against the Iraq War, but they don't have the political guts to say so.

I'm pretty sure that 2nd Amendment purists won't like this -- as they didn't like taggants -- but I never quite get why:

By coincidence, Kennedy and Rep. Xavier Becerra (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., are scheduled to attend a demonstration Friday at a firing range used by U.S. Capitol Police to draw attention to microstamping, a procedure by which serial numbers are placed on ammunition casings. The goal is to allow police and other investigators to quickly track ammunition to the gun that fired it.

The two lawmakers support legislation to require microstamping for all guns manufactured after 2009, and aides to both said they planned to go ahead with the demonstration.

If you own a gun and fire it, shouldn't you sort of be required to stand behind your shots? Why is it undermining second amendment rights to require that your bullets be traceable to your weapon? Does the 2nd A expressly embrace the right of anonymity in shooting? Particularly when a particular bullet is interesting from a legal point of view, e.g., it wound up stuck in someone's face.

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posted by Ace at 02:11 PM

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