Connecticut Must Be a THOUGHT-LEADER on Gun Control (Magazine Capacity)

How is Connecticut supposed to be a thought-leader on mitigating gun violence if Malloy and Democrats in Hartford are stuck on ineffectual 25-year old ideas?

This post is likely to make some folks in the gun-rights community displeased with me. Thus, I will state up front that:


I have argued that view in the past here on the Patch in these posts:




Part 2 is the one to read if you are going to read just one of these posts. 

I have also dissected the CAGV/March for Change legislative proposal including their call for a 7-round magazine capacity limit with NO GRANDFATHERING. 


I have most recently pointed out that a review by the Obama/Holder Department of Justice has also opined that most of the most common "gun control" laws are ineffective:


So, in my opinion, I have put forth a body of work that shows my belief is that restrictions on magazine capacity have not only been ineffective in the past, but would be ineffective in the future and would significanly impact law-abiding citizens far more than criminals or the criminally insane. 

With that opening aside, I do FEAR that the Democratic Party controlled House, Senate and Statehouse do not care about efficacy at this point and are trying to score poitns with voters, both in Connecticut and nation-wide. Calls from gun control advocates that "Connecticut should have the toughest laws due to Newtown" seem to confuse the severness of restrictions with efficacy and/or real-world enforcability. As Chicago and many California cities prove, more gun restrictions do not make for less gun violence. 

What I can not understand is how we are using "high capacity" to define what are STANDARD CAPACITY magazines. What I can not understand is how in 2013 we are using a single "one size fits all" capacity to address rifles, traditional semi-auto pistols and "machine pistols" aka "assault pistols"? 

If Connecticut REALLY WANTS TO BE A THOUGHT LEADER, it is time we stop doubling down on 25-year-old concepts first hatched in California in the 1980s and address the here-and-now. With that in mind, while I believe more laws are unneccessary, I would like to offer the following proposal for those who insist that magazine capacity limits must be part of any omnibus gun law in Hartford.





Connecticut needs SMART magazine capacity limits if such a law must be considered. The current 10 or 7 round one-size-fits-all approach is based on circa-1985 California notions that are incompatible with today’s world. Connecticut must be a THOUGHT LEADER and offer a FIRST IN NATION magazine capacity law with SEPARATE pistol and rifle magazine limits that reflect REALITY, not CAGV’s out-dated ideas. More importantly, Connecticut needs a law that does not excessively impact law-abiding citizens while having little to no impact on the major causes of gun violence/injury/death in our state.

First, magazine capacity will have NO IMPACT on the LEADING causes of gun death/injury:

  • Suicides – Nationally, 62% of 2011 gun deaths are self-inflicted while CT suicides were 53% of total – suicide is a 1-shot event and WILL NOT be impacted by capacity
  • Accidents - Smaller number of incidents but all 1-shot events
  • Street crime – According to CAGV: “more than 85 percent of gun crimes are committed by people who cannot legally purchase guns.” – criminals IGNORE laws like this

Second, the HUGE IMPACT on the existing base of such magazines of a 7 or 10-round limit:

  • A majority of semi-automatic pistols and rifles sold today have STANDARD DESIGN CAPACITY magazines in excess of 7 or 10 rounds.
  • OLR report 2011-R-0158 estimates that as of year-end 2010, CT residents owned:
  • Over 600,000 firearms capable of using 10+ round magazines (more at 7-round limit)
  • Over 2,400,000 10+ round magazines (owned by over 100,000 residents)
    • Updating the above using NICS and other data could have nearly 1,000,000 firearms and more than 3,500,000 magazines currently owned by Connecticut residents
    • OLR estimates the cost of a NO-GRANDFATHERING law could exceed $100-200MILLION in direct and indirect costs as well as forgone economic activity
    • No-grandfathering will create tens of thousand of NON-COMPLIANT resistors out of currently law-abiding citizens – are our police, courts and jails ready for that?

My suggestion is an approach that would LEAD THE NATION in such laws:

  • Semi-automatic pistol (magazine in handgrip) magazine capacity limit at the LESSER of the design capacity of that model (magazine not to protrude more than ½” below base of grip) OR17 rounds.
  • Semi-automatic rifle detachable magazine limit of 30/10 rounds
  • Semi-automatic "assault/machine pistol" (magazine in place other than handgrip) 10 rounds
  • Grandfathering of existing magazines that meet the above criteria
  • Ban sales, transfer or possession of any magazine with a capacity IN EXCESS OF 30 ROUNDS with NO GRANDFATHERING (i.e. remove them from circulation in CT)
  • Exclude from the above magazines designed for rim-fire ammunition (i.e. 22LR caliber)

