Since the Virginia Tech atrocity just over a year ago, citizen disarmament advocates have clamored for the return of the ban on so-called "assault weapons." The justification offered is not that either of the firearms used that awful day have ever been defined as "assault weapons" (despite the slippery, and ever more expansive, definition used to snare more and more firearms under that dreaded designation, they haven't), but because the ban also included magazines with a capacity of eleven or more rounds. The "reasoning" (to be charitable) is apparently that if the murderous scum had needed to change magazines more often, the carnage would have been less. I can only assume that those advancing that argument have never seen a Travis Tomasie reload.
For an example of that argument, see this LA Times editorial:
The same goes for reviving the federal assault-weapons ban. Among other things, that 1994 law limited newly issued ammunition magazines to 10 rounds. Virginia authorities believe Cho's magazines contained at least 15 rounds, allowing him to slaughter more people without reloading. He was able to buy those big clips because Congress and President Bush allowed the ban to expire in 2004.Another example: in the wake of VA Tech, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) tried (utterly futilely) to use that argument to deflect an interviewer from the fact that she had no idea what barrel shrouds are (despite having introduced legislation to ban them). McCarthy, you may remember, introduced H.R. 1859 (which would mandate low-capacity magazines) before the Virginia Tech victims' bodies had been removed from the scene. She might be a blood dancer, but at least she's not a cold blood dancer, I suppose.
There are numerous problems with this argument, but perhaps the most telling (and one I don't remember seeing elsewhere), comes from simple mathematics. From the empty cartridge cases recovered at the scene, investigators determined that the VA Tech murderer fired 174 shots.
On Thursday, university officials let members of the news media tour Norris Hall, which has been locked since Cho fired 174 shots from two handguns in nine minutes in four classrooms.To the uninitiated, this may seem an indication that he used specialized equipment, granting him what might sound like a great deal of firepower.
What that ignores, though, is the number of magazines he used--17.
Crime scene technicians recovered a total of 17 spent magazines of ammunition, the majority of which were for Mr. Cho’s 9-millimeter handgun, a law enforcement official said.If he had started with rounds chambered in both his pistols, and 17 full magazines--even if they were limited to a capacity of 10 rounds, that would account for 172 of his 174 shots.
Do the citizen disarmament advocates claim that the carnage would have been materially reduced had he not been able to take those last two shots (one of which ended, albeit far too late, his miserable existence)?