By SCOTT L. BACH
Scott L. Bach is executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, a member of the NRA Board of Directors and a former member of law enforcement.
Trenton, NJ –-(Ammoland.com)- New Jersey’s latest legislation restricting firearms magazine capacity to 10 rounds from 15 isn’t about violence prevention, it’s about confiscating hardware from law-abiding citizens.
It is based on the fantasy that we will all somehow be safer if we just wave a magic wand and remove a certain tool from society.
If that were true, then banning matches would stop arsonists, and banning knives would prevent stabbings. If box cutters can bring down the World Trade Center, does anyone really believe that banning box cutters will stop the next terror attack?
Those bent on doing evil are going to do evil, no matter what tools are available. A car driven into a crowd can be more lethal than a gun, so can a pressure cooker and so can a gang of terrorists with knives, as shown by the recent railway massacre in China.
The cold, hard truth is that no one will be any safer under this feel-good legislation, because criminals and madmen will either ignore it or find another tool. And even if they followed it, magazines can be changed in an instant.
The state Assembly passed a measure limiting magazine capacity to 10 on March 20 2014. The Senate is expected to offer its version soon.
Critics Ignore History
The latest claim of anti-gun advocates is that split-second magazine changes provide a chance for victims to just “tackle” homicidal maniacs to save themselves, and that smaller 10-round magazines force more frequent changes.
Never mind that 10-round magazines were used at Columbine and Virginia Tech. Never mind that gun jams, not magazine changes, are a primary source of escape opportunities. And never mind that most mass shooters are stopped not when they are tackled, but when they commit suicide, or when a good guy with a gun shows up.
If legislators were sincere about empowering victims of a mass murderer, their answer would not be to tackle the madman, it would be to permit self-defense with a firearm outside the home, instead of actively undermining that basic civil right.
The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering whether to hear a challenge to New Jersey law on that very subject.
I am frequently asked why anyone needs a magazine larger than 10 rounds. The answer is, for the same reason members of law enforcement do – they might face multiple assailants. Criminals travel in packs, and home invasions happen. When a gang of armed thugs kicks in your door at 3 a.m., they won’t be limiting themselves to 10-round magazines, and the government should not make you fumble around in the dark changing smaller magazines to save your family.
The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that police owe no duty to protect individual citizens – their duty is owed to society as a whole. That means you are on your own in an emergency and cannot rely on 911. Law-abiding citizens should be able to have as much ammunition as they need ready to fend off an attack, without interference by the same government that says it has no duty to protect you.
In a recent survey of more than 15,000 law enforcement professionals, nearly all said a ban on magazines of more than 10 rounds would not reduce violent crime.
Magazine-size restrictions are arbitrary and illogical. The notion that it’s OK for a madman to have 10 rounds but not 11 is absurd (madmen should have zero), but that’s exactly what the pending legislation implies. The same irrational distinction would apply to any number of rounds, and could justify a ban on all rounds.
Optimum Public Safety
The current 15-round limit was similarly arbitrary when it was imposed in 1991. Lawmakers said then (as they do now) that they will never need to revisit the issue since optimum public safety was supposedly achieved. But just as politicians are back today, they will be back again after the next incident, demanding limits of seven rounds, five or even fewer. The charade in Trenton will continue, while good citizens are rendered increasingly defenseless.
The new legislation also contains a flat-out gun ban that would outlaw dozens of popular rifles that have never been used in a crime. Their owners would be turned into felons overnight, forced to forfeit their property or face 10 years in prison. So poorly was the legislation crafted that lawmakers didn’t even realize it would ban guns. Recent committee amendments, written equally unskillfully and in secret, fail to eliminate the gun ban despite claims to the contrary.
The legislation contains no grandfathering, no amnesty, nothing to distinguish New Jersey’s one million legal gun owners from felons and homicidal madmen. The distinction between good guys and bad guys is easy to make (unless going after the good guys is the real intent).
The bill could easily target just felons and those involved in serious crimes instead of trampling everyone’s self-defense rights. The absence of that distinction can mean only one thing: The legislation has more to do with politics than public safety.
Democrats want to put Governor Christie in a corner if he runs for president, and keep the negative headlines coming.
About Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs: The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, Inc. is the official NRA State Association in New Jersey. Our mission is to implement all of the programs and activities at the state level that the NRA does at the national level. This mission includes the following: To support and defend the constitutional rights of the people to keep and bear arms. To take immediate action against any legislation at the local, state and federal level that would infringe upon these rights. Visit: www.anjrpc.org