This plan would strike a SENSIBLE COMPROMISE:

  • REDUCE potential carnage due to massive continuous firepower in any future rampage shooting
  • MINIMIZE THE IMPACT on law-abiding handgun owners from using their full design-capacity of their self-defense pistols
  • Be less susceptible to being ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL in the future
  • Would remove from legal possession all MASSIVE CAPACITY MAGAZINES like:
    • 30+ round pistol magazines as used in Gabby Giffords shooting
    • 40+ round rifle magazines as used in Columbine School and Aurora movie theater


In the above, I use 30/10 for semi-auto rifle magazine limits because 30-rounds is the current "standard capacity" of every such rifle as it is shipped from the factory. Estimates suggest that there may be 50 to 100MILLION such magazines in the USA at this time (over 1MILLION in CT today). They are widely available, in "common use" (Scalia's term in Heller) and no law is every going to deprive the motivated criminal or insane person from getting them. Thus, in my mind, 30-rounds is a sensible limit that may pass Constitutional challenge and can actually be enforceable. 

That said, the /10 is to recognize that some readers are screaming at their computers right now telling me I am insane to think that 30-rounds is not high capacity. Thus, I offer you a 10-round suggestion for rifles and "assault pistols" should you actually agree that a seperate limit for rifles, pistols and APs is sensible. 

If anyone has the ear of any legislator in Hartford, I would ask that you consider forwarding this to them if you think a one-size-fits-all 10-round limit with no grandfathering is more likely than the current status quo. 

