Montana – -(AmmoLand.com)- Two days ago, Montana Shooting Sports Association Board member Randy Pinocci recorded Kathleen Williams at a public event saying she would favor treating what she called “high capacity magazines“, really just normal gun mags, the same (legally) as “sawed-off shotguns.” Pinocci had asked Williams if she supports Governor Bullock's new call for gun control.
Let me examine Williams' position.
A “sawed-off shotgun” is called in the National Firearms Act (NFA) a “short-barreled shotgun” (SBS). An SBS is defined as one with a barrel less than 18 inches or less than 26 inches in overall length. To legally possess an SBS requires a purchaser to apply to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) for a tax stamp and pay $200 in tax.
For a law-abiding citizen, the process to apply for NFA permission and get approval takes most of a year, because of the backlog of applications.
A magazine is a device that holds ammunition for a firearm, a device often capable of being changed out with a full magazine when the one in the firearm becomes depleted. “High-capacity magazines” are spoken of by gun control advocates as those that may contain more than ten rounds of ammunition. In the gun culture, we might think of a 100-round magazine as “high capacity.” However, we would call the magazines that are usually purchased with firearms as “standard capacity.” It is very common for such standard capacity magazines to hold as many as 30 rounds of ammunition.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is an organization that represents manufacturers of firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition. The NSSF estimates that there are 132 million magazines in private possession in the U.S. that will hold more than ten rounds of ammunition (See attached graphic.)
In 2017, the BATFE processed 259,163 applications under the NFA.
If the NFA were changed to require those possessing “high-capacity” magazines to treat them as SBS are treated under the federal law, this would multiply the current BATFE workload by 509 times – not double, triple, or quadruple, but 509X. Given the current one-year wait time for NFA applications processing, slogging through this avalanche of paperwork would take the BATFE decades at least, maybe centuries.
The alternative is to use federal law to turn the people who have these 132 million plus magazines into criminals overnight. That would be unwise, to say the least.
And, it would be an absolute fantasy to suppose that the people who possess these 132 million magazines would willingly surrender them to authorities. You'd do as well trying to use federal law to force the public to surrender their cars and ride unicorns.
The final part of Williams' misguided fantasy is her implied assumption that evildoers would be the first to dispossess themselves of or license their high-capacity magazines, thereby ending their evil deeds. That assumption is so deranged as to call into question the mental health of anyone making it.
So is this really the kind of flawed thinking and leadership we need in Washington? Remember “shall not be infringed” before you cast your vote in November.
About Montana Shooting Sports Association:
Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) is the primary political advocate for Montana gun owners. Visit: www.mtssa.org