The mad numerologists of gun control

   12.12.18

The mad numerologists of gun control

The push to restrict magazine capacity had long focused on the apparently magic number “ten”, exemplified by the most recent New Jersey reduction from the previous 15 down to 10. Reduce Americans to ten-round magazines and no more mass murder, they claim. Let’s look at where this leads.

Ten rounds has been the standard capacity for military rifles for a long time. 1895 Lee-Enfield held ten, as did the Soviet SVT and the German G43 rifles. Post-WW2 SKS, FN49 and SVD held ten also. No one would claim that they aren’t formidable weapons even today. So why stop at ten if the goal is to reduce capability of any rifleman?

The first military rifle designed for high-velocity smokeless ammunition, the 1886 Lebel, held 8 rounds in the magazine. So did the first rifle with detachable box magazine, the 1888 Lee-Metford. As did the “finest battle implement ever designed”, the US M1 Garand. Nobody can claim that these aren’t suitable for bloody mayhem in the wrong hands, so could we claim that fewer than 8 should be the limit.

New York so-called “Safe” act restricts magazines to seven, but only a few pistol magazines hold that few. Except for a couple of 22s, no rifle magazine does, which may have been the idea behind the arbitrary number picked to cause the greatest inconvenience.

That brings us to six rounds. The Italian WW2 Carcano (including that which was used to shoot JFK), the superb Swiss Schmidt-Rubin, the American M1917 and many Mannlicher bolt actions held six. Too many still?

Five, do I hear five? Canada has long limited removable rifle magazines to 5. That would be the capacity of Mauser, Springfield, Mosin, P1914, MAS38, Arisaka, Krag, Winchester 1895 and many other guns that were front-line military weapons until the 1950s. And what does it matter that the magazines are fixed internally — when it comes to imported selfloading shotguns, five is also the magic number, with six being illegal under the 1989 restrictions.

Four? No, that would give us certain Winchester and Remington sniper rifles in common military use since the Vietnam War. No anti-gun legislator would admit sniper rifles suitable for civilian ownership. The substantial similarity of a deer hunting rifle to the military sniper rifle is purely coincidental, of course.

Maybe three would be the magic number? French Berthier infantry rifle with a three-shot magazine was widely used through WW1. So the real number would probably be two. At which point anti-gun propaganda would harp on the similarity to double-barreled dangerous game guns and the few remaining gun owners would end up with single-shot low-power guns grudgingly permitted after much red tape…until the next confiscation. It’s a lot easier, you see, to go after people reduced to pre-1850s defensive technology. Not that the gun-banners would go after us in person — even a musket or a pike in steady hands scare them — but they would send their uniformed thugs with modern guns. That scenario played out in Soviet Russia, in Communist China and more recently in Venezuela. Once the gap of arms between the government and the people is great enough, such minor matters as civil rights cease to matter much to the rulers.

The mostly disarmed British subjects may still possess a few guns of limited specifications, but they lost the right to use those for self-defense. Storage, transport and other uses are so severely restricted as to make the remaining arms of minimal use. That’s the end game for the American gun banners — but they won’t live to win it. Their demented numerological plots matter less than the millions of defensive rifles sold annually and, more importantly, millions of people with the will and the training to resist. Those gun purchases are the true vote — with money, personal time and effort — that will override the hateful propaganda broadcasts and the squawking in the bully pulpits of the legislative sessions. The goal of those limits is less to remove the magazines from circulation and more to remove politically inconvenient gun owners from the voting rolls for a lifetime. This is why criminalizing the greatest number of gun owners is the current anti strategy: the more people are not in compliance with the arbitrary and overreaching restrictions, the more of them can be turned into non-voting felons for a lifetime.

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