Thanks - TP

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Donald Borsch Jr. February 25, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Thomas, Send it to Dan Carter: http://cthousegop.com/contact-dan/ He's on the Bipartisan Task Force and is willing to listen.
Thomas Paine February 25, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Last week it was emailed to the entire GV task force as well as the Dem and GOP leadership, Carter included. Based on Read Receipts, several of the emails WERE read and several were deleted without being read. Whether any of the officials read it is unknown. I have heard that the GV task force has been weighing 15 rounds versus 10 which shows that someone is thinking of the modern self-defense pistol having a standard capacity of greater than 10 rounds. That was before Gov Malloy's edict however so who knows if the task force has been cowed into submission.
Edmund Burke February 25, 2013 at 11:12 PM
TP, I don"t like the limit, but I respect your position. I prefer to see it fought out in the courts,though honestly we would probably see a ruling similar to your proposal. Keep up the good fight.
Thomas Paine February 26, 2013 at 01:32 AM
EB - In case I was not clear, I HATE suggesting such a thing as I feel ANY nag capacity limit is unconstitutional, unenforceable, ineffective and pandering to a clueless group of citizens that don't know a "clip" from a "mag". However, such limits have thus far survived court challenges in the few instances they have been brought. The April 2011 OLR report on Large Capacity Magazines touches on a few of those challenges. BUT, if the choice is a binary outcome between the current state of things (no mag limits) and a 10-round one-size-fits-all approach, I would rather my idea play out. That said, I will help fund the inevitable challenge raised by CCDL or CTCarry or whomever wants to crowd-source a court case.
Charlie February 26, 2013 at 02:53 AM
I have usurped your proposal and sent to my legislators, who have been responsive at least. 15 rounds would be an interesting compromise, but any proposal that nesters the standard capacity of the weapon will be subject to challenge. The whole forced sale out of state idea ultimately is the same as confiscation, and has no precedent, and so will be problematic too. I am standing by to see which challenge merits my participation and funding, depending on what is passed and whom is selected as counsel for the class.
Charlie February 26, 2013 at 02:55 AM
Neuters, not nesters. Why autocorrect? Why?
Edmund Burke February 26, 2013 at 12:01 PM
TB I understand your position - no slight intended.
Thomas Paine February 26, 2013 at 02:29 PM
So I am intereacting with others about this idea and we are looking at the NO-GRANDFATHERING angle that seems to be CAGV's dream feature. For a gun control lobby that mimics everything done in California or New York, neither of those states instituted their mag limits without grandfathering. And therein lies the problem and the Constitutional difficulty of no grandfathering. The CA and NY laws both had a grandfather clause. Anyone who had a large capacity magazine prior to the law’s enactment was permitted to keep it. And since there is no way to determine when most magazines were made or who bought them, the grandfather clause renders the magazine ban unenforceable. CAGV knows this and it why they are demanding NO GRANDFATHERING. But even if they were to fully implement this and remove all 10+ mags from CT, the law is still next to useless since anyone bent on obtaining such a magazine can still drive to a neighboring state and buy it there. For our legislatures, they should have to apply a Hippocratic standard to any law: First do no harm. This means do not create laws that can not be enforced and/or will be ignored by the criminal and criminally insane. The only way for such a law to be enforced, without major rights violations, is if a gun owner in violation has an interaction with law enforcement where the violation is noted. Beyond that, the police are not coming to your door and asking to peek inside your safe. (continued)
Thomas Paine February 26, 2013 at 02:35 PM
(continuing) But the most dangerous part of this law, beyond the 2A implications, are its other Constitutional difficulties. So CAGV and Gov Malloy realize that a grandfather clause would make the ban worthless vis-a-vis law-abiding gun owners (it IS useless with criminals) so they are suggesting that anyone who owns large-capacity magazines will have some period to turn them over to the government, without compensation, so the magazines can be destroyed. NOTE THE NO COMPENSATION FEATURE. Citizens who fail to hand in their magazines will be guilty of a class D felony - FROM LAW-ABIDING TO FELON WITH A STROKE OF MALLOY'S PEN. This will almost certainly prompt legal challenges to the government’s authority to confiscate private property under at leat the Fifth Amendment. Even if the CAGV/Malloy bill were to become law as currently written, it is not clear how they hope to make it work. The bill implies that any gun owner who has large capacity magazines is a potential murderer who can’t be trusted not to use his magazines to butcher innocent people. But why, then, can we trust him to surrender those magazines just because the government says so? It’s a rare criminal who’d be willing to commit murder but won’t risk a class D felony. (continued)
Thomas Paine February 26, 2013 at 02:40 PM
(finishing) Of course, these magazine limits/bans are another incremental step on the road to a complete ban of ALL civilian firearms. It is obvious that CAGV, Malloy, Himes, Blumenthal, Murphy, Meyer, Looney, Williams, Bye and all the others who propose and support such restrictiosn would rather that civiliams not have any guns at all. The sick irony is that these same people agrue that mag bans will "save lives" and yet they will stridently defend a made-up "woman's health right" which allows the brains to be sucked out of viable, third-term fetuses. But the right to bear arms is guaranteed by both the U.S. Constitution and Connecticut’s state constitution. The RISK of using a no-grandfathering provision in an OMNIBUS bill is that a constitutional challenge could invalidate the entirety of the law or at least large parts of it. Given it has been found even by Eric Holder's Justice Department that such bans make little difference in gun crime/violence, should Hartford lawmakers really be putting their entire law into jeopardy with a no-grandfathering provision?
Donald Borsch Jr. February 27, 2013 at 03:45 PM
http://wr2a.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/the-official-ct-assault-weapons-ban-1993/ Research time, guys. CT's official stance on assault weapons and the law. Enjoy.
Donald Borsch Jr. February 27, 2013 at 03:49 PM
Thomas, I have read and then re-read your words. I waited a day or so to digest them and see if I had anything to add or to contest. You did a superb job, as usual. No one can ever accuse you of failing to dot your i's and crossing your t's. As to the speculative thrust that Malloy or any of the CT elites could ever actually come and take away our magazines or guns, if they deem them troublesome and illegal, refusing to grandfather them in....hmph. Molon Labe, indeed.
Boggs February 27, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Donald, in your world, what makes a person a "CT elite"? You sound more and more like Sarah Palin every day (that is NOT good).
