In Defense of High-Capacity Magazines

A bit of further context for the ongoing debate on gun control, specifically over high-capacity magazines.

Here’s Joe Biden, per a January Huffington Post story:

Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that he is “much less concerned” with the dangers posed by assault weapons than he is about high-capacity gun magazines, possibly offering an early window into the Obama administration’s priorities in the upcoming gun control debate on Capitol Hill.

“More people out there get shot with a Glock that has cartridges in a [high-capacity magazines],” said Biden, chair of a White House task force to develop violence prevention proposals, during an online Google+ chat.

“I’m much less concerned, quite frankly, with what you’d call an ‘assault weapon’ than I am with magazines, and the number of rounds that can be held in a magazine.”

And here’s my colleague at the Center for Individual Freedom, Timothy H. Lee, in his newest column:

Here’s a statistic likely to surprise most Americans: Police officers’ hit ratio, meaning the percentage of shots fired that meet the intended target, is approximately 20%. 

In other words, even those whose very profession demands accuracy and constant preparation only hit 1 out of 5 shots when the situation requires it. Some 80% of shots thus miss their target. 

A 2010 NYPD estimate is even lower, suggesting a hit ratio of just 11% to 17%.

… Police repeatedly undergo training so that firing situations will be less disorienting and chaotic. Average members of the public, however, suddenly awakened by middle-of-the-night violent aggressors, do not. Accordingly, a higher-capacity magazine may prove the difference between life and death for themselves and their families. That is particularly true when multiple attackers are involved. 

Defensive use of firearms by law-abiding citizens in America occurs far more often than highly-publicized mass murders by deranged gunmen, and such magazines naturally increase the effectiveness in such scenarios.

Now, ask yourself who’s more likely to have an extra magazine on hand and the presence of mind to quickly reload: the assailant or the victim?