Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Conservative Delusion About Guns: Magazine Size, Reloading, And Fighting Back Against Shooters

   So here's something the pro-gun side was getting all delusional about for awhile--I'm not sure whether they're still pushing this argument or not, but I was hearing it a lot after one of the fairly recent mass shooting incidents:
It's possible to swap magazines quickly. In fact, it's possible to swap magazines so quickly that it basically doesn't open up a significant window for potential victims to fight back. So mass shootings don't give us a reason to limit magazine size.
   Call this the Mag Size Doesn't Matter argument.
  Yeeeah that's crap. Someone who's well-trained and well-prepared can swap magazines fast...if he's got good pockets...until the first few mags are used up, after which he'll have to reach farther and grope around more for them. However:
[1]  Most of these shooters are not well-trained.
[2]  You can close 40' or so in three seconds. And that's huge.
[3]  A few seconds is better than no seconds at all.
[4]  Not every attempt to swap out a magazine goes smoothly
   When I was a kid I realized that it often helps you see the principle in play if you think about the extremes. So think about it this way:
You have the option of facing one of two determined murderers:
(a) One with a Gun Of Infinite Shooting that never has to be reloaded
(b) One who is armed only with single-shot magazines--each one has to be swapped out after one shot.
   So. Which guy would you rather tangle with?
   The difference will be smaller when comparing 10-round mags to 30-round mags...but the principle still obtains.
   As I noted in that other post, the pro-gun side tends to be saner than the anti-gun side in some important ways. E.g. the anti-gun folks who accept the Better Off Unarmed argument are just flat-out delusional. However, the pro-gun side is also nutty in its own ways, and the Mag Size Doesn't Matter argument is one of them. Mag size absolutely matters.
   In fact, if mag size didn't matter, then there would be no sense in defending the legality of large magazines. If three 10-round mags were every bit as effective as one 30-round magazine, then it wouldn't matter if we outlawed the larger ones--not from an effectiveness standpoint, anyway. Why get all worked up if the smaller magazines are just as good?
   I forget that not everybody is a nerdy philosopher, and so perhaps I should make it perfectly clear that I'm not advocating any policy here. I'm not advocating a limit on magazine size, nor on "assault weapons. (Or "weapons of war," which seems to be the Dems' focus-group-tested phrase rolled out for this next phase of the debate.) I wasn't advocating any policy with the post on the Better Off Unarmed argument. And I don't think that anything I'm discussing here makes it clear what should be done. I just think that it's helpful to clear the ground clutter. I just want to shove aside the really stupid arguments so that we can think a bit more clearly about the better, more difficult ones. The Mag Size Doesn't Mater argument isn't as awful as the Better Off Unarmed argument...but it's pretty bad.


Blogger The Mystic said...

This is reason #312 that people need to play more video games.

No gamer anywhere would tell you magazine size doesn't matter, and we often play as characters with absurd reloading proficiency.

11:18 PM  

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