And your data is where?

Via Unc, Herschel Smith has an excellent examination of Heller vs. DC and how that pertains to “assault weapons”.

It’s a good read and pretty much stands on its own. I just wanted to make a couple of comments.

On page 35, the judges jump into bed with Siebel when they parrot his own words.

The Siebel testimony moreover supports the District’s claim that high-capacity magazines are dangerous in self-defense situations because “the tendency is for defenders to keep firing until all bullets have been expended, which poses grave risks to others in the household, passersby, and bystanders.” Moreover, the Chief of Police testified the “2 or 3 second pause” during which a criminal reloads his firearm “can be of critical benefit to law enforcement.” Overall the evidence demonstrates that large-capacity magazines tend to pose a danger to innocent people and particularly to police officers, which supports the District’s claim that a ban on such magazines is likely to promote its important governmental interests.

A few things.

Tendency is for defenders to keep firing until all the bullets have been expended. Upon what factual basis is that statement made? I’d like to provide you with some hard data. It’s slightly old data, from 2009 (go to page 3, “Shooting Incidents, Common Factors”), and while there have been additions to this data set, overall I doubt the core numbers have changed much. As of that 2009 data, Tom Givens of Rangemaster had 48 students involved in self-defense shootings. The average number of shots fired? 3.8 (lowest was 1, highest was 11).


Shooting until all bullets have been expended? Well, since we’re talking in the realm of “high capacity assault clips”, those all hold a LOT more bullets than 3.8. And even if we talk some really low capacity assault clips, like say the 7 rounds of a 1911 or maybe the 5, 6, 7 rounds that get held by a lot of pocket semi-autos, that’s still rather different from the average. So where are they getting that defenders have a tendency to keep firing until all bullets have been expended? Please, back up your assertions with data.

As for this “2 or 3 second pause”. Why might that time be critical to law enforcement in an active shooter situation? It means the gun is out of commission, so law enforcement can act, such as rushing in to take the bad guy down or just being able to pop out from behind cover and return fire.

Let’s step back from things. Let’s remove the notion of good guy and bad guy here, let’s just look at the people involved and the roles they’re playing. You have someone with a gun that was shooting but now needs to reload. Then you have someone being shot at that can now act freely because the shooter is out of commission. That means having to reload is a bad thing for the person doing the shooting, right?

Let’s step forward, but to the right a little bit… let’s swap the labels and make the shooter the good guy. If the time it takes to reload is bad for the shooter, that means if a good guy is doing the shooting, the less he has to reload the better, right? I think we can agree upon that, because police seem to always be exempted from “large capacity assault clip” bans… we want police to have lots of bullets and be able to fire them, right? If not, why not give police single-shot guns? No, we seem to understand that the good guys being able to keep shooting with minimal (or delayed) downtime is good.

So why deny this from law-abiding citizens?

Why do we want to put good people at a disadvantage?

You can ban all the large capacity assault clips that you want. By definition, criminals will not obey the law and will have access to all the guns and ammo they can get their hands on. The only people abridge, hurt, and otherwise crippled by such bans and laws are those willing to obey the law — you know, us good citizens.

So now through force of law the state has put the citizens at the mercy of criminals.

Is that right?

It’s not, in my book. But you know… insert snarky comment about how a lot of politicians are scummy corrupt criminals themselves, and perhaps we could see why they might think this way. But I don’t think that’s necessarily the case: I think it’s just done out of ignorance. I used to be similarly ignorant, but I was enlightened.

It can be argued that not only is the 5.56 mm round and the AR style weapons a legitimate home defense weapon, it is in some circumstances the optimal one to use.  The District of Columbia and the judges find themselves in the uncomfortable position of saying that it is acceptable for citizens to possess a long gun shooting the 7.62 mm round, as long as it doesn’t have a collapsible stock, forend grip, or rails for lasers or lights (after all, we wouldn’t want individuals to be precise in their self defense, or perhaps we do because of the safety of others around them).  Or, substitute here a shotgun, even shooting slugs for self defense.  Yet one feature of the 5.56 mm round shot from any AR is that brick (and in fact multiple layers of drywall) shatter the round, turning it into shrapnel due to its tendency to yaw upon impact (and even during flight).  Thus, people in adjacent homes are at least as safe with the AR as they are with any shotgun, and they may be more safe.  The same holds true for rounds fired from pistols (from 9 mm and above in caliber).  Pistol rounds penetrate more layers of drywall than 5.56 mm rounds.

For proof and data to back that up, see here (part’s 1 and 3 are especially relevant).

So again… where’s your data to back up your assertions? Facts are useful things in persuasion. If you want me to see your side of it, present me facts, not hyperbole and emotion… or worst of all, ignorance.