Thomas Paine February 27, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Boggs, let's just agree that "elite" means politicians, academics and citizens who think VERY highly of themselves relative to the "lower" folks and who believe they have ideas that can better run things. "Elites" are usually of high credentials (I won't equate that to high eductation) and see themselves are part of their own subset of the citizenry. Personally, as a political independent, I see "elites" in every political flavor so for me this is not about left and right but about the emerging "ruling class" and the rest of us. In this case, at the risk of speaking for Donald, I suggest he means those who are under- or un-informed about firearms, are into increasing governmental "control" over us and who dismiss out of hand opinions to the contrary of their narratives and/or ambitions. This is not new as acedemic elites have been around since before WW2. However, it is growing and spreading to the entertainment business, politicians, big business executives and Wall Street. Boggs, this is actually an issue much broader than just firearms as articulated very well in these two essays which should be read as a "set" even though the authors are very different folks. You and I may not agree on much but I recommend these: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/21/america-s-new-mandarins.print.html http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/02/20/as-country-club-republicans-link-up-with-the-democratic-ruling-class-millions-of-voters-are-orphaned/
Donald Borsch Jr. February 27, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Thomas, Your defense of my words is appropriate and accurate. Boggs, you simply do not understand that for many of us it is not about GOP vs. Democrats. There is a much, much Bigger Picture than that particular theater of the absurd. Until you, or anyone, realizes this, they will continue to be held in bondage with a yoke upon their necks to the whims, wills, rumors, propaganda, and machinations of The Big Two. Good politics has never equaled good government. I detest politics; I desire proper governance. Hence, I am a Registered Independent.
Boggs February 27, 2013 at 05:12 PM
donald, sooooooooooooooo what makes someone a CT elite?
Thomas Paine February 27, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Boggs, Now you have me suspecting you of baiting Donald, and my by extension. Assuming you are here for a real discussion, consider the following from the DailyBeast piece, replacing "mandarin" with "elite" where needed: "All elites are good at rationalizing their eliteness, whether it's meritocracy or “the divine right of kings.” The problem is the mandarin elite has some good arguments. They really are very bright and hardworking. It’s just that they’re also prone to be conformist, risk averse, obedient, and good at echoing the opinions of authority, because that is what this sort of examination system selects for." "The even greater danger is that they become more and more removed from the people they are supposed to serve. Since I moved to Washington, I have had series of extraordinary conversations with Washington journalists and policy analysts, in which I remark upon some perfectly ordinary facet of working-class, or even business-class life, only to have this revelation met with amazement."
Thomas Paine February 27, 2013 at 05:28 PM
Quoting again: "But many of the mandarins have never worked for a business at all, except for a think tank, the government, a media organization, or a school—places that more or less deliberately shield their content producers from the money side of things. There is nothing wrong with any of these places, but culturally and operationally they're very different from pretty much any other sort of institution. I don't myself claim to understand how most businesses work, but having switched from business to media, I'm aware of how different they can be. In fact, I think that to some extent, the current political wars are a culture war not between social liberals and social conservatives, but between the values of the mandarin system and the values of those who compete in the very different culture of ordinary businesses--ones outside glamour industries like tech or design." "As I say, the mandarins are in many senses deserving: they work very hard, and they are very smart. But there is one important thing they do not know, which is what it is like to be anyone except a mandarin." ----------end of quotes It is that last part that I think is indicated in these "debates" on firearms - too many folks who harbor strong opinions have never handled a firearm, have little working knowledge of firearms and do really know anyone who could be considered a "gun person". Worse, this debate seems more about "blue" people versus "red" people, not about guns persay.
Donald Borsch Jr. February 27, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Thomas, I have added Boggs to the ever-growing list of Patch trolls, along with AZ. Do as you wish, of course, but I would encourage you to do the same based on the fact Boggs is presenting nothing. Oh, he/she also copy-pasted from WikiAnswers on a different thread. Boggs has no answers other than those given to him without effort or diligent research.
Boggs February 27, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Donald, Patch Troll? Tha's rich, coming from someone who seems to be on from sun up until late night, with more inane posts than anyone. ps: what makes someone a CT elite Sarah?
Cliff Cuming February 27, 2013 at 07:08 PM
Boggs, Really, Is that the best you can do?!
Sandra February 27, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Boggs has a man crush on Chris Christie.
Donald Borsch Jr. February 27, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Adam, The incriminating evidence: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Which_rights_in_the_bill_of_rights_are_not_absolute Apparently WikiAnswers is the best "Boggs" can do. Such a shame, really.
Elvis February 27, 2013 at 08:28 PM
The KKK must be meeting today.
Thomas Paine March 02, 2013 at 07:23 PM
Need evidence of the futility of mag limit laws, consider the following. A demonstration conducted under the supervision Sheriff Ken Campbell of Boone County, Indiana, shows that magazine limitations have little or no real effect on a shooter’s ability to deliver fast aimed fire. In the video, Sheriff Campbell says, “One of the reasons that magazine restrictions are being proposed is the perception that if the active shooter has fewer bullets in magazines, he will have to reload sooner and this will create an opportunity for someone to tackle him during the reload.” In the demonstrations, that notion is proven to be FALSE. Under the Sheriff’s supervision, two shooters—an experienced male shooter & a novice female shooter— repeatedly fire 30-shot strings at three targets, using 15-, 10- and 6-round magazines, all in under 30 seconds. The male demonstrator fired 30 rounds from a pistol, first with two 15-round mags, in 20.6 secs. Then he fired three 10-rounders in 18.0 secs and five 6-round magazines in 21.4 secs. The woman fired the same magazine sequence, emptying two 15-round magazines in 22.9 seconds. She then fired three 10-rounders in 25.5 secs and five 6-round magazines in 26.9 secs. In addition, the man then fires 20 rounds from an AR-15 rifle using a single magazine, in 12.2 secs. He then fired 20 rounds using two 10-round magazines in less time, 10.73 secs. Interesting! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2Upjn5DR0o&feature=player_embedded


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